Over the last decade, many previously successful business organizations have failed and been accused of implementing poor business practices. The media, other business professionals, and the government criticized the capabilities of senior leaders, many who obtained a Masters of Business Administration degree. While they have existed for over one hundred years, graduate business schools that deliver this degree have grown in popularity the last few decades and are a main source of where today's business leaders originate. Originally seen as a degree that prepares individuals for the practice of business management, then being judged as too vocational, these institutions have evolved to become more research-oriented. This dissertation focuses on how top graduate business schools deliver leadership development and therefore, prepare individuals to lead in organizations. While there is an abundance of research on leadership, and some on leadership development, there exists little research on the topic of leadership development at the graduate business school level. This research utilizes is a collective case study approach to tell the story of leadership development programs at three of the top graduate business school programs in the United States. To provide a definition of leadership development and to provide a structure to determine if it in fact exists, a model of leadership development created by David Day was applied. Also, to better understand if this leadership development programming is working, the Higher Education Research Institute's Social Change Model was utilized to gauge the existence of leadership outcomes. This research represents a combination of 19 in-depth interviews, internal school documents provided specifically for this study, and a review of publically available documents and websites.
Adviser: Laurence Moneta. Thesis (Ed.D. in Education) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2011. Includes bibliographical references.