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Keywords:

  • cultural circuit of capital;
  • geographies of knowledge;
  • knowing;
  • MBA degrees;
  • business schools;
  • geographies of economic practice

MBA programmes and the business schools that teach them have been identified by geographers and social scientists as central actors in the dissemination of economic and management theories into practice through concepts such as the cultural circuit of capital. However, the ways in which the exigencies of economic practice impact upon these actors within the cultural circuit of capital has received less attention. In response, this paper draws on research conducted into the teaching and learning of corporate valuation techniques in leading MBA programmes and their use in corporate finance practice in London to consider how the (re)production of economic theories in practice impacts upon the institutional and pedagogical strategies of leading business schools. I combine work in geography on the spatialities of economic knowledge with debates amongst management theorists surrounding the future of business schools to identify the importance of embodied expertise in the (re)production of financial theory in practice. These skills have a relatively ‘sticky’ geography, typically being best learnt in practice rather than in MBA classrooms. I argue that business schools are responding by rendering themselves materially and discursively ‘mobile’ at both the MBA curricula and institutional level, adopting a range of initiatives aimed at (re)positioning themselves closer to economic practice. In so doing, I develop conceptual understandings of the ‘circular’ nature of the cultural circuit of capital as well as calling for business schools, and the broader business education sector, to be a more central topic of geographical inquiry.