Magazine article Baylor Business Review

The Business of Business Schools Is Changing

Magazine article Baylor Business Review

The Business of Business Schools Is Changing

Article excerpt

and HANKAMER is adapting, competing & excelling

In his best-selling book on the globalization of business, author Thomas Friedman emphasizes the crucial nature education plays in shaping the future success of the U.S. economy. In doing so, Friedman also defines an essential ingredient of that instruction."Education ... has to be about more than just cognitive skills," Friedman writes in "The World is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty-First Century" (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2005). "It also has to include character building."

Management education experts assert that U.S. business schools confront a range of significant challenges. They also stress that U.S. business schools must provide experiences outside the classroom and leadership guidance - including the "character building" Friedman describes - that extend beyond the nuts and bolts of management skills.

The nature of business competition and, as a result, the demands organizations place on their future managers and leaders are changing dramatically and quickly. And the speed and magnitude of that change carries implications for every single U.S. business school, including Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

The business schools that respond appropriately to the accelerating pace of change will shape the skills, experiences, values and leadership qualities future leaders bring to bear on their organizations and industries. By doing so, business schools can help ensure that U.S. enterprises do not get flattened by growing competition.

beyond the rankings

The proliferation and growing impact of business-school rankings reflect the increasingly important role those schools play in shaping future leaders, organizations, industries and economies. Unfortunately, the rankings rarely provide a complete and accurate comparison - although that may not even matter.

"To assume that a few statistics and comparisons in such a complex environment can identify which business schools are better relative to each other is difficult at best," notes Tim Westerbeck, one of the world's leading management-education experts and managing director and principal of Lipman Hearne, Inc., a marketing consulting firm that exclusively serves the not-for-profit market. "However, alumni and prospective students pay attention to the rankings. Even if they understand relative strengths and weaknesses of rankings, the rankings are highly visible measures associated with individual schools."

Business school rankings, which once appeared only in BusinessWeek and then U.S. News and World Kef art, now appear in more than a dozen publications worldwide - included highly respected outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.

Westerbeck and other business school experts agree that rankings have become a fact of life, but they also warn of the risks institutions court when they allow ranking implications to dictate key decisions. For example, some faculty staffs have been gutted by more than 50 percent so that those professors can be reassigned to MBA classrooms to improve a metric that figures prominently in a specific ranking.

"In that case, they're simply managing to the ranking metric to increase the ranking of their business school," explains John J. Fernandes, president and CEO of The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Aside from other problems, that decision can cause the depletion of an already dwindling supply of future Ph.D.s

higher-level challenges

In recent years business school rankings have featured a steady procession of new names. The U.S. dominated the business school market through the 1980s, Fernandes notes. Yet, the number of business schools worldwide has tripled since the 1980s. And, Fernandes reports, "almost all of that growth has taken place outside of the US."

Today, more than 6,000 business schools are based outside of the U. …

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