Why MBA candidates gain more from professors engaged in research

Professionals and executives pursue business education to create value for themselves, their employer and their community. Graduates make more money and report greater progress in achieving their professional goals, both during their studies and within a short time after completion. The reasons seem clear.


Business education, particularly master’s degrees in business administration programs, provides students with hands-on applied knowledge and skills in areas such as strategy and entrepreneurship, finance and organizational behavior. And this acquired knowledge has a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line, making an MBA a highly valued team member.
But at top-tier business schools, MBAs are not only taught by faculty who practice within their field but also by renowned researchers who publish their findings in peer-reviewed academic journals. And this emphasis on scholarly output also positively impacts the MBA.
Publishing research in academic journals increases a professor’s capability to deliver classroom content and enhances critical thinking skills for students.
It also enhances the reputation of the school, which translates into wealth creation for graduates. And of course, the research itself influences the manner in which business is conducted, which creates value for both the MBA and business.


The impact on an MBA candidate’s education
Like a laboratory scientist, a business professor develops an interest in how or why a phenomenon or standard business practice occurs and begins to develop a theory or working hypothesis before beginning investigation, analyzing data and writing an academic paper illustrating the results.
In business schools, MBA candidates benefit from being taught by professors with a deep knowledge of fundamental business and the professors’ curious mindset and research process.
The scholarly work makes for a more rigorous curriculum and impacts students’ own critical thinking skills. Enhanced critical thinking and evidence-based management become tools in the MBA’s toolbox that aid in becoming a more effective, efficient and valuable leader.


The impact on business practices
Concepts born of business research and inquiry also have a direct impact on how businesses operate.
The process is similar to that of medical researchers who study the effect and efficacy of treatment options in clinical trials or how a patient’s mindset affects adoption of a treatment option.

The results of these findings can either challenge or confirm conventional wisdom and influence the decisions practitioners make and how they do their jobs.
The same is true in business. Whether the impact comes from advances in areas such as options pricing, CEO succession planning, change management, optimal pricing or IPO valuations, business research positively impacts practice and outcome.


Academic research cannot be ignored
In a paper published in the Journal of Marketing, Debanjan Mitra and Peter N. Golder discovered that “a persistent increase” in published research by academics has a positive impact on a school’s reputation, the quality of the school’s applicants and graduates’ average annual starting salary.
In an increasingly complex and competitive global marketplace, pursuing an MBA at a school that emphasizes its professors’ academic research simply makes business sense. ●