The Project-Based MBA
MBA-Programs are the flagship product of business schools world-wide. The increasing enrolment as well as the price range of these postgraduate business degree programs reflect this relevance.
Despite its success, the MBA has been frequently criticized in respect to a number of typical characteristics and outcomes. Many of these are closely associated to the character of business schools which has shaped the fundamental instructional approach usually used for MBA-education.
Inspired by several highly innovative MBA-programs currently in operation, the objective of this book is to provide a proposal for an effective alternative approach to delivering MBA education: the project-based MBA.
In a first step, a literature review provides a general overview of the landscape of learning and instruction research based on which three instructional approaches are presented in more detail: problem-based learning, action learning and project-based learning. These approaches share many similarities with each other and with the benchmark MBA-programs mentioned above. Despite their similarities, they each contribute unique perspectives, practices and research insights due to their strongly differing backgrounds and traditions. Furthermore, implications for assessment in connection with these three approaches are described.
In a second step, one of the benchmark MBA-programs is analyzed by means of an interview-based case study. Here, the objective is to gain a holistic view from the perspective of participating persons, students and faculty. The ample use of illustrative interview passages is intended to allow a concrete impression of (learning) processes in such a program.
In the third part of the book, insights gained in the literature review and case study are joined into a design framework which provides guidance for business school executives and faculty who want to implement a similar program at their institution.
Overall, the project-based MBA is presented as a viable alternative suited to solve the problems typically associated with traditional MBA-programs. At the same time, risk factors and implementation challenges to the project-based approach are identified as well, so that the approach is not presented as the one best solution.