Student Achievement Assessment Committee
Master of Business Administration
MBA Learning Objectives
1. Know the fundamentals of business well including the core areas as defined by the AACSB.
2. Understand the domestic and global business environments including the social, political, legal, environmental, and technological issues that impact business.
3. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
4. Appreciate the value of diversity and ethical behavior.
5. Engage problems creatively and cross-functionally.
6. Work well in teams, both as members and leaders.
7. Understand and adapt to the personal and organizational implications of change.
8. Have the ability to learn on her/his own, continuously.
9. Employ collaboration and teamwork strategically to achieve commitment and success.
10. Anticipate change and know how to lead and achieve change in organizations.
11. Communicate effectively as leaders.
1. Learning (or Service) Outcomes assessed this year:
Self-Report Measures (SRM)
1. Gaining factual knowledge in the required MBA courses
2. Learning fundamental principles, generalizations, and theories
3. Learning to apply course material (to improve thinking, problem solving, and decisions)
4. Developing specific skills, competencies, and points of view that are closely related to the courses
5. Acquiring skills in working with others as a member of a team
6. Developing creative capacities
7. Gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual activity
8. Developing skill in expressing oneself orally or in writing
9. Learning how to find and use resources for answering questions or solving problems
10. Developing a clearer understanding of and commitment to personal values
11. Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view
12. Acquiring an interest in learning more by asking one’s own questions and seeking answers
2. Assessment Methods and Procedures:
The MBA Committee expanded the application of the course evaluation system developed by the IDEA Center of Kansas State University. The evaluation form (see attachment) incorporates 12 self-report measures of learning, which relate to the learning objectives of the MBA programs as shown in Table 1. The assessment was expanded to all required courses taught in the MBA programs beginning with the 2004-2005 academic year, thus expanding the coverage from the pilot project reported in 2003-2004. The assessment feedback includes statistics and external benchmarks for each item by course section. This year the development of internal benchmarks was undertaken to accompany the external benchmarks. The feedback was shared with the individual faculty members and their department chairpersons.
The assessment system requires faculty members to complete a “faculty information form” that requests information on the pedagogy employed in the course and the learning outcomes that are rated as essential or important for the course. In the event that a faculty member fails to rate the learning outcomes, all 12 learning outcomes are assumed to be rated as important. Two means are reported for each faculty member on each essential or important learning outcome: a raw mean and adjusted mean. The adjusted mean takes into account the class size and self-reported measures of student work effort and student desire to take the course. Generally speaking, adjusted mean scores are lower than raw mean scores. The internal benchmarks consist of the item mean scores (see Table 2) by course, by program, and overall.
The current MBA curriculum was implemented in 2000-2001. Consequently, the MBA Committee requested that each academic department review the master syllabi for all required MBA courses, including the course objectives and learning outcomes. Revised master syllabi were completed on all but five courses. The remaining syllabi will be completed in fall 2005.
Graduate Studies in Business undertook two benchmarking projects for the executive programs. First, the executive curriculum was compared to 13 AACSB accredited executive programs, including both regional and nationally ranked programs. Second, GSB participated in the annual Executive MBA Council survey of executive MBA programs. The survey covers a wide variety of issues including such things as student characteristics and program structure, length, fees, costs, delivery, and size. The feedback data provide national and international comparisons as well as comparisons on our own designated set of six peer institutions.
Student Leadership Assessment
The Professional Development Seminars (PDS) for full-time MBA students included a two-semester leadership development program based upon Kouzes and Posner’s book entitled The Leadership Challenge. The book is supplemented by instructional material, leadership exercises, and assessment surveys. Students completed the “Student Leadership Practices Inventory” and were provided individual profiles and comparisons to their peer group and to national norms.
3. Inferences from Assessments:
The courses vary significantly in the self-reported learning, as would be expected as not all twelve outcomes are equally relevant to every course. The survey system requires faculty members to designate which learning outcomes are essential or important, and those outcomes are the ones for which further statistical analysis is provided. However, this process leaves open the possibility that one or more of the twelve outcomes might not be designated as essential or important and that the assigned priority will vary across professors within a given course. Consequently, in order to achieve the program’s learning objectives, it might be necessary to assign specific learning outcomes to be emphasized by each required course. This also would necessitate that program learning objectives be linked directly to each master syllabus.
Both the departmental review of the master syllabi and the benchmarking efforts revealed that the required courses remain in line with the mainstream of MBA curricula. The following trends were noted:
• More programs are dividing their courses into modules. The modules, which typically are much shorter than traditional MBA courses, are interspersed throughout the semester or year. Some previously three-credit hour courses have been reduced to 1.5 credit hours and the remaining credit hours redistributed to other courses. This ostensibly maintains coverage of subject matter required by the AACSB but shifts the emphasis.
• More entrepreneurship-related courses in areas such as developing a business plan or new venture management are appearing, especially in executive-level programs.
• Project-oriented courses are becoming more common in both traditional and executive MBA programs.
The conclusion was that our current EMBA offerings are quite mainstream, which led to the question as to what should be done to bring some uniqueness to our programs. The MBA Committee’s consensus was that efforts should be made to identify existing areas of uniqueness (e.g., the required study-abroad in EMBA) and/or to develop specific areas of uniqueness in each program. Additional student preparation in accounting, economics, finance, and statistics appeared useful.
Student Leadership Assessment
Although Kouzes and Posner developed a student version of their leadership assessment survey, the conclusion was that much of the material developed by the authors is more relevant and applicable to working students (e.g., executive students) than to full-time students. Few of the full-time students had access to people to complete the “observer” version of the survey because few had held leadership positions prior to joining the program. Combining the instruction with some form of required leadership project might strengthen the learning experience.
4. Actions Taken/Program Improvements:
In response to the previous and current year’s assessment efforts the following actions were taken:
• The MBA Committee approved the creation of two new field project courses, GBA and MBA 697.
• Both internship and study-abroad options were introduced in the full-time MBA program in response to student input from 2003-2004.
• New precourse materials were selected for EMBA courses in economics, finance, and statistics to supplement student preparation for those courses. Precourse material in accounting remains under review.
• Department faculty modified the master syllabi for seven of the required MBA courses.
• Graduate Studies in Business worked with department faculty members and chairs to respond to deficiencies identified by student assessment results. In a limited number of cases, changes in staffing were made when subsequent assessments indicated continuing concerns with content and pedagogy.
In 2005-2006, the MBA Committee will consider the following issues:
• Completion of the revision of master syllabi for the remaining required courses.
• Assignment of program learning objectives to the required courses
• Designation of essential and important learning objectives for the SET system for each required course.
• Identification or development of areas of uniqueness for each program.