A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in business administration or management . Such a school can also be known as school of management , school of business administration , or colloquially b-school or biz school . A business school teaches topics such as accounting , administration , strategy , economics , entrepreneurship , finance , human resource management , management science , management information systems , international business , logistics , marketing , organizational psychology , organizational behavior , public relations , research methods and real estate among others.


There are several forms of business schools, including a school of business, business administration, and management.

  1. Most of the university business schools consist of faculties, colleges, or departments within the university, and predominantly teach business courses.
  2. In North America , a business school is often understood to be a university program that offers a graduate Master of Business Administration degrees and/or undergraduate bachelor's degrees.
  3. In Europe and Asia, some universities teach only business.
  4. Privately owned business school which is not affiliated with any university.

Notable firsts

Budapest Business School , Hungary, the first public business school founded in 1857
Wharton School , US, founded in 1881
University of St. Gallen , Switzerland, founded in 1898


Common degrees are as follows.

Use of case studies

Some business schools structure their teaching around the use of case studies (i.e. the case method ). Case studies have been used in Graduate and Undergraduate business education for nearly one hundred years. Business cases are historical descriptions of actual business situations. Typically, information is presented about a business firm's products, markets, competition, financial structure, sales volumes, management, employees and other factors influencing the firm's success. The length of a business case study may range from two or three pages to 30 pages, or more.

Business schools often obtain case studies published by the Harvard Business School, INSEAD , London Business School , the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan , the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario , the Darden School at the University of Virginia , IESE , other academic institutions, or case clearing houses (such as The Case Centre). Harvard's most popular case studies include Lincoln Electric Co. [59] and Google , Inc. [59]

Students are expected to scrutinize the case study and prepare to discuss strategies and tactics that the firm should employ in the future. Three different methods have been used in business case teaching:

  1. Preparing case-specific questions to be answered by the student. This is used with short cases intended for Undergraduate students. The underlying concept is that such students need specific guidance to be able to analyze case studies.
  2. Problem-solving analysis is the second method initiated by the Harvard Business School which is by far the most widely used method in MBA and executive development programs. The underlying concept is that with enough practice (hundreds of case analyses) students develop intuitive skills for analyzing and resolving complex business situations. Successful implementation of this method depends heavily on the skills of the discussion leader.
  3. A generally applicable strategic planning approach. This third method does not require students to analyze hundreds of cases. A strategic planning model is provided and students are instructed to apply the steps of the model to six – and up to a dozen cases – during a semester. This is sufficient to develop their ability to analyze a complex situation, generate a variety of possible strategies and to select the best ones. In effect, students learn a generally applicable approach to analyze cases studies and real situations. [59] This approach does not make any extraordinary demands on the artistic and dramatic talents of the teacher. Consequently, most professors are capable of supervising application of this method.

History of business cases

When Harvard Business School started operating in 1908, the faculty realized that there were no textbooks suitable for a graduate program in business. [59] Their first solution to this problem involved interviewing leading practitioners of business and writing detailed accounts of what these managers were doing, based partly on the case method already in use at Harvard Law School . Of course, the professors could not present these cases as practices to be emulated, because there were no criteria available for determining what would succeed and what would not succeed. So the professors instructed their students to read the cases and to come to class prepared to discuss the cases and to offer recommendations for appropriate courses of action. The basic outlines of this method still operate in business-school curricula as of 2016.

Other approaches

In contrast to the case method some schools use a skills-based approach in teaching business. This approach emphasizes quantitative methods, in particular operations research , management information systems , statistics , organizational behavior, modeling and simulation , and decision science . The leading institution in this method is the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University . The goal is to provide students a set of tools that will prepare them to tackle and solve problems.

Another important approach used in business school is the use of business games that are used in different disciplines such as business, economics, management, etc. Some colleges are blending many of these approaches throughout their degree programs, and even blending the method of delivery for each of these approaches. A study from by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group [59] shows that there is still disagreement as to the effectiveness of the approaches but the reach and accessibility is proving to be more and more appealing. Liberal arts colleges in the United States like New England College , [59] Wesleyan University , [59] and Bryn Mawr College are now offering complete online degrees in many business curriculae despite the controversy that surrounds the learning method.

There are also several business schools which still rely on the lecture method to give students a basic business education. Lectures are generally given from the professor's point of view, and rarely require interaction from the students unless notetaking is required. Lecture as a method of teaching in business schools has been criticized by experts for reducing the incentive and individualism in the learning experience. [59]

Executive education

In addition to teaching students, many business schools run Executive Education programs. These may be either open programs or company-specific programs. Executives may also acquire an MBA title in an Executive MBA program within university of business or from top ranked business schools. Many business schools seek close co-operation with business. [6]

National Accreditation

There are three main accreditation agencies for business schools in the United States. ACBSP , AACSB , and the IACBE . In Europe , the EQUIS accreditation system is run by the EFMD .

Global Master of Business Administration ranking

Each year, well-known business publications such as The Economist , [6] Eduniversal , [6] U.S. News & World Report , [6] [6] Fortune , Financial Times , [6] Business Week [6] and The Wall Street Journal [6] publish rankings of selected MBA programs and business schools that, while controversial in their methodology, [6] nevertheless can directly influence the prestige of schools that achieve high scores. Academic research is also considered to be an important feature and popular way to gauge the prestige of business schools. [6] [4] [4] Business schools share the common purpose of developing global managerial talent and to this end, business schools are encouraged to accelerate global engagement strategies on the foundations of collaboration and innovation. [4]


See also