What is B-School?

Matthew F.

B-school is a shortened name for business school, an institution that offers university-level degrees in business administration. Though the term business school can mean different things in different areas and to different learning institutions, they have been known in general to be the top trainers of executives and entrepreneurs across the United States and the world. A business school can offer a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or various other levels of certification. Many B-schools also offer online business classes and degrees.

Some people who run entrepreneurial ventures have a graduate degree in business.
Some people who run entrepreneurial ventures have a graduate degree in business.

At a B-school you can take classes in many topics, including organizational behavior, marketing, human resource management, accounting, and finance. Many business schools utilize case studies for teaching. These case studies include descriptions and analyses of actual situation and can be as long as many dozen pages. The most prolific producer of these case studies, and one of the most renowned business schools in the world, is the Harvard Business School.

A B-school may offer a student the chance to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, or an associate’s degree.
A B-school may offer a student the chance to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, or an associate’s degree.

One variation of B-school is a business school as a department or college within a university. This type of business school is the most prevalent in the United States, and is offered at many large universities around the country. They teach mostly business classes and offer bachelor’s degrees and often master’s and doctorate degrees as well. Often, in the United States, the business school is considered to be the department or college entered after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business. These higher learning college offer strictly business classes and are certified to award master’s degrees.

Some high schools offer introductory B-school coursework to students.
Some high schools offer introductory B-school coursework to students.

Another type of business school common around the world, usually at much smaller locations than large universities, is the two-year business college. These colleges usually offer two-year associate’s degrees and a variety of online-only classes. They are often seen more as business ventures than institutions, but are accredited to certify associate’s degrees, and are often a stepping stone for further business education or for manager positions at various organizations.

The Harvard Business School is one of the most famous B-schools.
The Harvard Business School is one of the most famous B-schools.

In 1759, the first specialized institution for business and commerce, the first B-school in the world, was The Aula de Comercio in Lisbon. The first business college within a larger university was opened in 1881 with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The first PhD program was offered in business in 1898 at the University of Chicago. In 1957, INSEAD in Paris became the first European school to offer an MBA, and in 1992 the Thunderbird School of Management became the first B-school to open campus locations on three different continents.

An individual can obtain a Master of Business Administration degree by attending business school.
An individual can obtain a Master of Business Administration degree by attending business school.

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Discussion Comments


@saraq90 - I don’t think so, I have never heard of such but your question made me wonder the undergraduate business degree are now considered prep for a future MBA as opposed to a stand alone degree now. Meaning that in the future rather than being able to acquire a business job with a business degree, you will need to have a MBA to get the same job.

I am thinking along the lines of other degrees that were once stand alone degrees but now literally require the advanced degree to have a job in the field. One field that had this happen that I know of is speech pathology and audiology.

Before to become a speech pathologist you needed an undergraduate degree, now you need a Masters degree. For audiologist I am not sure what you needed before this, but in 2007 regulations changed and students are now required to get a Doctorate of Audiology.

Just a thought, maybe it is a completely different thing, because speech pathology and audiology are more medical based…


I have heard of people going to prep schools which is just short for preparatory schools, and with business school being a popular choice for many of the graduates of prep schools, are there now prep schools designed just for preparing students for B-school?


My brother went to B-school after getting his degree in accounting and working in the accounting department of a large business. He felt that getting his business degree would help him advance. I am pretty sure that he got a MBA rather than a second undergraduate degree.

I can happily say that it did help, and I think he now makes thirty percent more than what he made at his accounting job, while still having good job satisfaction.

I think most importantly for what he wanted out of a career is that he sees even further room for advancement because of his degree.

One of the things I know he loved about B-school is that because many people who are getting their MBA are people who already have a career going, the programs are geared toward people who are already working.

This means they have night classes and more flexible classes such as online classes. He by no means said it was easy (especially considering him and his wife already had 2 boys at the time), but it was doable because of the way the classes were set up.


@popcorn- I didn't personally do this, but I have some friends who are completing or just completed B-School through internet institutions. When they apply for jobs now, I think it gives them a leg up over no business training, but I'm not sure beyond that.

One friend is getting more interviews and temping but still doesn't have a permanent job. He says employers know it's not the best school option, but if they think you have other skills it can help. That may just be where I live, though.


Does anyone have any experience with attending a B-school online? Did you find that the courses were relevant enough that you were really able to improve your job prospects?

I am considering getting a online certificate in business administration because my work keeps me too busy to return to school full-time. I like the flexibility of what the online courses offer, but worry they won't be as respected as a traditional business college would be.

I like the job I have now but really feel that I would be a better fit somewhere else. I just want to improve my academic credentials before making the plunge into the job market.


For those of you that are considering a MBA I would check out the B-school rankings that are published in numerous places just before the school year starts up. There is a huge difference in quality from business school to business school, and you also need to find a school that specialized in an area of business that you prefer.

One good example of this is dealing with business for specific ethnic groups, or in certain demographics. A good business school will offer very specialized courses so that you can make the most out of your experience and be able to really apply what you learn.


I think a B-school is a great option for students interested in pursuing a business degree. One of the biggest advantages to this type of program is that most of your classes are specifically geared towards business.

There are always some of the general electives that every student must complete to graduate, but they have a much greater emphasis on business courses than an average college or university.

Many of them now offer online classes which makes it even easier for someone to complete their education. My son works full time and takes a couple of online classes each semester at a B-school.

He already works in a business job, but this is a convenient way for him to complete his business degree and still be able to work full time.


There is a local B-school in our city that has been around for a long time. I remember my grandmother taking business classes there many years ago.

It has a very good reputation in our community and is known for their hands on learning. They also have a great placement program as they have a lot of connections with many of our local employers.

For many years they offered two year associate degree programs in business. During this time they also had a partnership program with a four year university if someone wanted to continue on with a bachelors degree.

Now they offer their own four year degree, so a student can complete a bachelors degree program entirely through this B-school.

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