Higher Education for Business

By Robert Aaron Gordon; James Edwin Howell | Go to book overview

chapter 3
THE AIMS OF BUSINESS EDUCATION

HOW DO business educators themselves evaluate their role in the scheme of American higher education? What needs do they attempt to serve, and how do they assess the educational requirements of the heterogeneous collection of occupations we call "business?" Public and private statements of educational objectives throw some light on these questions. Current practice is even more informative.


For What Careers Are Business Students Being Prepared?

The official statements of American business schools indicate a greater agreement about career objectives than does their practice. If we examine the official catalogues and bulletins, prepared largely for the benefit of prospective students, we find considerable repetition of a common theme. The objective is to prepare students "for positions of responsibility in business," or "for executive responsibility," or, even more broadly, "for careers in business."

Actually, these broad statements of career objectives hide a certain amount of diversity, both among schools and even within the same school. Broadly speaking, there are three types of career objectives which business schools have in mind in planning their educational programs.

The first objective stresses preparation for a career in business without regard to the kind of business or job, except that it assumes that eventually the future businessman will attain a position involving a significant amount of administrative responsibility. The stress here is on the fact that the student will become a "manager" or "administrator," although what this means is often not very clear.

The second objective also implies preparation for a lifetime career but puts the emphasis on imparting knowledge of subject matter in some particular area of business, such as accounting, marketing, production, or insurance. This objective is narrower than the first; it emphasizes the need for specialized knowledge more, and the broader types of knowledge

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