How Important are Teaching Styles in Business Schools?
Most MBA applicants, when choosing target schools, often ignore teaching styles in favor of rankings, location, career offerings, and culture. Granted, there are many different aspects of an MBA program to consider, however, teaching styles just do not seem to factor into the search. At Manhattan Review, we advise applicants to place enormous focus on teaching styles because they will, without a doubt, impact the applicants’ enjoyment of a program, not to mention the quality of the skills and knowledge he/she will best absorb.
While there are similarities across MBA programs, each school has a different teaching style. Some employ more than one style. There's the case study method; lecture and discussion; and the experiential learning and team-based focus approach. What’s more, many schools offer immersion programs over and above the standard course of study.
Some schools concentrate almost entirely on one style, while others utilize a combination of styles depending on the professor’s preference, the type of material being presented, and the main methodology of the school. Business schools that offer a combination of teaching methods do so with good reason. Their theory is that employing more than one teaching style works to better prepare the students for challenges they will face in the business world. Getting students comfortable with more than one teaching method tends to make them incredibly versatile and more adept at learning at a faster rate than those exposed only to one teaching style. Let’s take a look at these teaching styles a little more closely.
A great way to get valuable insight into a school’s teaching style would be to set up interviews through the Admissions Office with faculty. When you meet with professors, here are a few questions you might want to ask.
- What do you enjoy most about teaching at this school?
- What kind of interaction is encouraged in your classroom?
- Do you belong to any professional associations?
- Do you do any industry consulting?
- Does the program encourage students to seek faculty help outside the classroom?
- Are the school’s teaching and grading styles determined by the individual professors?
To review, first get in touch with the type of teaching method that is most appealing to you. Then you’ll want to take the extra time needed upfront to do some investigating before applying to your target schools. Keep in mind: if you’re uncomfortable with or unresponsive to a particular teaching style, it will be very difficult to truly pay attention and learn what you’ve signed up for. So take the time beforehand to be better prepared for what awaits you in the MBA program of your choice. Good luck!
For more insights into the MBA application process we recommend that you attend our free interactive MBA Admissions Webinars where you gain lots of useful insight into the MBA Admissions process from Manhattan Review’s director of Admissions Consulting, a former member of Wharton’s admissions board. Alternatively, please call +1-800-246-4600 or +1-212-316-2000 to arrange a free MBA admissions consultation.