The Value of Choosing a Research-Focused MBA Program at UW Foster

Research MBA

How important is faculty research to choosing your MBA program? Should you care if you go to a research university or is it all just white smoke? Is there value in choosing a research-focused MBA program?

We know that faculty matter. According to a paper written by researchers at Indiana University and Michigan State University titled “Faculty Do Matter: The Role of College Faculty in Student Learning and Engagement,” faculty have a significant impact on student learning and the overall educational experience.

“The impact that a faculty member can have on the student experience can be seen in and out of the classroom,” the study explained. “We found that faculty behaviors and attitudes affect students profoundly, which suggests that faculty members may play the single-most important role in student learning.”

But what about faculty research, is it important?

Faculty Research at UW Foster

At the University Foster School of Business, research is vital to the school’s success. Why is this important? Research can be a great indicator of intellectual horsepower and thought leadership. It can also mean cutting-edge curriculum and more in-depth offerings within specific disciplines.

Daniel J. Turner, the associate dean of master’s programs, recently told MetroMBA, “research is at the heart of our mission at the University of Washington, and contributing to the evidence bases of our disciplines is something that is crucial to our identity at the Foster School, as well.”

Turner continues, “We believe that solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges of tomorrow require more than ideas from the past; we want to capitalize upon those earlier, inherited ideas, of course, but—more importantly—we want to build upon them. Our faculty contribute actively to our understanding of the various fields of management so that we can all better comprehend, shape, and improve our world.”

How Has the UW Foster School Made Research a Priority?

“There are a number of well-reasoned and aligned business processes, institutional structures, and local resources in play at UW Foster that contribute to the ability of our faculty to be productive scholars generating rigorous, impactful research,” Turner says. “But I think the ‘secret sauce’ of our research productivity model is that we recruit, retain, and develop faculty who share our passions for both discovery and the power of evidence-based ideas. That passion is in our DNA, and—if it’s not in a prospective faculty member’s—that person is probably not going to be a great fit here… no matter how smart, insightful, and hard-working he or she may be.”

“Our faculty actively recruit new colleagues with the notion that every new hire not only shares this passion but is also ‘better than the mean,’ i.e., that every new faculty member raises the bar on our capabilities as a scholarly community,” Turner continues. “We believe that the more talent and resources at your disposal, the more your current potential can be realized. It’s true for education in general, and our experience shows that it’s true for our research enterprise, as well. Our new faculty make our existing faculty even better, not just as a whole but also individually.”

How Does a Research-Focused MBA Program Benefit Students?

Turner explains that “Student mastery of not just any ideas but evidence-based ideas allows them to elevate their impact on the world.”

“Those leaders who are armed with theories, tools, and frameworks validated by research can and will have more impact on the world than those without.” – UW Foster Associate Dean Daniel Turner

“The evidence-based theories, tools, and frameworks our faculty share in curricular and co-curricular experiences allow each Foster MBA student to better understand any complex, unstructured real-world problem, generate a compelling vision around a solution to that problem, and inspire others to act on that vision. Foster faculty, as some of the most active participants in a global community of research scholars, share not only their own evidence-based ideas with our students about how to manage and lead but also those ideas of the broader academies to which they belong.”

Why Should an Applicant Consider a Research-Focused MBA Program?

“The value proposition for evidence-based ideas is clear,” Turner notes. “Those leaders who are armed with theories, tools, and frameworks validated by research can and will have more impact on the world than those without.”

“We can argue about whether industry has acted slowly or quickly in recognizing the importance of evidence-based management, but it seems very clear now that data-informed ideas are winning in the marketplace,” Turner says. “Recruiters hunger for new hires who can make a substantial and meaningful impact on the performance of their organizations, and MBAs with impactful, evidence-based ideas drawn from an active research faculty will create greater opportunities both for their organizations and for themselves.”


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