Throughout our history, Chicago Booth has taken a distinctive approach to business education.
One of the first business schools in the United States, Booth pioneered a new way to teach business—one that took a more comprehensive, creative, and professional approach than the rote memorization that was standard at the time. In 1922, under the leadership of Leon Carroll Marshall, Booth’s fourth dean, the school graduated the nation’s first PhD student in business.
But by the 1950s, underfunding had led to a loss of momentum. Dean W. Allen Wallis and associate dean James H. Lorie, PhD ’47, joined forces to create a new kind of business education. Inspired by the German approach to medical education—which required students to study anatomy, physiology, and other basics before applying their knowledge—their new framework prioritized foundational disciplines such as accounting, economics, and statistics.
That framework became The Chicago Approach, the transformative educational philosophy that sets Booth apart from every other business school in the world. Rooted in the fundamental scientific disciplines at the heart of business—economics, accounting, psychology, sociology, and statistics—The Chicago Approach provides a framework that can be applied to solve business problems across industries and regions.
As business evolves, so too does The Chicago Approach. To meet the need for more advanced leadership training, we introduced LEAD, one of the first experiential leadership development programs offered at a major business school. Now a core component of all Booth MBA programs, LEAD empowers students to build leadership skills that they can draw on throughout their careers.
Today, we’re applying The Chicago Approach to lifelong learning opportunities for our global community. Our alumni gain insights from industry leaders at thought leadership events, learn from our faculty in Back to Booth classroom sessions, and build professional skills in our global Executive Education programs.