Hokie Evening MBA, Hurray!

“We’re #16!” I wrote that on the board in class yesterday evening, under the heading “Good News”. I teach in Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program, which was just ranked 16th among part-time MBAs by US News and World Report.

To put that ranking in perspective:

  • It puts the program, not only in the top 20 (obviously), but also on the first page of ranked programs, making it particularly salient to prospective students using the rankings.
  • So the program is on the same page as its counterparts at: Berkeley, Chicago, Northwestern, NYU, UCLA, Michigan, Georgetown,…
  • It is tied with Rice, U of S Carolina, and UMass Amherst (which is where I got my PhD, so it must be good).
  • It is ahead of Georgia Tech, U of Maryland (College Park), and over 200 other part-time MBA programs.

Congratulations to all concerned. I’m grateful to, and for, to the students. They belong in graduate school at a good university, and that is something I do not say lightly. They are ready for class after long days at demanding jobs. Their contributions to class discussions aid the learning of their fellow students, and of their professors.

Teaching and the Tools Thereof

I’m teaching in a strategic management class, starting next Monday. It’s the capstone strategy class in the MBA program at University of Maryland University College (UMUC). I’ll be teaching a “hybrid” section, which mean that it’ll be mostly e-learning, but with a few in-class meetings.

The learning management system (LMS) is WebTycho, which is well-established at UMUC, used at a few other institutions, but isn’t a generally-available or widely-used LMS. Having just completed an orientation course in WebTycho, I can give an opinion: it’s solid, and not often annoying.

Teaching at UMUC also involves using Microsoft Outlook, which is both widely-used and annoying.

That said, I’m excited about the 10-week strategy course that’s about to start.

MBAs and BS

When I saw a Reddit entry entitled The decline of the MBA will cut off the supply of bullshit at source, and linking to The Economist, I doubted that the Reddit title was a quote from the original article. But the article, by one Lucy Kellaway, includes the following sentence.

In 2010 the decline of the MBA will cut off the supply of bullshit at source.

As a once and (probably) future business school prof, I may be biased. But I do have arguments against multiple aspects of the article.

One argument concerns the employment of MBA graduates, and is linked to the prediction that the MBA will decline next year. While it is true that an MBA may not make a job candidate stand out, the lack of one may do so. What used to be true of a bachelor’s has become true of a master’s, and partularly of an MBA. It’s a box that employers expect to be able to check for many jobs.

A second argument is provoked by the above “bullshit” quote. The quote implies that business schools, and in particular MBAs, are the world’s sole source of bullshit. Kellaway is obviously a journalist blissfully unaware of other sources – such as politicians and journalists.