become a business professor in five days!?


The Financial Times reports that the AACSB (the main accrediting body of business schools) is offering a five-day training program to encourage and prepare seasoned executives to become professors or lecturers of business. (Learn more about the program here, also see brief discussion at the BizDean’s Blog).

Apparently this is happening given the impending shortage of business academics (see this AACSB report). Business Week also picks up on the story in an article titled: “Shortcut to the classroom.” The article notes that b-school faculty salaries are significantly up, yet there is still demand.

Based on my experiences from teaching at three b-schools – a couple brief, semi-random reactions to having more executives and adjuncts teach:

  • Executive teaching tends to be “war story”-heavy and anecdotal (“let me tell you about the time when…”), and rather light on empirical and theoretical substance. We need more of the latter, not the former.
  • Executive and adjunct instructors can also have a rather jaundiced view of b-schools, we don’t need that.
  • Rather than resorting to 5-day programs, it seems that the trend of Ph.D.s coming into b-schools from disciplines such as psychology, economics, and sociology could easily fill in the gap (academics in the other social sciences appear to have the reverse problem – oversupply of PhDs)
  • Bringing in more full-time executives I think might change a faculty culture and tip it away from research (AACSB accreditation allows up to 50% non-PhDs – a high proportion). Again, we need more, not less, scientific rigor.

I understand that encouraging executives to become lecturers is being touted as a short-term solution, but I think some significant caution is warranted.

(And please, no jokes about how it takes only 5 days to master whatever it is that we business Ph.D.s teach in b-schools…)

Written by teppo

June 24, 2006 at 7:37 pm

Posted in education, teppo

7 Responses

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  1. I agree that PhDs in the core social-science disciplines should be encouraged to fill these gaps. (Indeed, one could argue that B schools already over-rely on faculty with business degrees.) On the other hand, in my experience, these non-business types are even more likely to have that jaundiced view of B schools! :-)


    Peter Klein

    June 26, 2006 at 4:11 pm

  2. My jaundiced view of b-schools is based on my experience that business students seem to be overly-interested in knowledge for the sake of application (i.e. how can this make me money) and less interest in knowledge for knowledge sake. That’s why we core disciplinarians often stick in our own underpaid departments. We prefer students who value a useless degree. ;)



    June 26, 2006 at 4:19 pm

  3. I think application brings a certain rubber-hits-the-road clarity and ‘closure’ to research, though on the whole I of course have to concur that basic research is critical, and indeed wished that all students wanted to learn simply for the sake of learning.

    And hey – can’t business (organization theory, ob etc) be considered “core” in any way? Relatedly, interesting how many central folks from disciplines such as sociology are moving into business schools…



    June 26, 2006 at 11:57 pm

  4. There is some more discussion of this at –



    July 3, 2006 at 4:49 pm

  5. […] Recent Comments Teppo on become a business professor in five days!?teppo on european versus u.s. universitiesteppo on college and university endowmentsTina on european versus u.s. universitiesTina on college and university endowments […]


  6. […] There is an online chat in two days sponsored by several doctoral-granting institutions to encourage folks to get Ph.D.’s in business.  (Seems like a better approach then the 5-day pseudo-Ph.D. program).  The following are suggested on the site as skills one ought to have if considering a Ph.D.: […]


    ph.d.? «

    September 17, 2006 at 8:07 pm

  7. March makes a very good argument for basic research’s value in business schools, please see: “John Reed and James March on Management Research and Practice” in the Academy of Management Executive, Vol 14, no 1.

    Although my work does happen to be quite practical I grow weary of calls for “more practical and less theoretical work.” I read far more economics and cognitive science (including anthropology!!) than anything else. Searching for foundations….

    Prof March and Mr Reed explain the value of academic work quite well (no surprise there).


    David Hoopes

    November 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm

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