Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded in 1908
ESCP Business School in Paris, founded in 1819
ESCP Business School in Paris, founded in 1819
Budapest Business School in Budapest, the first public business school, founded in 1857
Budapest Business School in Budapest, the first public business school, founded in 1857
Wharton School in Philadelphia, founded in 1881[1]
Wharton School in Philadelphia, founded in 1881[1]
University of St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland, founded in 1898
University of St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland, founded in 1898
Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, founded in 1909
Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, founded in 1909
Herbert Business School at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, founded in 1929, is ranked 25th in the world for business administration, according to the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities.[2]
Herbert Business School at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, founded in 1929, is ranked 25th in the world for business administration, according to the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities.[2]
ESSEC in France and Singapore, accredited by AACSB in 1997, were the first business schools accredited by the association outside North America.
ESSEC in France and Singapore, accredited by AACSB in 1997, were the first business schools accredited by the association outside North America.
Scope of accreditation for AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA
Scope of accreditation for AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA

A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in business administration or management.[3] A business school may also be referred to as school of management, management school, school of business administration, or colloquially b-school or biz school. A business school teaches topics such as accounting, administration, business analytics, strategy, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, management science, management information systems, international business, logistics, marketing, sales, operations management, organizational psychology, organizational behavior, public relations, research methods, real estate, and supply chain management 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 (e.g. Mannheim Business School).
  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 (e.g. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).
  3. In Europe and Asia, some universities teach predominantly business courses (e.g. Copenhagen Business School).
  4. Privately owned business school which is not affiliated with any university (e.g. WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management).
  5. In France, many business schools are public-private partnerships (École consulaire or EESC) largely financed by the public Chambers of Commerce. These schools offer accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from the elite Conférence des Grandes Écoles and have only loose ties, or no ties at all, to any university (e.g., HEC Paris, TBS Education, ESCP Business School).

Kaplan classifies business schools along four Corners:[3]

  1. Culture (Europe - US): Independent of their actual (physical) location, business schools can be classified according to whether they follow the European or the US model.
  2. Compass (international/global – regional/local): Business schools can be classified along a continuum, with international/ global schools on one end and regional/ local schools on the other.
  3. Capital (public – private): Business schools can either be publicly (state) funded or privately funded, for example through endowments or tuition fees.
  4. Content (teaching – research): Business school can be classified according to whether a school considers teaching or research to be its primary focus.

Notable firsts

The first business schools appeared in Europe in the eighteenth century and multiplied from the beginning of the nineteenth century.


In the United States, common degrees are as follows:

In Europe, higher education degrees have been commonly re-organized into three levels which correspond to those of other European countries in order to facilitate international mobility: the Licence / Licence Professionnelle (Bachelor's degrees), and the Master's and Doctorat degrees. The Bachelors and the Masters are organized in semesters: 6 for the Bachelors and 4 for the Masters.[36][37] A student accumulates those ECTS (European credits) which are generally transferable between paths. A Bachelors is awarded once 180 ECTS have been obtained (bac + 3); a Masters is awarded once 120 additional credits have been obtained (bac +5) .[36][37][38] A Doctorate is awarded after a Master's and additional 180 ECTS are obtained (bac + 8), and other academic requirements are satisfied. In Francophone countries, those levels of study include various "parcours" or paths based on UE (Unités d'enseignement or Modules), each worth a defined number of ECTS. Grand école business schools are elite academic institutions that admit students through an extremely competitive process, and the highly coveted PGE (Grand Ecole Program) ends with the degree of Master's in Management (MiM).[39][40][41]

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 Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, 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.[42] and Google, Inc.[43]

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.[44] This approach does not make any extraordinary demands on the artistic and dramatic talents of the teacher. Consequently, most professors are capable of supervising the 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.[45] 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[46] 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,[47] Wesleyan University,[48] and Bryn Mawr College are now offering complete online degrees in many business curricula 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.[49]

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.[50]


There are three main accreditation agencies for business schools in the United States: ACBSP, AACSB, and the IACBE. In Europe, the EQUIS business school accreditation system is run by the EFMD, which sometimes applies the more narrow EPAS label to specific courses. The AMBA accredits MBA programmes and other post-graduate business programmes in 75 countries; its sister organisation the Business Graduates Association (BGA), accredits business schools, based on the impact they make on students, employers and the wider community and society, in terms of ethics and responsible management practices. Triple accreditation is used to indicate that a school has been accredited by these three bodies: AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS. About 1% of business schools are triple-accredited.[51]

Global Master of Business Administration ranking

Each year, well-known business publications such as The Economist,[52] Eduniversal,[53] U.S. News & World Report,[54][55] Fortune, Financial Times,[56] Bloomberg Businessweek,[57] and The Wall Street Journal[58] publish rankings of select BBA and MBA programs and undergraduate business schools that, while sometimes controversial in their methodologies,[59] 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.[60][61][62] 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.[63]


In Europe, a bachelor's degree is tuition-free at public intuitions in several countries: Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey.[64] In the German education system, most universities do not charge tuition, except for some executive MBA programs. French tuition fees are capped based on the level of education pursued, from 183 Euros (US $216) per year for undergraduate and up to 388 Euros (US $459) for doctorates. Tuition fees in the United Kingdom were introduced in 1998 and are at 9,000 GBP annually in most of the UK, except in Scotland where was tuition abolished.[64] All private and autonomous institutions in Europe charge tuition.

In the United States, most public college and universities charge tuition. According to the CollegeBoard, the average cost for an out-of-state, or international student, to attend a public four year university in 2020 was US$38,330 (32,409 Euros), while the average in-state cost was US$21,950 (18,559 Euros).[65] Two year public universities, such as a community colleges, charge US$3,730 (3,154 Euros) on average for in-state students, but these institutions usually do not offer Bachelors or MBA degrees.[66] Private institutions in the United States all charge tuition, often considerably more than their public counterparts.


See also


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