The Education of American Businessmen: A Study of University-College Programs in Business Administration

By Frank C. Pierson | Go to book overview

PREVIEW OF FINDINGS

The purpose of this study is to assess different approaches to academic preparation for business careers. Part 1 discusses the principles underlying this relatively new branch of higher education, and in Part 2 these principles are applied to existing programs of undergraduate and graduate schools of business administration. Part 3 examines selected areas of the business school curriculum in some detail; the programs of other institutions in this field, such as engineering schools, junior colleges, and liberal arts colleges, are reviewed in Part 4. All but one chapter in Parts 1 and 2 were written by the survey director; the last two parts of the study are the product of different contributors. Since the range and variety of topics is rather wide, the principal findings are set forth here to provide a general guide to the study as a whole.

The central problem confronting this branch of higher education is that academic standards need to be materially increased. Serious difficulties, however, stand in the way of meeting this need: careers in business are extremely varied; as an area of academic training, the field is new; the subject lacks a well-defined base or well-knit internal structure; and many important aspects of business life have only a remote connection with academic work. Overshadowing all these difficulties is the heavy enrollment pressure to which business schools have been subject since World War I. Enrollments are due to rise much higher in the coming decade, so unless bold steps are taken, academic standards are bound to fall still further.

The most acute problem exists in the four-year undergraduate schools, since only the barest handful of these institutions screen applicants or impose exacting standards for graduation. With some notable exceptions, however, this condition is found at the graduate level as well. Thus, the most important step to take in this area is to increase the number of institutions which limit their programs to students interested in, and capable of, serious academic work.

Against this consideration is the no less compelling need to provide adequate educational facilities for great numbers of students of diverse

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