2023 Curriculum Benchmarking Survey Results - Summary Report

The Graduate Business Curriculum (GBC) Roundtable, formerly the MBA Roundtable, a global association of business schools whose mission is to advance graduate business education through curricular and co-curricular innovation, commissioned a curriculum survey of graduate business schools and programs released a new report, The Graduate Business Education Curriculum Survey. More than 200 graduate business programs at 99 business schools shared information about the curriculum for 110 MBA and 97 Business Master and PhD/DBA programs. The GBC Roundtable defines curriculum as the overall content (theories, ideas, concepts, skills, knowledge, etc.) taught and delivered within the formal courses and other required learning experiences, the structure of those courses, and their sequence as well as co-curricular activities/opportunities of your graduate degree program(s). 
The MBA degree continues to be the most common type of graduate business program offered by business schools. Nine in ten (93%) schools offer an MBA degree in this year’s survey, similar to the percentage in 2021. A Master’s of Accounting (61%) is the next most commonly offered degree at business schools, followed by Business Analytics (39%), Finance (35%), and PhD (32%).  Overall, the business schools in this year’s survey enroll nearly 69,000 students and offer 16 to 1 (median) student to faculty ratio.
Four out of five (82%) business schools have a policy regarding curriculum revisions for degree-granting programs. One-third (36%) of business schools with a policy require an ongoing review of the curriculum and a quarter (26%) indicate the policy does not specify a time period for revision. In addition, 24 percent require revisions every 3 to 5 years. Most business schools do not offer a stipend for curriculum revisions. Only 14 percent of business schools offer a stipend for curriculum revisions.
Faculty committees have decision-making authority for the curriculum at more than half of the business schools. At about two out of five schools, the academic directors and deans have decision making authority. Most business school rely on advisory boards, student groups, and employer groups for input about the curriculum.
Course assignments and learning experiences should be revised on an ongoing basis according to a majority of respondents. Program goals and course sequences should be revised every two or more years according to most respondents. About half (46%) of the respondents say content should be revised on an ongoing basis.
A business school’s core curriculum represents more than half of a student’s experience in the program and business programs require students to have instruction in 9 areas of study, on average. The full-time MBA (19 months or longer) program provides students with the greatest opportunity for elective areas of study. Today, post-pandemic, most programs are delivering the curriculum in-person and not online, except for online and flexible MBA program.
Marketing, strategy, and finance are foundational to the MBA curriculum as nine out of ten programs require all students to complete a course of instruction in these areas of study. Other common areas of study required by a majority of MBA programs include operations management (73%), accounting- management (69%), accounting-finance (65%), organizational behavior (64%), micro-economics (61%), statistics (53%), leadership (51%), and information systems/technology (50%).
A Business Master’s program curriculum is rooted in the degree offered, not surprisingly. For instance, a majority of Master’s of Accounting programs require a course of study in the following areas, including accounting management and finance, auditing, and taxation, whereas a Master’s in Business Analytics require students to study business analytics, data analytics/modeling, and statistics.
Business schools offer students a variety of co-curricular activities. The most common activity required across all program types is the capstone course or project. A majority of full-time and part-time MBA programs require students to participate in experiential learning opportunities. Most of the MBA programs offer or require students to participate in a global experience, except for the online MBA. In addition, a majority of MBA programs offer or require students to participate in a bootcamp prior to enrollment.
Concentrations/specializations are offered or required by most MBA programs. A majority of the MBA programs offering concentrations offer finance and marketing. Other concentrations offered by MBA programs include entrepreneurship, business analytics, and general management. Fewer Business Master’s programs offer students the ability for specialization beyond the degree.
Case-based learning, assessments, and collaborative/ cooperative learning are the pedagogical methods most often used to deliver the graduate business school curriculum. Case-based learning is used a great deal by 62 percent of schools and 29 percent utilize this method a moderate amount. More than half of the schools utilize the following pedagogical methods a moderate amount or a great deal, including case-based learning (91%), assessments (90%), collaborative/ cooperative learning (90%), experiential learning (84%), learning by making and doing (58%), research-based learning (57%), research-based learning (57%), global learning (51%), and inquiry-based learning (51%).

To download the summary report, click here.