Higher Education for Business

By Robert Aaron Gordon; James Edwin Howell | Go to book overview

chapter 2
HIGHER EDUCATION FOR BUSINESS: ITS GROWTH AND PRESENT MAGNITUDE

BUSINESS and the businessman play a more important role in American life than in that of any other country. Also unique is the American system of higher education, which at the undergraduate level combines in a peculiarly American mixture elements of three types of European institutions: the university, the lycée or gymnasium, and the non-university technical school.1 Within this framework the United States continues beyond the secondary school its great experiment in education, providing some combination of general and practical education to a large proportion of its citizens. More than half of the students then move out into the world of business.2

Against this background, it is not surprising to find that academic business education has been more extensively and highly developed in the, United States than anywhere else. The United States, it is fair to say, is the first country in the world to prepare young people, formally and on a large scale, for careers in business.3 The American business school has become an object of study for a stream of visitors from all parts of the free world, and some of its features are now being fitted into the edu-

____________________
1
Cf. James Bryant Conant, The Citadel of Learning ( 1956), particularly chap. 2, and Abraham Flexner , Universities--American, English, German ( 1930).
2
Ernest Havemann and Patricia Salter West, They Went to College ( 1952), p. 32.
3
It is not correct, however, to assume that the early development of business education in the United States had no counterparts in Europe or that various forms of a professional type of business education did not exist in some other countries before the Second World War. See the learned and interesting paper by Fritz Redlich, "Academic Education for Business," The Business History Review, XXXI (Spring, 1957), 35-91; cf. also Heinz Hartmann, Education for Business Leadership: The Role of the German "Hochschulen" ( Organization for European Economic Cooperation, 1955), and James A. Bowie, Education for Business Management ( 1930), chaps. 4 and 5.

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