Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Business Schools Rethink Focus Growing Emphasis on Pragmatic Education

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Business Schools Rethink Focus Growing Emphasis on Pragmatic Education

Article excerpt

BUSINESS education - including the prestigious MBA (master of business administration) degree - is being spruced up at a growing number of colleges in the United States.

The rejuvenation reflects public concerns about overseas competition, technological changes in the workplace, and the Wall Street scandals and business excesses of the 1980s - and whether colleges are adequately preparing students to grapple with complex ethical and professional challenges. Part of the change also relates to shifting demographics, as women and minorities take a larger role in the business world.

"We're at the beginning of a major sea-change in management education," says Bill Laidlaw, executive vice president of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in St. Louis, Mo., the main accrediting agency for business schools in the US and Canada.

Quantifying the full range of changes now under way is difficult; they vary from campus to campus, and are often couched in technical jargon. But experts agree that there is a growing emphasis on international business, technology management, interdisciplinary study, and most importantly, "operational education allowing students to solve actual problems within a corporate or business setting, or by working with business executives. What's increasingly "out:" academic programs geared to just a "theoretical" knowledge of traditional business studies, such as marketing, finance, accounting, and management.

"Rhetoric" has too often become the norm in management education, says Ronald Frank, dean of the Emory Business School in Atlanta. That is, business education has become so specialized that it is increasingly a language and pursuit apart from the day-to-day world of what's really happening within corporations, Dean Frank says.

"The old way of management - the hierarchal approach - is dead," says B. …

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