What makes a great MBA?

MBA schools are a lot like professional sports: there’s a huge mass of wannabes feeding the league tables, a lucky few make it into the majors, and a small elite get all the coverage. (Of 5,000 schools worldwide, fewer than 100 matter.) Fortunately, that few dozen at the top includes WBS.

So I’ve been thinking about what really makes an MBA *great*. Quality teaching by enthusiastic experts helps; at least two of my lecturers wrote the textbooks used on the course. And of course the depth of course content matters. (For instance, Warwick’s Marketing module is more about business strategy than consumer behaviour; deep and meaningful.)

But I’m thinking the real wow factor of a top MBA lies in the way it joins things up.

On Monday, we do a P&L in Accounting, and the next day the Economics class shows how a company’s bottom line is linked from macro trends. 24 hours later Organisational Behaviour looks at the same thing from a human factors viewpoint. It’s all interlinked, so you can relate taught concepts to a broader base of learning. It’s what separates ‘information’ from ‘knowledge’. And why ‘knowledge’ is so difficult to manage; the value of knowledge isn’t the information, it’s the links it creates between ideas.

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