Business schools - History of Business in the U.S.
Definition: Schools that are designed to teach people the skills and knowledge to be successful in business
Significance: The establishment of business schools changed the way many businesspeople were educated. Instead of entering apprenticeships, people attended schools where they followed a course of study designed to teach them business.
Before the mid-nineteenth century, an apprenticeship was required to learn to be a businessperson. The apprentice would begin as an office boy and work his way up in an organization. These apprenticeships were usually poorly paid and occasionally unpaid positions. During the 1830’s, private proprietary business schools began operating in major cities to provide, in a few months, the training that it might take an apprentice several years to learn. B. F. Foster, who had written books on accounting, started a commercial school in Boston in 1834 and then in 1837 moved to New York, where he started Foster’s Commercial Academy. Other authors of business books soon followed, starting schools in other eastern cities. Such schools were common by the start of the U.S. Civil War. Traditional colleges were reluctant to offer business courses, so the proprietary schools had a monopoly on the subject. The most successful of the proprietary schools were those owned by H. B. Bryant, H. G. Stratton, and Silas Packard. By the 1870’s, these names were almost synonymous with business education. In fact, companies competed to hire “Packard boys” and eventually “Packard girls,” because graduates of these schools, branches of which existed in many cities, were known to be well trained.
- The American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business, 1916-1966. Homewood, Ill.: Richard D. Irwin, 1966. This history covers most changes in business education during the early twentieth century.
- Flesher, Dale L. The History of Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. Tampa, Fla.: AACSB International, 2007. This volume covers the history of business schools and their relationship to the accreditation agency during the period from 1916 to 2006.
- Pierson, Frank C. The Education of American Businessmen: A Study of University-College Programs in Business Administration. NewYork: McGraw-Hill, 1959. This book of more than seven hundred pages summarizes the findings of a survey, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation, of business education during the late 1950’s.
- Porter, LymanW., and Lawrence E. McKibbin. Management Education and Development: Drift or Thrust into the Twenty-first Century? New York: McGraw- Hill Book Company, 1988. Excellent overview of business education during the late 1980’s.
- Previts, Gary J., and Barbara Dubis Merino.AHistory of Accountancy in the United States. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998. Includes a history of nineteenth century accounting education.