2015 – A Year in Business Education: Part 1 | TopMBA.com

2015 – A Year in Business Education: Part 1

By Pavel Kantorek

Updated February 29, 2024 Updated February 29, 2024

As we enter into a new year, it’s important – like the two-headed god for whom the first month of the year is named – to look back as well as forward. As with any other year in the dramatic age in which we live, 2015 suffered from no shortage of incident and interest. Did you manage to stay abreast of everything that happened? Well, in case you missed anything, we’ve compiled what we think are some of the most interesting stories of the year, broken down month-by-month. Happy reading! See the second six months here.


January 2015 was a month of no small reading, with several noteworthy pieces of MBA research being published. The FT found that around a third of CEOs of FT500 firms were holders of a certain degree; we also found a healthy proportion of MBAs in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. Business schools were also producing research: INSEAD took a look at which countries in the world are the best at attracting talent, while Oxford Saïd defined the skills that make a CEO. Oh, and we released some too! Namely, the first of our reports looking at the ROI of an MBA, this one focusing on European business schools. But sure, before you can worry about ROI, you need to get in to a school. The new GMAT score report and changes in admissions essays may, therefore, be of interest to you! Finally, January saw Wharton asking what warming US-Cuban relations would mean for business. Who could have ever predicted that!? Ah, speaking of predictions, here’s what academics at some of the world’s top schools believed the year would hold…


Good news to start in February, as the MBA CSEA found that on-campus recruiting was on the up. But in less positive news, it seems that some academics are of the belief that one of the key MBA-hiring industries, namely financial services, has made no progress in 130 years! And in more surprising news, it turned out that many HBS alumni would not recommend their alma mater. Harvard, however, could lay claim to being the greatest producer of the CEOs who made an impression on the stock market, as well as retaining its status as the world’s best producer of cases. Three professors from the school carried out a Twitter analysis of the Super Bowl (we acknowledged February’s other big event by interviewing the founders of matchmaking service Date My School). It was Wharton rather than HBS which topped UT Dallas’ research rankings though; It may be elite, but Wharton isn’t elitist it seemed, revealing it was to greatly expand on its MOOC offerings in February. We also published two sets of recommendations for you in February: 11 of the best apps for business school, and seven of the best business books.


March 8 marks International Women’s Day, with Women’s History Month taking place over course of the month as a whole. Accordingly, we spoke to female MBAs about their experiences in a still very uneven environment, and also to b-school academics around the subject of gender inequality in business. We then took a look back at some inspiring female business leaders, from Madam CJ Walker to Katherine Meyer Graham. March 2015 also saw the second annual MBA World Summit take place in Madrid; an event at which attendees would do well to remember that, apparently, nice guys finish first! Graduates of EMBA programs, it was found in March, earned an average pay rise of 16.8%. And on the subject of formats outside the remit of the traditional full-time MBA, we released the third edition of the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings.


In April, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) reported that business services had replaced manufacturing as the most integral facet of the US economy – a change which has been occurring gradually over the past 40 years. We also took a look at the results of a Universum survey that asked university students to name their most desirable companies to work for in the US (spoiler: Google won) as well as Harvard Business School’s annual startup competition, while Sauder School of Business in Canada received an accolade for its Centre for Operations Excellence. We asked, following on from our pieces on the subject over March, how business schools could achieve true gender balance. And finally, we took a wide view, looking at GMAC’s snapshot of MBA applicants and the top-10 Fortune 500 CEOs with an MBA.


Blogger Ryan Hickey believes that networking makes up no less than half the value of an MBA. Here’s five ways he told us one can measure the opportunities available on any given program back in May, while Fortune reported that the strengthening dollar made a European MBA program a fiscally prudent option for US students. Networking and cost are certainly important factors in choosing a program; Ralf Boscheck of IMD gave us three more, and Georgetown CEW published another report, which revealed the earning power of graduate degrees. Two NYU Stern MBA alumni earned themselves an extra US$200,000 by winning the school’s annual startup challenge, while the team at MIT behind a precision agriculture venture had to content themselves with US$100,000. We also learned, courtesy of Cambridge Judge, that there is indeed no such thing as bad PR and courtesy of HBS that working mothers are a positive influence on the professional lives of their children (perhaps not the year’s biggest shock). In the last of our May picks, we looked at what makes a good online MBA program.


In June, we looked at the experiences of MBA alumni – first through the lens of GMAC’s latest report and then through listing the companies to which graduates of top schools go on after graduating. The companies graduates go on to work for are all, of course, part of how you can assess a school’s fit – a topic we covered in greater detail in this article. We also rounded up helpful GMAT prep websites. June was a gastronomical month, it seems – with a food tech startup winning Chicago Booth’s annual competition, and the launch of IE Gastronomy – a project to underline the value of eating well. To close the first half of the year, a story about Yale SOM, in which the school voiced its pleasure with the Global Network for Advanced Management.  



This article was originally published in May 2016 . It was last updated in February 2024

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