Those Big Words, ‘Business School’

The ultimate goal for those who enroll in an MBA program is career advancement. What form this advancement will take depends completely on each individual’s personal agenda. One student may plan to return to work for a former employer in a more sophisticated context, while another may seek to change careers entirely, transferring to a field that is more challenging or fulfilling. Other more entrepreneurial students may attempt to launch an independent business. Whatever the case may be, MBA programs are designed to guide the student toward the path of their choosing while providing the skills that will be required when they reach their destination.

How do they do this you ask? Well, the most successful MBA programs strive to gather groups of students with diverse backgrounds and goals and then facilitate the sharing of their experiences in the context of the study of theoretical business applications. Before we get in to the academic elements of the MBA program, let’s first take a look at some of the different techniques schools are currently using to cultivate leadership qualities in their students (besides the standard lectures, papers, exams, etc?).

1) Problem-Based Learning (a.k.a Case Studies)

Rather than simply conveying material to the students through lectures, business schools are now using the problem-based learning format to force students to think for themselves rather than regurgitate material that they’ve memorized.

Classes are subdivided into small groups and each group is presented with a particular management issue or problem.

As a team, the students must research the case they’ve been presented with and apply what they’ve learned from their studies to come up with a solution to the particular problem.

This type of exercise forces students to become “horizontal thinkers” who must consider ALL factors related to a particular decision rather than simply looking at an issue from on particular perspective (ie. accounting vs. marketing vs. finance).

2) Studies in the Field

Many schools are now supplementing class lectures and individuals study time with studies in the field

Although most students coming into MBA programs already have significant work experience, schools continue to stress the importance of “learning from doing”

The interpersonal skills that are crucial to strong leadership cannot be taught in the classroom setting but rather must be observed first hand in the field.

3) Team-Based LearningWhile many of the projects assigned in business school require students to work in groups, team-based learning focuses specifically on how to work as team.

The goal isn’t so much to complete a particular assignment or project on some managerial issue, but rather the to learn how to work closely with others.

Setting goals, assigning responsibilities, and learning to rely on others are some of the skills involved.

Because team project and work groups have become so common in the business world, the schools are stressing teamwork abilities now more than ever..

The Curriculum

Now of course, underlying all of these different teaching techniques, is the curriculum itself. The first year courses of most MBA programs make up what is known as the core curriculum. While each school tries to present the material in what they believe is a unique or progressive manner, there remains minimal variation in these courses from school to school because every MBA student must ultimately have a fairly extensive level of knowledge in the following areas:

Business Strategy Analysis

Financial and Managerial Accounting

Management Statistics and Data Analysis

Managerial Economics

Marketing Management

Managerial Finance

Managing Organizations

Operations Management

For a detailed description of any or all of these courses, please browse through the course calendar or website of the particular business schools you are considering.

Once this core curriculum has been completed, most business schools allow their students to spend the remainder of their course time on electives. Many schools are recognized for particular programs that they offer and this recognition tends to revolve around these second year elective courses. Often business schools will have faculty who are eminent leaders in their field lecturing for these courses, providing the class with cutting edge research and the latest advancements in the area. Some of the areas that a second-year MBA student can specialize in include:

Accounting

Arts Management

Educational Administration

Entrepreneurial Ventures Finance

Government

Health Care Administration

Human Resource

Management

Management Consultants

Management Information

Technology

Manufacturing Management

Marketing

Not-for-Profit Organizations

Operations Management

Small Business Management

So as you can see, it’s no longer possible to pigeonhole business schools as gathering places for society’s elite, who put in a couple of years before taking over the family empire. A degree from a reputable business school can now place you on the fast track for a leadership position in any one of an incredibly diverse number of career paths. The MBA has become just as important in public service domains such as education, government, and healthcare administration as it is in the more traditional corporate sectors.

What to Expect for the Costs you have Sunk In?

Having established that going to business school represents a pretty serious financial burden, let’s see what you’re actually getting for all those dollars your laying out. What are the “frills” schools are using to attract students, and the impact that the program can have on your ability to attract employment and your earning potential once you’ve found the job you’ve been seeking.

Facilities:

Talk about plush. Be prepared to work extremely hard when you get to business school, but if your at one of the better ones, take solace in the fact that you’ll be doing it in style. The fact is that many of the schools (and not just the powerhouses) are investing heavily in infrastructure to woo you. Remember, there’s a definite element of reciprocity in the relationship between schools and applicants. To put it simply, they want you to like them just as much as you want them to like you. As a result a significant proportion of a business school’s dean’s time is spent fundraising. Many schools are building brand new buildings, with brand new classrooms, libraries, conference rooms, cafeterias and students lounges all supplied and state-of-the-art technology. Just as one example, Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management has built a simulated trading floor with the exact same technology being used by real analysts.

Connections:

The business world is ALL about connections. We’re not going to feed you the line that “it’s who you know not what you know” but rather that it’s “who you know AND what you know”. For that reason, an MBA program has become incredibly important for young people trying to get their foot in the door. At business school you’re going to educated in the “what” and immersed in the “who.” Without even realizing it, you’re going to be spending two full years networking. Whether it’s faculty who have pivotal roles in major corporations, corporations who’ve formed alliances with the school, or fellow students, over the course of the program you’re going to be in close contact with individuals who are currently, or will be in the future, extremely influential in the business community. Imagine your new best friend happens to be the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, David Filo, or Jerry Yang just waiting to surface. Well that’s the kind of relationship that fortunes are built on.Jobs:

The following excerpts come directly from the Business Week Guide to the Best Business Schools (6 th ed.). It summarizes the relationship between MBAs and corporate hiring so well that felt we should pass it straight on to you completely unadulterated. We further recommend that you find the complete article from which this excerpt was taken (available on the web) for supplementary reading and that you use the guide as one of your resources for choosing the right business school for you (in our opinions it’s one of the most informative).

As we approach the millennium, the MBA is unquestionably the hottest degree you can hold, particularly from an elite school. The stats prove it: At virtually all of the best schools, GMAT scores and starting pay packages are setting records. Applications are too, although a large part of the boom is coming from overseas…The 61 schools surveyed by business week for its 1998 rankings waded through 116,912 applications for the Class of 2000, and the average GMAT score was 667 for those attending the Top 25 schools, up from 649 just two years earlier.

Today, the MBA is on its way to becoming a requirement for anyone who hopes to build a career in Corporate America, and, indeed, much of the world… Certainly, it’s true that corporate recruiters can’t seem to hire enough MBAs these days. The 259 recruiters who participated in business week’s 1998 survey of the best business schools hired 10,348 MBAs in total, a 28 percent rise from 1996. And they would have hired even more if they could have: Grads of the Top 25 business schools averaged 3.2 job offers each, up from 2.3 in 1992, and compensation exploded. The median pay package (salary, bonus, and extras such as stock options or moving expenses) at the Top 25 hit $111,420, up 19 percent from just two years ago. Another telling figure: Median pay topped $100,000 at 18 of our Top 25-versus 5 two years ago.

 

Top Business Schools – What Are They?

If you are planning to study management or marketing as a specialty then choosing the right business school becomes very important. Your choice of business school will play an integral role in your career growth, opportunities, and future. The question is how can you find the top schools? When choosing a schools, there are quite a few aspects that should be considered. Here are some of the important aspects:

The Degree: The degree offered different from one business school to another. There are several options available today like 2 year MBA programs or part-time MBA programs, executive MBA programs and much more. Top MBA schools will normally offer the highest level of education and a variety of MBA programs to choose from.

The Cost: Fees can be quite expensive and the top schools charge quite a hefty amount. The good thing though is that most top MBA schools also have scholarship programs that will take care of an important part of the fee. Some of the top schools also offer opportunities for financial aids, which will help you in arranging the finances.The Curriculum: Most schools these days have started to discourage specialization. Most of the programs available at business schools have started to focus on multi-specialization. Multi-specialization basically means that if you have opted for marketing management then you will get to study finance as well as human resource. The primary intention is to strengthen your educational qualification in such a way that you are able to enjoy a more fruitful career growth.

The Class Size: Most of the leading schools have small class sizes and this basically means that there is a high probability to get individualized attention. The student teacher ratio is less and this helps in better study and better understanding of the subject.

The Reputation: Last but not the least, the reputation of a business school matters. It is the reputation that distinguishes between top business schools and a standard business school. Reputation also brings in more corporate companies for campus interviews, which is great because you will have a job in your hand even before you complete your education.

The Placement Statistics: Placement is quite important. If you complete MBA from a business school and are still without a job then that would be complete waste of money. The fact is that top business schools ensure that you get a job placement through campus interviews in the final year of study itself. You need to always check the placement statistics of a business school before you apply.Here is a list of the 15 top business schools in the US:

1. Harvard University – Boston, MA
2. Stanford University – Stanford, CA
3. Northwestern University (Kellogg) – Evanston, IL
4. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) – Philadelphia, PA
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) – Cambridge, MA
6. University of Chicago (Booth) – Chicago, IL
7. University of California–Berkeley (Haas) – Berkeley, CA
8. Dartmouth College (Tuck) – Hanover, NH
9. Columbia University – New York, NY
10. Yale University – New Haven, CT
11. New York University (Stern) – New York, NY
12. Duke University (Fuqua) – Durham, NC
13. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross) – Ann Arbor, MI
14. University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson) – Los Angeles, CA
15. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) – Pittsburgh, PA

How to Search For an Online Business School

Degrees in business are widely sought, and it should come as no surprise, given the high salaries that often come with a business degree. In 2009, the median salary among graduates from the top 40 business schools ranged from $120,000 a year at the top to $84,000 at the bottom. It is no secret that a business degree can launch a potentially lucrative new career.

Online Business Colleges Offer a Variety of Degrees

Yet there are many schools to choose from, and it can be hard to tell which school is the right one for you. The first thing to decide is just what kind of business degree you plan to seek from online schools for business. Degree specialties can include such focuses as:

 

  • Business management
  • Business administration
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Marketing

Degrees in all of these fields are considered business degrees, and those degrees can be sought at various online business programs. To get the most out of an online business degree, you should first decide what your expectations are by determining the program of study that best suits you.

Accreditation of Online Business Schools

The first thing you can do when determining if an online business school is worth attending is to find out whether the school has been accredited by an appropriate agency. Accreditation agencies evaluate the merits of online schools for business and award accreditation based on whether it lives up to established standards. You should be wary of attending any school that is not accredited by at least one agency.

Accrediting bodies include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB. Standards by which the AACSB evaluates various business schools include:

 

  • A school’s mission statement and capacity to follow through with it
  • Economical use of available resources
  • Rigor of the curriculum
  • Research conducted at the school
  • Contributions to peer-reviewed journals generated by those attending or running the school

 

Standards among accrediting bodies vary.

Financial Aid

Another consideration to make when thinking of attending an online business school is how you will pay for it – typically one of the first things an applicant thinks of.

You have several options, when attending an online business school, for financial aid, including:

 

  • Veteran’s benefits
  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Private scholarships
  • Student loans

Veteran’s benefits are available to you only if you have served in the U.S. armed forces, so your eligibility for them should be clear enough.

Corporate sponsorships may be offered by human resources departments at existing companies. This kind of support is typically limited to those attending online business schools who work for companies likely to have the resources to offer this support.

Private scholarships are sometimes offered by the online business programs themselves, to their students, on the basis of merit. Prospective students can also apply for student loans from the federal government.