An Analysis of Values, Mission and Vision Statements Within AACSB Accredited Schools of Business

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1 An Analysis of Values, Mission and Vision Statements Within AACSB Accredited Schools of Business Browning, Michelle C. National University ABSTRACT Core values are defined as things of value and serve as guideposts for organizations with regard to leadership and decision making. Core values represent the core priorities of an organization s culture. At its most basic, a mission statement describes the overall purpose of the organization. It sheds light on an organization s products, services, values, concern for public image and activities for survival. An organization s vision statement clearly defines its ideal future and is an attractive image toward which the organization is guided. The vision statement is a compelling description of the state and function of the organization once it has realized its strategic plan. Values, mission, and vision are essential elements for schools of business and should be communicated to stakeholders toward effective marketing and strategic business operations. The American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) grants national accreditation to undergraduate and graduate business administration and accounting degree programs. AACSB International accreditation is widely regarded as the highest level of accreditation for business schools, as only 25% of U.S. business schools achieve AACSB International accreditation the hallmark of excellence in management education (AACSB International Website, 2008). This paper reviews the websites of the top ten AACSB graduate business schools ranked in 2008 by U.S. News and world Report to determine the presence of business school values, mission, and vision statements. Specific focus is placed on clarity of communications as evidenced through website information and common themes across schools with the overarching goal of presenting best practices for future schools seeking AACSB accreditation. METHODOLOGY Business school rankings provided by U.S. News and World Report were utilized as a basis for analysis in the present research. In the Fall of 2007 and early 2008, U.S. News and World Report surveyed all 425 master s programs in business accredited by AACSB International. There were 383 responses, of which 127 provided the data needed to calculate rankings based on weighted average of the indicators described below. The following methodological description is a summary provided by U.S. News and World Report (2008) as to how rankings were determined. Quality Assessment (weighted by.40) Peer Assessment Score (.25) In the Fall of 2007, business school deans and directors of accredited master s programs in business were asked to rate programs on a scale from marginal (1) to outstanding (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark don t know. A school s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of don t know counted neither for nor against a school. About 45 percent of those surveyed responded. Recruiter Assessment Score (.15) In the Fall of 2007, corporate recruiters and company contacts who hire from previously ranked programs were asked to rate programs on a scale from marginal (1) to outstanding (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark don t know. A school s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it.

2 Responses of don t know counted neither for nor against a school. About 27 percent of those surveyed responded. Placement Success (weighted by.35) Mean Starting Salary and Bonus (.14) This is the average starting salary and bonus of 2008 graduates of a full-time master s program in business. Salary figures are based on the number of graduates who reported data. The mean signing bonus is weighted by the proportion of those graduates that reported a bonus, since not everyone who reported a base salary figure reported a signing bonus. Employment Rates for Full-time Master s Program in Business Graduates. This is the employment rate for 2007 graduates of a full-time master s program in business. Those not seeking jobs or for whom no job-seeking information is available are excluded. If the proportions of graduates for whom no jobseeking information is available and who are not seeking jobs are high, then the information is not used in calculating the rankings. Employment rates at graduation (.07) and three months after graduation (.14) are used in the ranking model. Student Selectivity (weighted by.25) Mean GMAT Scores (.1625) This is the average Graduate Management Admission Test score of students entering the full-time program in the Fall of Scores on the test range from 200 to 800. Mean Undergraduate GPA (.075) This is the average undergraduate grade-point average of those students entering the full-time program in fall Acceptance Rate (.0125) This is the percent of applicants to the full-time program in the Fall of 2007 who were accepted. Overall Rank. Data were standardized about their means, and standardized scores were weighted, totaled, and rescaled so that the top school received 100; others received their percentage of the top score. In order to be ranked, a full-time MBA Program had to have 20 or more graduates who were seeking employment in For a school to have its employment data considered in the ranking model, at least 50 percent of its 2007 full-time MBA graduates needed to be seeking work. In the present research, websites of the top ten business schools were reviewed for evidence of core values, mission statements, and visions statements. TOP 10 GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOLS Score Name of School Location 100 Harvard University Boston, MA 100 Stanford University Stanford, CA 95 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) Philadelphia, PA 93 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Cambridge, MA 93 Northwestern University (Kellogg) Evanston, IL 93 University of Chicago (Booth) Chicago, IL 89 Dartmouth College (Tuck) Hanover, NH 89 University of California - Berkeley (Haas) Berkeley, CA 88 Columbia University New York, NY 84 New York University (Stern) New York, NY Source: Summarized from U.S. News and World 2008 Report VALUES

3 Blanchard and O Connor (1997) explain that one of the most essential steps in operating effectively by values is in communicating core values to customers and other organizational stakeholders. Balderston (1995) offers insight into values as they relate to colleges and universities. Balderston asserts that the stated values of a university are drawn from the surrounding society and from academic traditions. Balderston further explains that values condition important aspects of individuals behavior in the university community, stimulating them toward the hard effort of learning, and binding them together in subtle ways. In the current research, the presence of core values in the top ten schools of business, as evidenced through each of the business school websites, was difficult to discern. Only the top two business schools communicated clarity with regard to core values within the body of the website. The Harvard Business School (HBS) community values of mutual respect, honesty, integrity, and personal accountability are described as supporting the HBS learning environment and are at the heart of the school-wide aspiration to make HBS a model of the highest standards essential to responsible leadership in the modern business (HBS website, 2008). The website offers additional insight by explaining that the values are a set of guiding principles for all that they do wherever they are and with everyone they meet. The Stanford Graduate School of Business website (2008) also provides clarity in defining its core values. According to the website, their values are widely shared in the Stanford Graduate School of Business community and provide the context within which the School strives for excellence in achieving its goals. They are as follows: Believing in the power of ideas and intellect; Striving for excellence in that they do; Acting with integrity; Exhibiting compassion and respect for others; and Taking ownership of one s actions. Despite the fact that only two of the top 10 business schools offer clarity through the website in the area of core values, the information shared can serve as a solid guidepost for institutions seeking excellence and AACSB accreditation. First, each of the two schools stresses the importance of community within the discussion of values. Harvard explains that they have a community of values and Stanford emphasizes the fact that the values are widely shared in the community. Additionally, each of the two schools underscores the importance of integrity. Certainly integrity, like excellence, is a common value within the educational community and is often found as a core value of the overall institution. Yet, the focus of the present research is on the values as stated within the actual schools of business. Clarity was lacking with the exception of Harvard and Stanford schools of business website information. A final common thread within the two schools is that of personal accountability. Stanford highlights the importance of taking ownership of one s actions. Similarly, Harvard emphasizes personal accountability. These are outstanding best practices not only for schools seeking AACSB accreditation but for leaders and managers aiming toward greater organizational and personal effectiveness. MISSION Scott, et al (1993) explain that a mission is the core purpose for which an organization is created. They offer solid guidance for the development of a well structured mission statement detailing that it should be clear, short, and inspiring. Hesselbein et al (1996) assert that coordination around the mission generates a force that transforms the workplace into one in which workers and teams can express themselves in their work and find significance beyond the task. The same holds true for institutions of higher learning. As detailed in the table below, the top ten schools of business offer clarity of purpose. The common themes amongst the top schools include leadership and management education, a global focus, and innovation. Schools seeking AACSB accreditation should ensure that the mission of the business school is clearly communicated and easily located within the school s website. More importantly, to remain competitive, schools seeking enhanced effectiveness and AACSB accreditation should consider assessing the quality of their management and leadership curriculum and training to ensure that the focus is one that embraces an innovative, global focus while retaining those qualities unique to their institution.

4 SUMMARY OF MISSION STATEMENTS Name of School Harvard University Stanford University University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) Statement of Mission/Purpose We educate leaders who make a difference in the world. Our mission is to create ideas that deepen and advance our understanding of management and with those ideas to develop innovative, principled, and insightful leaders who change the world. Prepare business leaders to fuel the growth of industries and economies on a global scale. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) Our mission is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Northwestern University (Kellogg) University of Chicago (Booth) Dartmouth College (Tuck) University of California Berkeley (Hass) Columbia University New York University (Stern) Socially responsible global leaders Transform students into confident, effective, respected business leaders prepared o face the toughest challenges. To offer the world s best business leadership education and to have a faculty of thought leaders. Offers a superb management education to outstanding men and women from around the world. Pioneer active learning, entrepreneurial training and bridge research and practice. To deliver the highest quality management education to the brightest business students in a dynamic environment of mutual learning, teamwork and support. Source: 2009 Website information from schools listed above and as detailed in reference page of current paper. VISION In the review of the top 10 schools of business websites, surprisingly, there are is no finding of a statement of vision for any of the schools. Vision statements are seldom evident in college and university websites and absent completely from the top ten schools of business websites studied in the current paper. The importance of a vision statement is clear. Kouzes and Posner ((1995) explain that vision derives from a word literally meaning see. Additionally, vision is an image or picture of what could be. Scott, et al (1993) discuss visioning as a journey from the known to the unknown, which helps create the future from a montage of facts, hopes, dreams, dangers and opportunities. There is a clear link between values, mission, and vision. Visioning refers to the process of clarifying values, focusing a mission and stretching the horizon with vision (Scott, et al, 1993). This process, although taught in the country s most prestigious schools of business, is clearly missing from the websites of the top ten business schools. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Schools seeking AACSB accreditation can certainly learn from the image of leadership and excellence evidenced in the top schools of business statements of mission. However, Balderston (1995) explains that

5 a university benefits by cultivating good communication and positive organizational commitment. He further asserts that their absence bodes ill for administrative morale and productivity. Values are the principles, the standards, and the actions that people in an organization respect and consider inherently worthwhile (Scott et al, 1993). The vision is an image of a desired future. While the top ten schools of business offer clarity of mission, what is missing is evidence of core values and vision communicated with clarity and with ease of location. Further research is recommended with regard to regional and demographic characteristics of students and stakeholders to determine qualities unique to the top ten schools of business. Findings may ultimately serve as additional guideposts and best practices for schools of business seeking AACSB accreditation. REFERENCES AACSB International Website Balderston, F. E. Managing today s universities: Strategies for viability, change, and excellence San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Blanchard, K. & O Connor, M. (1997). Managing by values. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Columbia University website Dartmouth College (Tuck). Website Harvard University website Hesselbeign, F., Goldsmith, M., Beckhard, R. (1996). Leaders of the future. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (1995). The leadership challenge: How to keep getting extraordinary things done in organizations (2 nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) website New York University (Stern) website Northwestern University (Kellogg) website Scott, S., Jaffe, D., Tobe, G. (1993). Organizational vision, values, and mission: Building the organizations of tomorrow. Thomson Crisp Learning. Stanford University website University of California-Berkeley (Hass) website University of Chicago website University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) website U.S. News and World Report

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