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Nothing Succeeds Like FailureThe Sad History of American Business Schools$
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Steven Conn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501742071

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501742071.001.0001

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The Beast That Ate Campus

(p.1) Introduction
Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

Steven Conn

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of American business schools. While at one level business schools stand as of a piece of the way American universities have grown and evolved since the end of the Civil War, they stand apart from the rest of higher education in three, interconnected ways. First, they have consistently disappointed even their most enthusiastic boosters—failing to develop a definition of professional business education, failing to develop a coherent, intellectually vibrant body of knowledge, unable to agree on what the raison d'être of business schools ought to be—to an extent simply not true of any other academic pursuit. Despite this, of course, business schools have flourished on U.S. campuses and continue to do so. Second, the late nineteenth-century revolutions in higher education fostered a change in how universities were funded and governed. For the businessmen who now presided over higher education, a business school on their campus might hold a special place in their hearts. Finally, business schools serve as the handmaids to corporate capitalism in the United States in a way that no other campus enterprise does.

Keywords:   American business schools, American universities, higher education, professional business education, corporate capitalism, United States

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