A World of Opportunity

With this article, BizEd begins a tradition of providing a forum for the new chair of the Board of Directors of AACSB International to discuss issues of paramount importance to the association and to management education. The current challenge: focusing on global issues as the association expands its membership and exports its brand.
A World of Opportunity

The world of management education has never been more exciting, diverse, and full of possibilities than it is right now, partly because management education has taken the whole world as its stage. As new business schools take form, as international alliances between schools on separate continents become commonplace, and as cultural awareness becomes the watchword of every classroom, management education is flourishing as never before.

As the new AACSB International board chairman, I’m pleased to report that, like business schools, this organization has made globalization a cornerstone of its operations. In fact, it seems to me that the leadership and vision of AACSB have become key components in the growth and development of management education worldwide. We’re creating global standards of accreditation and exporting our brand to schools around the world. We’re broadening our perspectives and revising our U.S.-centric models of education. We’re creating ways for far-flung management educators to join together; and we’re sharing, capturing, and disseminating information that will strengthen the programs of all our members.

Two guiding statements will be among those driving our planning and execution of future initiatives:

  • AACSB International accreditation will stimulate continuous improvement in global management education and will assure quality management education to prospective students, employers, university administrators, and other stakeholders.
  • AACSB International will be recognized as the preeminent global brand in the development of management education provided by business schools, through distinctive value-added accreditation, related consulting, professional development, and information services.

Global Expansion

In the 1990s, AACSB International began its journey toward globalization. In this post-9/11 era, I believe that it is more important than ever that we accelerate our efforts to internationalize. Though we are early in the process, I have seen great strides in three key areas.

Staff and services: Our International Advisory Council has been ongoing since December 2000. More recently, we have established the Global Development Team, a working group of staff members who will facilitate global integration and coordination among AACSB staff, products, services, and activities.

Otis W. Baskin has been appointed as a special advisor to expand AACSB International’s global planning and accreditation efforts. Baskin, currently professor of management at the George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University, has an extensive background in international education. As a dean, he helped develop more than 20 strategic partnerships with business schools in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Our board of directors, major committees, and peer-review teams increasingly reflect our international membership. Since we have initiated worldwide peer review activities, more than 85 member institutions outside the U.S. have participated or are now participating. Our fastest-growing membership segment is from the international community. Our ranks now include 200 members from outside the U.S.

BizEd offers international coverage of the management education field and is distributed to members and stakeholders in more than 92 countries.

Accreditation: We conducted an accreditation training workshop earlier this year to enhance committee members’ understanding of different cultures and educational systems. We’ve accredited 30 member institutions in 13 countries outside the U.S. The interest in AACSB International accreditation continues to grow on all continents.

In addition, our early experiences with global accreditation have significantly affected the proposed revised standards and processes being developed by the Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality.

Events and organizations: We partnered to host the 1998 Global Forum in Chicago, and we were a partner in the 2002 Global Forum in Bangkok. AACSB leaders and members represented a major contingent of attendees. International educators also regularly attend AACSB events. For example, the 2002 Annual Meeting attracted more than 1,100 educators from 33 nations.

AACSB has recently announced an alliance with efmd to address critical issues facing our field. Among other goals, we plan to collaborate on data-gathering projects that will allow us to create shared databases and disseminate information about best practices. We also will co-sponsor conferences every two years.

AACSB also actively participates in the International Management Development Network (INTERMAN). Whenever possible, staff members and/or board representatives attend events sponsored by counterpart associations around the world.

The Japan Study Tour, sponsored by AACSB and the Keizai Koho Center, is now in its ninth year. We held a highly successful Accreditation Workshop in Paris that drew 114 participants from 29 countries. We will host a joint event on Strategic Alliances in Grenoble, France, in October. Additional international events are being planned.

AACSB International will continue to strengthen its leadership role in the advancement of management education—and as a forum for change and growth in this field.

Future Plans

Although I see these as indicators of success, I realize we still have much work to do. To ensure our future success in our efforts to become an international organization, I expect that we will:

  • Increase globalization of our staff, leadership, committee structure, task forces, and peer-review teams.
  • Present a highly successful conference and seminar program throughout the world.
  • Accredit business schools on every continent.
  • Successfully adapt our Knowledge Services program to the global marketplace.
  • Position AACSB International as a leader in promoting and sharing best practices and fresh ideas that support continuous improvement in global management education.
  • I am also focused on additional key initiatives that will help AACSB assert its leadership in management education:

  • The Management Education Task Force has completed its task of identifying the most pressing issues facing business schools and recommending responses. We’ve now assembled a Doctoral Faculty Commission to study the Ph.D. shortage and present a global faculty plan to the board. We’ve also instituted the New Issues Committee, a permanent committee to be led by the chair-elect, which will drive annual board planning and help set the agenda for the Annual Meeting.
  • The Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality will work closely with these new committees as it continues to revise accreditation standards and the process for maintaining accreditation. Several schools have undergone an experimental review process for reaccreditation; more will participate as the standards continue to be refined. The committee plans to present a draft of the standards to AACSB membership, and a vote will be held April 2003 at the Annual Meeting.

I am confident that, if we monitor and respond to issues in business schools worldwide, AACSB International will continue to strengthen its leadership role in the advancement of management education—and as a forum for change and growth in this field.