Fast Company

Download Your Way to an MBA

It doesn't cost $40,000. It doesn't take two years. And you're never late to class.

In the past six months, the number of business schools that have posted sites on the World Wide Web has grown from 30 to more than 200. Some are remarkably lame; some are so good they start to change how you think of the school.

For businesspeople who are trying to get a handle on a specific problem, the Web can be a superb resource. Luke Froeb, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, says you can save your company $500 an hour in consulting fees by following his links to online antitrust laws. Concerned that your merger won't clear Section 7 of the Clayton Act? Froeb's home page on antitrust policy gives you a link to the relevant guidelines.

Scanning B-school Web sites also lets you comparison shop for an education.

Whether you're a student or a professional, online research material can help you increase your intellectual capital. So grab your keyboard. We'll help you surf past the flotsam and catch the wave to the best B-school Web sites.

The Top 10: The Good, The Bad, & The Truly Lame

Sloan school of Management. Wharton. Stanford. Harvard. They are the nation's top business schools, says U.S. News & World Report. But how do they rate in cyberspace?

We invited Wayne Marr, a finance professor who posted the first comprehensive guide to business school Web pages, to grade the Top 10. He rates business school Web sites by whether or not they include seven items: electronic admission or request forms; student home pages; faculty home pages; faculty research papers; teaching home pages; alumni or job home pages; and at least one source of excellent external links.

Send suggestions to wayne_marr@socsci.com. A caveat: some Web pages are under construction and could have improved considerably by the time you read this.

  1. MIT Sloan School of Management

    Real or virtual, Sloan is number one among its peers. Its Web server includes faculty home pages with links to outside publications and databases. The Working Paper Index features a full ASCII text listing of faculty research papers and allows you to order them in a printed format.
    We like Sloan Guide: Social Life, where we found the women posting tips on how to pick up men at Sloan: "You will quickly see that the supply, when considering value-added, may not be as abundant as expected. Actually, the high-quality products are quite scarce, with offers available for a limited time only."

    Coordinates: Sloan School of Management, http://web.mit.edu/sloan/www

  2. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
    Log onto Wharton's Web server and you'll find faculty resume's with no additional links to research papers or other resource material. Wharton's Web server is basically an online catalog with little interactive material.
    Coordinates: The Wharton School, http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/
  3. Stanford University Graduate School of Business
    There's a lot of flash here. You can download a video titled "It Is a Powerhouse," in which Dean Michael A. Spence describes what makes the Stanford GSB "so unique." There's also the VIRTUAL Reporter, an online newspaper published independently by graduate students. The star faculty home page clearly belongs to Finance Professor William F. Sharpe, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in economics. Sharpe is using his home page to write an electronic work in progress titled Macro-investment Analysis. The book, writes Sharpe in the introduction, "should help investors utilize and evaluate the services of a [financial] analyst."
    In other areas, Stanford fizzles. The Web site lacks links to outside resources; while there are dozens of resumes in the Faculty Directory, only a few professors have home pages.
    Coordinates: Stanford GSB, http://gsb-www.stanford.edu/home.html
  4. Harvard Business School
    The home page for the MBA admissions catalog is under construction, but a listing of course outlines is an excellent resource for comparing HBS with other schools. Electronic versions of course offerings present far greater detail than the printed page. We linked to Professor Alvin Silk's outline for his course, Brand Marketing. It includes case listings, texts, references, and detailed class assignments. The printed version of this one outline amounts to 14 single-spaced pages.
    HBS gets a bonus for The Harvard Business School Publishing home page, which posts a list of publications, abstracts, books, and videos that are referenced in HBS course outlines.
    Coordinates: Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.harvard.edu/
  5. J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University
    Kellogg's Web site has informative links for prospective and current students, corporate recruiters and alumni. You can find lengthy course descriptions as well as bios for faculty members. The school's alumni magazine also has a glitzy online version. The site was selected by Wired magazine as the best business school site in the U.S. in 1997, http://www.kellogg.nwu.edu
  6. Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
    Tuck is specializing in links to a wide array of career resources, including the Yahoo Employment Services Index, Andersen Consulting, the Interactive Employment Network, and the International Business Information Center. The networking is paying off: Tuck's Career Services home page reports that nearly 40% of the class of 1995 went into consulting, where they're pulling down annual salaries ranging from $64,000 to $185,000. Aside from the careers page, Tuck offers little more than an online catalog. There are no student pages, faculty pages, faculty working papers, or teaching pages.
    Coordinates: Tuck School of Business, http://www.dartmouth.edu
  7. University of Chicago Graduate School of Business
    Several faculty home pages are under construction; most contain only resumes, few have links to other resources. For a school that's turned out four Nobel Prize winners, Chicago GSB lags behind the Sloan and HBS Webs.
    Coordinates University of Chicago GSB, http://www-gsb.uchicago.edu/
  8. Fuqua School of Business at Duke University
    No web, not even a gopher site. What's the frequency, Fuqua?
  9. Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia
    Darden's web site gets points for including faculty home pages, but only two professors are listed. The school strikes out on all the other criteria.
    Coordinates: Darden Graduate School of Business, http://www.darden.virginia.edu/
  10. Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley
    Haas's students are ahead of the faculty. Browse their link to the NASDAQ Financial Executive Journal, an electronic version of a quarterly sent to NASDAQ CFOs. You can also link to the EDGAR Archives, a database of SEC-required filings by publicly traded companies.
    Overall, though, Haas hasn't done much with its Web since it first appeared. Case in point: you must buy the software to access Haas's electronic admissions form.
    Coordinates: Haas School of Business, http://haas.berkeley.edu/
    Ann Harrison (annie@virtumall.com) is a freelance writer and consultant on building web sites.

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