A recent Associated Press article (Faculty Shortage Explosion in number of schools has put those with a doctorate in high demand, By LISA CORNWELL, March 28, 2006 ) commented that business schools are now competing for faculty. That certainly is an understatement because this competition among schools is not a new phenomenon. We’ve always competed for the best faculty, as we’ve always competed for the best students. The big change that has taken place of late is the magnitude and the scope of the competition. The explosion of business schools all over the world has created a bigger demand for faculty than ever, and it has created a change in the basic structure of many MBA faculties.
Most of the new programs across the globe are part-time programs taught in the evenings and on weekends and much of the teaching in those programs is being done by neither full-time faculty nor tenure-track faculty in the classic mode.
The question that arises is whether the Ph.D., that is, research training, is going to be important as a requirement in the faculty of these new MBA programs? Is traditional academic research going to be a major part of the MBA world going forward? It certainly will be at a school like Tuck and the other long-established programs that have had research as a basic tenet of their faculty structure for many decades, a research culture that is based on refereed journal publications. This kind of research has been the means whereby many professors attained knowledge of best practices with that knowledge being transmitted to students in the classroom. That is the ideal for many schools but it is a very expensive one.
One thing is apparent to me: the proportion of all MBA teaching that is delivered by full-time research professors is on the decline. I don’t see how that will change unless the Ph.D. programs of the world grow substantially and/or the culture of many of the emerging schools turn in the direction of requiring a research oriented faculty. On the other hand, I also see that the ideal of the researcher-teacher is still one much admired and respected and that many schools would want to support more research if they could afford it. Perhaps as economies develop, more resources will be devoted to the training and support for research scholars who are also dedicated teachers.