Competition in Business Education

Here’s another brand new paper about competition that is particularly relevant to our course and current discussions on a number of different levels. It specifically concerns the prevalence of student entrepreneurial competitions in high-ranking US MBA programs. So, it touches on both competition in education and business competition, while also making use of, or relying on, external rankings in a way that we might find very interesting. I’ve added the paper as a supplemental reading on Canvas. Here is the abstract:

Competitions Versus Classes: Exploring the Impact of Case Competitions and Communication Coursework on MBA Ranking
Mary Marcel, Nancy Ross Mahon
Business & Professional Communication Quarterly
Abstract: Business communication programs and business school competitions are a prevalent component of graduate-level business education. Both activities help students develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, high-level communication, and applied experiential learning. While business competitions may aid in the development of advanced communication skills, to date there has been no comparison of the effectiveness of coursework, competitions, or both. Using U.S. News & World Report rankings of the top 100 U.S. MBA programs as a proxy for program quality, we find that business communication coursework provides greater benefits when compared with internal case competitions. Specifically, findings indicate a higher ratio of graduate business communication classes to internal competitions correlated to higher rank. Furthermore, reputational advantage was also associated with required communication coursework and a higher number of internal competitions offered for graduate business student participation.

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1 Comment

  1. I love the content of this article based on the abstract! I didn’t read the whole piece but I fully support the importance of incorporating communication courses into MBA and other business programs due to the nature of business being people-based. I plan on going into Public Relations for musicians and bands–the more marketing-oriented side of business, and communication is huge. However, in management largely, businesses do not function without communication whether that occurs within reports, analyses, seminars, meetings, or emails. The importance of communication can also emphasize cooperation over competition because it enhances teamwork rather than individual work.

    This is crucial! Thanks for bringing this up.


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