Two DePaul University professors are providing data-driven advice for improving business schools through a new research website based at DePaul and a recently released book co-authored with prominent global management education experts.

Erich Dierdorff and Robert Rubin, both associate professors of management at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business, are the research directors of the website Business Education Insider (businesseducationinsider.com), which debuts this month. The site seeks to become a national online resource for research, insights and news about management education issues, especially those affecting graduate business programs for working professionals. 

In the site’s blog and research reports, Rubin and Dierdorff analyze the results of their national surveys of business school administrators, as well as other data and news about b-school curricula, recruiting, enrollment and student trends.

The site’s inaugural research report explores catalysts and challenges for innovating part-time MBA programs, based on a survey of 80 such programs conducted by the two professors. The duo has invited other management education thought-leaders to contribute their research and commentary to the site as well, and will highlight the latest evidence from professional and academic conferences.

“Much of the news in the popular media about graduate business education is based more on opinions than research, and it focuses almost exclusively on full-time MBA programs,” says Rubin. “This ignores nearly half of the student population who are enrolled in business programs geared toward working professionals. Our goal with the Business Education Insider is to provide business school decision-makers with evidence-based information, such as practical translations of management education academic research, that sheds more light on these programs and management education issues in general. We want to foster data-driven discussions around program quality, student learning and engagement, curriculum content and delivery.”

Dierdorff and Rubin have been studying business education curricular trends, relevancy and quality for years in journal articles and in research projects supported by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). With 18 other professors and deans from top global MBA programs, the two have authored several chapters in a new GMAC-commissioned book, Disrupt or Be Disrupted: A Blueprint for Change in Management Education” (Jossey-Bass).  Released in August, the book identifies specific challenges and opportunities facing business schools today and provides strategies and best practices. 

Among the issues the book explores are the changes necessary to enhance the effectiveness and relevance of business education in the years ahead; measures of quality within business schools; responses to financial and institutional constraints; and best practices in faculty selection, training and incentives, curriculum design and student engagement.

“Graduate management education faces challenges that are unprecedented over its 50 years of existence,” said Dierdorff, who also co-edited the book. “It is clear that the current models of graduate management education are ill equipped to meet these challenges. The central aim of this book is to build a thought-provoking and inspiring case for changing the way we currently deliver business education. Only through innovation and renovation can we ensure the future value of such education.”​