Letter: What business schools shouldn't be teaching

September 04, 2013

From: Magazine

Thank you very much for Linda Ginzel’s article regarding “Rethinking Management Education: A View from Chicago” (“Lessons from life: Learning to make experience count,” Summer 2013). As a recent Booth graduate, who studied “Rethinking Management Education” in Professor Ginzel’s class in 2012, I feel that I can say that the principles taught in the paper are alive and well today. 

The paper’s greatest triumph is identifying what business schools should NOT be teaching. Booth will never be able to compete with the educational power of actual experience—a case discussion in a classroom will never have the same educational impact as working in the field. As any introductory strategy class will tell you, don’t compete where you can’t win.

Instead, Harry Davis and Robin Hogarth state that business schools should be teaching students how to be their own professors for the long term—to learn more, faster, and at a younger age. 

Business schools can differentiate themselves from experience by affording students the opportunity to learn how to a) use foundational and cutting-edge theories of business; b) collect data to inform these theories; and c) flex and combine these theories to create novel and exciting approaches. Indeed, employers train their new hires how to complete specific tasks, not the basis for why those tasks exist.  

Dane Skillrud, ’13