How The World’s Top Business Schools Teach Their MBAs
CARNEGIE MELLON’S TEPPER SCHOOL TOPS THE LIST FOR LECTURE-BASED TEACHING
Even so, the good old fashioned lecture-based class is very much alive and well. The school that claims the highest percentage of learning delivered via lecture is not surprising: it’s Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, which estimates that 50% of all the teaching is via lecture. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School is a close second, with 48%.
Those two schools are followed by a trio of institutions which say that 40% of the learning in their MBA programs is by lecture: UCLA’s Anderson School, Vanderbilt University’s Owen School, and Oxford University’s Said School. So if you like to sit back and hear a professor go on about a subject, these are the five schools to put at the top of your list.
And what about team project and experiential learning? For all the talk about team work at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, it’s somewhat surprising that the school says that team projects account for roughly 25% of the teaching at the school. That’s exactly the same amount claimed by Wharton for team projects.
EIGHT SCHOOLS, INCLUDING KELLOGG AND WHARTON, SAY TEAM PROJECTS ACCOUNT FOR 25% OF MBA LEARNING
In some cases, of course, there is a lot of overlap between these categories. Experiential learning can very well be defined as team projects. And these are rather imprecise estimates, anyway, that are based on the three top teaching methods at each school. That’s why the data fails to include numbers for each teaching method at a school. Simulations, which also account for a smaller percentage of teaching at many business schools, goes unreported as a result.
Some eight schools, nonetheless, reported that a quarter of their learning is delivered by team projects today: Kellogg, Wharton, Duke’s University’s Fuqua School, Georgia Tech, SMU’s Cox School, New York University’s Stern School, Georgetown University’s McDonough School and Oxford Said.
The school claiming the highest amount of learning delivered via experiential learning–30%–is Vanderbilt’s Owen School. That compares with only 5% at Harvard or 15% at Michigan’s Ross School. Think about that. Owen is claiming that it gives MBA students six times the amount of experiential learning in the Harvard MBA program or twice as much as Michigan, which has long claimed to be the pioneer in action-based learning, another way to describe the experiential method. Ross students put the core curriculum to work in the Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) course, combining analytical tools with teamwork and leadership development on a consulting project with an actual firm or organization.
For MAP, students are assigned to five-person teams and then lent to a company and a project that starts in the third week of January. There are 150 possible projects to choose from, with a bewildering array of global companies, for the 500 first-year students. This isn’t part of a course and the experience is not optional, as it often is at other business schools. It’s mandatory, intense, all-consuming, and occupies your complete time for seven straight weeks. Each team has two faculty advisers who act as coaches on the project. Given Ross’ emphasis on action-learning, it’s actually surprising that team projects and experiential teaching doesn’t account for a larger part of the MBA program there.
(See following page for your table on how the world’s top schools compare)