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

By Frank C. Pierson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
HISTORY OF BUSINESS SCHOOLS

The development of business schools falls into three periods: origins and early growth ( 1880-1914), expansion and diversification ( 1914-1940), and reassessment and reorganization ( 1940 to present). Many schools had close ties with economics and other departments in the early period, later developed highly specialized curricula of their own, but more recently have adopted a broader conception of their work. Nonetheless, controversy persists over what the distinctive role of business schools should be.

The principal features of present-day business school programs were largely set thirty or forty years ago, and many of the current problems of these schools are the heritage of decisions reached even before then. Institutions launching new programs since World War II have had the opportunity to develop wholly new approaches, and a few others have drastically reorganized their work in recent years. Most, however, still adhere to the prewar pattern, so that a profile of today's business schools bears considerable resemblance to the typical school of the mid-twenties. It is to the past, then, attention must turn to explain the present.

Since this study is chiefly concerned with prospects for the future, only the more important aspects of past trends are of interest here. The discussion centers around the approaches of various types of schools--the distinguishing characteristics of their programs, the circumstances surrounding their development, and the general educational results. The material for this chapter deals with seventy-five schools chosen for special study in different parts of the country, but attention centers primarily on the history of twelve institutions.1

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1
These twelve institutions, representing a rather broad cross section of programs, are: California ( Berkeley), Chicago, Columbia, Dartmouth (Tuck School), Harvard, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana State, Minnesota, Pennsylvania (Wharton School), Temple, and Tulane. The list of schools selected for special study and the procedures followed in conducting the campus interviews are described in Appendix 6.

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