What MBA’s Expect To Learn In Business School

What do prospective students who want to go to business school expect to learn in a graduate management program?

It’s a good question, partly because so much emphasis is put on jobs and salaries in MBA programs that often times what is actually learned gets too little attention.

This week, the Graduate Management Admission Council published the answer to the question in its 2014 Prospective Students Survey, which included responses from more than 12,000 individuals between October of 2012 and September of 2013.

The actual question: “Thinking about your ideal business school curriculum, what do you expect to learn during a graduate management program?”

Interestingly enough, none of the traditional core subjects came out first. Not finance, marketing or accounting, which were second, third and fourth, respectively. The single biggest answer? Leadership.

“Leadership” and “Finance” were mentioned 2,784 and 1,797 times, respectively, while “Build” appeared only 19 times in comments (see above word cloud).

The good news is that in recent years, business schools have made major progress in adding leadership to the standard MBA curriculum. Many schools, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, now put students through self-assessments and then into one-on-one coaching sessions to work on their leadership skills.

At Harvard Business School, MBA students are now required to take two leadership-focused courses in their first year, Leadership and Organizational Behavior as well as Leadership and Corporate Accountability. In the second year, there are as many as eight different electives that range from Authentic Leadership Development to Power & Influence.

The Wharton Executive Feedback and Coaching Program requires that students incorporate feedback and self-assessments on extracurricular leadership, work experience pre-Wharton, and summer internships. Based on those individual assessments, Wharton provides one-on-one executive coaching, engaging students in what the school calls “self-directed, individualized leadership development through targeted interventions and regularly scheduled coaching support.”

That’s a far cry from the years when leadership used to get relegated to a brief session during orientation or one or two elective courses. What it tells you is that business schools, often criticized for the ethical and leadership lapses of the Corporate Elite, are doing a pretty good job of serving their customers these days.

To see our ranking of the top business schools in the U.S., consult PoetsandQuants.com:

The Top 100 MBA Programs In The U.S.

John Assunto

Originally Posted On LinkedIn By: John A. Byrne

Top Photo: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock


Posted on October 5, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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