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New Study Finds Measurable Return-On-Investment of Academic Research on B-School Performance

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In publishing the first empirical evidence measuring the value of academic research on business school performance, NYU Stern Marketing Professor Peter Golder, with Debanjan Mitra of the University of Florida, use data to challenge the widely publicized 2005 Harvard Business Review opinion-based attack by Bennis and O'Toole on business schools for becoming too focused on research at students' expense. Golder and Mitra's research appears in the September 2008 issue of The Journal of Marketing.

Based on data of 57 business schools over 18 years, the professors evaluated the impact of academic research on multiple measures of business school performance and found:

  • Academic research has positive, long-term effects on the perception of business schools by recruiters, applicants and other academics, of which 90% are realized in just 3-6 years
  • When a business school has a persistent increase of three single-authored articles per year, its student acceptance rate (selectivity) declines 1%, its graduates' average starting salary increases by more than $750, and its ranking by peer academics moves up one spot
  • The salary effect is about 25% larger for business schools in the most academically reputable universities
 "The most surprising result from this study was that more academic research actually leads to higher student salaries, a finding that directly counters Bennis & O'Toole's opinion that students, more than any other constituency, are most shortchanged by business schools' focus on academic research," said Golder. "Academic research builds reputation in tangible and intangible ways, and we now have the evidence to support the case."

Visit The Journal of Marketing online for Golder and Mitra's paper.