English language development, Higher education, MBA programs, Schools of business, Graduate business programs, International students


Business is the top field of study for international students in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Yet, evidence suggests that not all international students who speak English as a second language are adequately equipped with the language skills they need to succeed. At the same time, the number of international students seeking business training in English-medium universities continues to rise. Thus, this study sought to fill an increasingly important gap in the literature by examining the strategies, innovations, challenges, and outcomes for U.S. schools of business who admit large concentrations of international ESL students at the graduate level. Using qualitative research methods, interviews were conducted with deans of business schools who enrolled the greatest percentages of international students. Good, better, and best practices were identified for a variety of areas, such as screening and admission criteria and processes, curricular elements for developing language skills, the assessment and tracking of outcomes, and follow-up and evaluation of student preparation after graduation. A variety of implications of these findings are discussed and should greatly interest business schools seeking to more effectively facilitate the success of their growing number of international ESL students.

Original Publication Citation

Andrade, M., Hartshorn, K. J., Evans, N., & Davis, S. (2018). Good, better, best: English language development practices in graduate business programs. The International Journal of Management Education,17,36-46.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Elsevier Ltd







University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Included in

Linguistics Commons