Johns Hopkins’ Business School for anti-MBAs

I have been excited about the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School for a few years now. Its great to have another innovative, research university in the Baltimore-DC metro entering the business school market. I have posted on their innovative programs.

John Byrne in Fortune Magazine explains the approach of their Dean, Yash Gupta and his attempt to build a business school for ‘anti-mbas’.

“The meltdown helped us immensely because people were ready to question the orthodoxy,” says Gupta. “We decided early on that we could not be a prominent business school by doing what every other school does. I don’t think I could have done that in 2006.”

The result: The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, which welcomed its charter class of 88 students in September, may well be the first business school for anti-MBAs. The school’s tagline, “Where business is taught with humanity in mind,” isn’t merely a slogan.

“Over the years,” Gupta says, “I came to the conclusion that we leaned too hard on the science of business. We produced masters of financial engineering, people who didn’t have heart and soul. I’ve been thinking for years that we were headed in the wrong direction.”

Gupta should know. He had 14 years of experiencing running business schools before starting as Carey’s first permanent dean in January 2008. While dean at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School, he developed an innovation-focused MBA curriculum. But running a school with entrenched faculty and traditions didn’t give him the chance to pull out a clean sheet of paper and rethink business education.

Entrepreneurship and innovation have challenged business schools for years, even as they grew these departments/fields. Many students choose to go after an MBA degree in order to gain employment with a large, high paying firm.

This low risk strategy still works at select schools, but those types of students, and the products and services they are offered by business schools and their career services departments do not blend well with teaching/supporting students interested in building their own firms or joining, innovative, high growth firms (which are typically smaller and do not recruit on business school campuses).

Can Gupta and Carey play a role in filling that gap? Others (both old and new) like Acton, Babson, and Pepperdine are in there working hard to meet the needs of students committed to entrepreneurship and innovation.

via Johns Hopkins’ business school for anti-MBAs – Oct. 21, 2010.

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