Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

AACSB Accredited MBA Programs in the US: What Schools Communicate about the Graduate Programs in Their Websites

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

AACSB Accredited MBA Programs in the US: What Schools Communicate about the Graduate Programs in Their Websites

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was developed in the United States in 1908 (Gupta, Smith, and Saunders, 2007) and has been the "must -have postgraduate business degree" since then (Naude, Henneberg, & Jiang, 2010). The number of MBA degrees granted in the USA was 5,000 in 1960 and 53,000 in 1980 (Murray, 1988). According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than 156,000 students are graduating from MBA programs in the United States alone (NumberOf.net, 2013).

The global market for business schools has become increasingly crowded and challenging. Many types of schools are in those highly competitive marketplaces and marketspaces such as state schools, private non-profit schools and private for-profit schools at both national and regional levels. These schools can also be categorized into traditional, innovative, and entrepreneurial offering 2-year or 11-month on-ground (e.g., EMBA -Executive MBA, MSA--MS in Accountancy, PMBA--Professional MBA) and online programs (e.g., online MBA, virtual MBA, Web MBA, Distance MBA) (McDonald, Bocchi, & Gooding, 2004; Sharkey & Beeman, 2008; Cavico & Mujtaba, 2010). Shrinking state-government contributions, decreasing private endowment revenues, limited doctoral faculty supply, and a recessionary economy make competing, or even surviving harder for schools in the long run (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2010). Besides globalization and increased competition, technological change seems to bring a severe challenge to traditional universities (Sharkey & Beeman, 2008). While major national universities enjoy the positive foundation of rankings, prestige, and reputation, regional universities rely on cost, convenience and accessibility instead (Sharkey & Beeman, 2008). In this competitive environment, business schools need to remember that "the most coveted asset for recruiters is business schools' ability to attract a select talent" (Salon, 2007, 232) and that all other attributes are desirable as long as they lead to desirable consequences for students and recruiting companies. Therefore, Dreher and Ryan (2002) suggest that rather than schools' creating artificial barriers, prospective students should be accepted into MBA programs as long as they are bright, enthusiastic and articulate even if they lack the required years of work experience. They support this conclusion with their findings from a sample of 1,018 MBA graduates indicating that work experience is not a determining factor for a successful career in terms of salary levels and number of promotions attained.

As competition has increased over time, universities have started offering not only general MBAs concentrating on all core areas of business, but also MBAs specializing in a number of functional areas (Gupta, Smith, & Saunders, 2007; Naude, Henneberg, & Jiang 2010), such as applied corporate finance, leadership, the environment, health care, project management, and arts administration (Gupta, Smith, & Saunders, 2007; Cavico & Mujtaba, 2010). Research confirms that MBA concentrations serve well in satisfying student needs, but the content analysis of 758 employment advertisements did not find any preferred or required concentration as qualification (Gupta, Smith, & Saunders, 2007).

While marketing helps differentiate the product/service offering, such as specific MBA programs, targeting desirable new customers, such as prospective MBA students, is also important (Beneke, 2011). Therefore, some schools offer programs/courses to non-traditional students, such as working professionals, at their convenience, in terms of not only times and locations but also delivery modes (e.g., online/distance) (Cavico & Mujtaba, 2010). Students from different geographical locations/countries may also have different needs in terms of specific knowledge areas. For example, Molinero and Potillo (2010) concluded that European students likely need consultancy, analysis, and communication skills, while Far Eastern students need applied knowledge industrial management, operations management, and marketing (Molinero & Portillo, 2010). …

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