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MBA-Jahresrückblick – University of Chicago University of Chicago: The continued internationalization of business schools

A. What do you consider the most significant developments in MBA/management education and the international business school market as a whole this year?

From our standpoint, the key developments in management education the past year are the following:

1) The continued internationalization of business schools

Business schools all around the world continue to develop programs to enhance the international content of their currricula and the international experience of their students. Whether setting up international campuses (as we have done at the University of Chicago), developing international partnerships, or creating special study trips, the international trend that began 10 years ago continues. Schools recognize that most businesses today have international dimensions and that students need to understand the intricacies of doing business internationally and need to develop international networks.

2) Strong application growth, especially for our executive MBA

We have seen solid application growth over the past year, reversing the general trend the many schools faced in the past 2 or 3 years. Applications to our executive MBA program were particularly strong. We have also seen a significant jump in our international applications - the strongest year yet since 9/11. Even though we have again begun to see articles in the press questioning the value of an MBA, prospective students continue to assert their belief that the degree is a strong and valuable credential in today's business world.

3) Growing dissatisfaction with business school rankings

We have seen for the first time this year, two top schools (Wharton and Harvard) decide not to cooperate with publications that create annual rankings of business schools. This emphasizes the growing dissatisfaction that many schools have with the rankings process, the credibility of the data and the nature of rankings themselves. While all schools recognize that prospective students need accurate information to make an informed choice of schools, there is a sense the the current rankings either measure the wrong things, generate inaccurate data, or have significant biases built into the process. Furthermore, the whole concept of a forced ranking suggests that there is one "best" school for everyone. In reality, there are many good business schools and it is important for applicants to choose a school that's right for him or her, not the one that comes out on top of a magazine ranking. As a result of the move by Harvard and Wharton, we may see continuing changes in the way rankings are conducted and promoted in the future.

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