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Jiwook Jung

Research Findings

Do business schools really matter? Yes, and it’s because of their main products: MBAs

March 20, 2019

Do business schools—and their products, MBAs—really matter?

Business school professors often lament that business education has no impact on the real world—that they waste their energy debating esoteric theories that nobody outside the academy pays attention to. But at the same time, business school critics claim that through excessive risk-taking and profit-maximizing at any cost, MBAs drove the economy into the financial crisis and the great recession a decade ago .

In a recent study, we examined how much business schools really matter. Does business school education really shape students’ minds and behaviors many years later, when they have reached top positions at major corporations and financial institutions?

We explore this question by looking at how CEOs engage in diversifying acquisitions over the last three decades. We chose to study corporate diversification because business professors dramatically changed their views about it during the period under study. This allows us to see how the business school curriculum impacted students.

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