STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS AND INTERESTS
Hardly any undergraduate business schools, especially those with four-year programs, follow selective admissions policies. Judged on intelligence-test scores, undergraduate business students do not compare favorably with other important student groups. These findings are modified, but only in part, at the graduate level. Both undergraduate and graduate business students regard education primarily in career-value terms, but whether business schools should alter their programs accordingly seems doubtful.
Some of the principal issues confronting business schools are brought into focus when the activities of these institutions are studied from the viewpoint of the students who attend them. The two preceding chapters contrasted the pattern of education for business as distinguished from such highly developed professions as engineering, law, and medicine. One of the distinctive features of business schools is that they have been in the forefront of the movement to carry higher education to a wide cross section of the population. Put in concrete terms this has meant that most business schools have had to adapt their programs to the abilities and interests of extremely large and diversified student groups. A natural inference to draw from this fact is that the majority of these schools cannot expect to establish high academic standards comparable to those found in the advanced professions. This is the issue with which this and subsequent chapters are concerned.
The general thesis developed here is that business schools could raise the content and quality of their programs materially and still meet the needs of the bulk of their students. Two quite different questions of educational policy are involved--first, whether academic standards in the lowest-ranking schools should be raised and second, whether the same should occur among schools which are already above the minimum. It is argued in this chapter that most students now attending business schools would derive great benefit from broad, demanding programs of study,