Higher-Ed Bubble, MBA Edition
| Peter Klein |
Mike Ryall on the MBA curriculum (via Josh Gans):
What is the logic for having world-class academic researchers (who, for the most part, have never managed a business themselves) teach business classes to MBA students? The topics covered in many first-year microeconomics MBA courses, for instance, are a subset of those contained in Section III of Economics for Dummies. There may be good reasons for someone to pay $3,000 for a class taught by a researcher that covers the same topics in this $12 book — greater clarity and/or depth, for instance — but still, at a 250:1 cost ratio, students had better be getting something more for their money. It’s not clear that they are.
The argument is not unique to business schools, but applies more broadly across the college curriculum — hence the threat (to incumbents) of for-profit and other alternatives. Oh, but the University of Phoenix isn’t Harvard, you say? Consider: “In an earlier age, professors took their knowledge certification role seriously (with the fail rates to prove it). Today, many faculty view their role as educating everyone admitted to the program, passing them through, and leaving it to the recruiters to sort things out on the back end.” Of course, at most US colleges and universities, the goal of the undergraduate program is also to pass everyone admitted to the program.
See also: “Why Harvard and Yale Had to Merge” (via Troy Camplin).