Research Process

MBA Research currently collects data from a variety of industry-based primary and secondary sources. We interview C-level business executives to obtain a “big picture” understanding of trends and issues facing each Business Administration Cluster. These panels, composed of representatives from each pathway in a cluster, also identify current job titles and examine a draft document of overarching standards to identify omissions or needed changes.

From that point, we begin to flesh out the standards through secondary business research, determining what students need to know and be able to do as a result of instruction. Examples of resources that we consult include:

  •  Industry certifications/exam content
  •  Job websites for job descriptions
  •  Q&A’s
  •  White papers
  •  Professional organizations’ training sessions
  •  Labor statistics
  •  Journals
  •  Articles
  •  Webinars
  •  LinkedIn industry groups

When we run into content that is confusing or needs clarification, we contact people currently employed in a cluster, or more specifically in a pathway, to invite them to discuss those topics over breakfast or lunch. As an example, we invited finance and accounting professionals to breakfast to help us clarify the responsibilities of accountants vs. people in corporate finance.

Once we have a draft standards document with their associated performance elements and indicators, we put together small-group discussions composed of pathway-specific professionals—6-10 knowledgeable, experienced business professionals who devote a day with us to review and react to the tentative listing of learning outcomes. They review the listing for accuracy, completeness, wording, etc. These small groups are repeated multiple times for each pathway in states across the country. The groups’ input is then used to develop a final listing of performance indicators that is released to educators.

Meanwhile, secondary research continues and modifications are made to the publicized lists. Changes are presented to business professionals for review either in new discussion groups or through an online forum known as the Executive Advisory Network (ExecNet). Every month, business professionals in each pathway are asked to identify the importance of several performance indicators. They also determine the job level at which a performance indicator is first needed in their organizations. This input is used to modify the listing of performance indicators and to determine the curriculum planning levels of the performance indicators.