Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Keith Townsend and Gabriele Suder
Chapter 11: The role of business schools in management education
Business schools have performed a vital role in preparing managers for over a century. From the first schools of commerce and economics to the formalisation of the ‘MBA’ degree (Master of Business Administration), business executives, managers and employees have benefited from the knowledge, skills and experiences gained from a variety of institutions that have evolved over the past 100 years. And today demand for preparing managers through the successful pursuit of a business education is a global phenomenon. The Association to Advance Colleges and Schools of Business (AACSB) estimates that there are now over 15 000 degree-granting business schools globally (2013). In the USA alone approximately 18.7 per cent of the total number of higher education (or tertiary) degrees awarded each year are in business (US Census, 2012). This represents over 670 000 degrees awarded just in 2009 (US Census, 2012). Globally, there were over 25 million graduates of tertiary degrees, with over 24 per cent of them earning a degree in the social sciences, business and the law (UNESCO, Online). If 50 per cent of the degrees in this category are awarded in business, this suggests that, each year, there are over 3 million business degree graduates at all levels of tertiary education globally. The way in which managers have been prepared to manage has evolved from a number of different roots: historic liberal-arts-based colleges and universities, technical and trade schools, and entrepreneurial ventures.
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