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Which B-School Fits Your Personality?

A case study professor in action at Harvard Business School

A case study professor in action at Harvard Business School

Match Your Personality to a B-School Teaching Style

For many applicants, a school’s teaching method is the last factor they weigh in choosing an MBA program. But then classes start…and they learn just how important it really is.

This week, Stacy Blackman, an author and consultant on MBA programs, outlined the three major teaching styles used by top programs. According to Blackman, this factor is even more important than rankings and location in helping students get the most from their two-year investment.

These teaching styles include:

1) Case: Used extensively at Harvard and Darden, this method requires students to review and debate real-world business scenarios. The benefit, of course, is exposure to a variety of opinions and experiences. However, individuals who are uncomfortable with public speaking will undoubtedly wither in this environment. Still, the method forces students to come prepared and defend their ideas, a key skill in any organization.

2) Lecture: Do you disengage or doze if you’re not included in discussions? Well, you may want to cross Carnegie Melon and USC off your list. Proponents of lectures contend that it is the best method to help students understand key business concepts and methods. It also enables professors to transmit a larger volume of information to students. Unlike the case methods, lectures appeal to more introverted students.

3) Experiential: This is the proverbial “learn-by-doing” method. This style fits students with an entrepreneurial bent, who want to get out of the classroom and get their hands dirty. Experiential learning is most frequently associated with Vanderbilt and Michigan. These schools, along with Harvard, are known for providing real-world group projects that help students turn their knowledge into practice in the field.

Sure, every program includes a mix of all three styles. But knowing which methodology is predominant can help students find schools that fit their comfort zone and build on their strengths.

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Top Schools Are Sitting on the Online Sidelines

Looking for a grand manifesto with few details (and even fewer examples)? Check out this column from Haven Ladd in The Financial Times. Without calling out specific schools (or citing studies or experts), Ladd announces that the leading MBA programs are failing to embrace online education.

Ladd notes that the top MBA programs are competing “for the same (or smaller) pools of applicants,” adding that “while overall tuition prices have steadily increased, the perceived value of an elite MBA is declining.” Ouch!onlinedegree

At least Ladd offers a solution. Well, sort of. He begins by noting that “there is no consensus as to the ‘right’ way to use online offerings.” As Ladd notes, this void gives leading programs “the opportunity to innovate the business of business education.” Mind blowing!

His prescription for the Whartons and Booths? Decrease the class sizes of their brick-and-mortar programs and launch hybrid and online courses with the same rigor of their traditional programs. The benefit: “…schools could extend their brands by reaching larger – and potentially more talented – applicant pools from all over the world.” Just one question: Aren’t the most talented students already chasing the top MBA programs? Wait, a follow up question: Aren’t these schools extremely selective for a reason? Wouldn’t they tarnish their brand and dilute the experience by weeding the group with second or third-tier talents?

Agree or disagree? We’ll let you be the judge of whether this is a serious proposal – or just trite bellyaching (and poor editing).

Source: Financial Times