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At Cornell, bigger is better for business

Mark Garrison Feb 1, 2016
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Sage Hall at Cornell University, where the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is located. Robert Thompson/Flickr

At Cornell, bigger is better for business

Mark Garrison Feb 1, 2016
Sage Hall at Cornell University, where the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is located. Robert Thompson/Flickr
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On Saturday, Cornell University announced it will pull its business-focused institutions — the School of Hotel Administration, the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Johnson Graduate School of Management — into one College of Business. The massive and controversial reorganization is a reminder that the professors who teach future business leaders about the rapidly changing business environment, face a changing landscape in their own field.

Here are some key forces changing the business of business education:

1. Globalization:

American business schools dominated MBA education for decades, drawing top students and faculty from around the world. Just as global businesses are going after American companies, educational institutions in Europe and Asia increasingly compete head to head with American schools.

2. Flexibility:

An MBA typically takes two full-time academic years to complete. That means that in addition to the cost of tuition — which can be staggering on its own — MBAs also bear the opportunity cost of two years without work. That’s driving more students to consider other programs, from studying part-time while they work as executive MBAs, or choosing one-year programs. More will surely give the latter a look after last month, when INSEAD became the first one-year program to top the Financial Times business school rankings. Increased interest in online learning is also playing a role in new, more flexible degree programs.

3. Refocusing:

Some mid-tier schools are responding to this interest by changing their focus entirely, with some even getting out of the business of full-time MBAs altogether. It doesn’t hurt that executive MBA programs are frequently cheaper to operate and drive more revenue.

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