10 on 10

Ten deans take a look back at trends that shaped management education over the last ten years and offer their visions for the industry in the years to come.
10 on 10

That was one of the questions we wanted to answer with the premiere issue of BizEd back in November 2001. In the article “The Challenge of Change,” we noted that deans were worried about finding and retaining faculty, effectively implementing technology, globalizing their programs, and keeping up with the needs of a changing international business environment.

We had a pretty good hunch that some of those concerns would be the same ones facing business schools ten years later. But to find out how those issues have evolved, or how they have been replaced by new ones, we approached ten individuals who have been deans ten years or longer and asked for their thoughts on key aspects of management education. Their wide-ranging essays consider what has occurred—and what has yet to be implemented—in areas as familiar as globalization and technology, and as crucial as accreditation and program design. They take a look at how women have fared in the upper echelons of management education, how schools have served minority students, and how business programs have dealt with issues of ethics, honor, and social responsibility.

Some of these deans also muse on what the next ten years might hold, and how change will mark the next decade as indelibly as it did the last. But there’s one thing they all agree on: The key to the future of management education is understanding its past.

Business Schools: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

by Judy Olian

Almost ten years ago, I chaired an AACSB task force examining serious concerns about the future of business schools. The result was a hard-hitting report, “Business Schools at Risk,” which identified several major threats to management education, including the PhD shortage, the irrelevance of the curriculum, and the increased competition from non-accredited institutions. A decade later, I see reason for tempered cheer.

At the time, there was a growing shortage of academically qualified faculty. On the face of it, that problem appears to have been eased. In 2001, a total of 1,180 U.S.-trained PhDs graduated in business and management. By 2008, that number had risen to 2,084. In addition, AACSB’s Post-Doctoral Bridge Program for academics has helped transition 176 PhDs from other field into business.

Still, the growth rate of U.S. PhD graduates from 1970 to 2008 is less than half that of MBA graduates—236 percent for PhDs versus 622 percent for MBAs. There has been explosive growth in business schools globally, so even though we’ve been pumping the PhD pipeline, demand still exceeds supply. As a result, leading business schools worldwide compete fiercely over the same tiny pool of graduates, resulting in steep salary escalation.

Because of supply shortages and cost pressures, there is an increasing number of business faculty who are professionally, rather than academically, qualified. In 2002, 22 percent of faculty at AACSB-accredited institutions were professionally qualified, compared to 31percent in 2010. AACSB also has helped alleviate faculty shortages through its Bridge Program targeted to professionals, training 267 senior-level business practitioners to become business faculty. While some traditionally trained faculty might grumble about this trend, it’s likely to continue.

The increase in PQ faculty addresses another concern: the relevance of the business school curriculum. In response to that criticism, schools have not only hired more practitioners as faculty, but also introduced creative curricula and pedagogical innovations that are more market-focused, career-oriented, technologically supported, and globally immersive. And yet, schools continue to teach in silos, despite tight linkages among business functions. To align our programs better with business, we will need to challenge entrenched traditions related to faculty department structures and teaching traditions, or else our students will be ill-prepared for the needs of the market.

Looking ahead, I see important societal issues that need our voices and ideas. We must do more to infuse business thinking into the big issues of the day—education, poverty, healthcare, innovation, sustainable business, and the productive intersection of business and government. These issues require the voice and thought leadership of our faculty, but with few exceptions, we have been absent from these conversations. We won’t have that voice until we engage meaningfully and creatively with other disciplines on our campuses and beyond, in ways that mirror the complexity of these societal challenges.

There is no doubt that management education is even more fragmented than it was a decade ago, with more types of educational providers (nonprofit and profit, accredited and nonaccredited, university and corporate), more campuses (single and multiple, within and across countries, physical and virtual), and more diversity (one-, two-, and three-year MBAs, for instance). As an example, U.S. private for-profit institutions grew from 3.5 percent of the educational market in 2000 to 11.8 percent in 2009. That fragmentation is sure to continue.

One could argue that such fragmentation is good for the consumer, since there is an offering for every need. However, for traditional business schools, the competition has intensified, requiring us to be more convincing about the value and distinctiveness of our programs. The cost of business education is escalating, and many schools are no longer accessible or affordable. At the same time, high-flying tech entrepreneurs question whether business education is necessary for successful business careers, and the economic crisis damaged confidence in graduates’ job prospects.

As critics of business education become more vocal, they challenge us to deliver clearer answers to prospective students, as well as to those who support our enterprise, about the virtuousness of a business education. They insist that we demonstrate how business schools shape leadership values, determine career success, and advance communities around the world.

Virtuousness as a standard for business education? Absolutely. Business schools must focus on producing principled, skilled leaders for all forms of organizations. To achieve that calling, schools must exploit every tool available to bridge the global educational and digital divide, and to increase the accessibility of business education to all groups—economically privileged or not. For example, Africa has only 771 business schools compared to 3,850 in the Americas and 6,494 in Asia. Mobile communications have revolutionized the reach of our programs, so that we now can rise above the social, political, and infrastructure barriers that exist in underdeveloped regions, to deliver business education and advance ideas that will elevate the well-being of global communities.

As I noted earlier, business schools have accomplished significant change, and they have the potential to achieve much more. If I were writing a report today on the future of business schools, I’d title it “Realizing the Promise of Business Schools for the World: Still Much to Accomplish.” 

Questions of Courage, Not Ethics

by Paul Danos

In light of the financial crisis, the big question for business schools is not, “How do we teach ethics?” It’s actually, “How do we better prepare leaders to meet their responsibilities?”

The press is replete with commentary blaming this crisis on a lapse of ethical standards among business leaders and regulators. But I do not believe that ethical lapses, as normally defined, were the main cause of this crisis. It was sparked by the actions of several key individuals who did not fulfill and/or fully understand the responsibilities implicit in their positions.

For that reason, business schools must teach future leaders what it means to be fully responsible for the duties required of their positions. We must help them acquire the knowledge they need to make appropriate decisions, gather the courage to express their independent viewpoints, and develop the awareness to act ethically in the process. By doing so, we will do more to remedy poor business practices than we would by focusing on ethics alone.

Who was ultimately responsible for ensuring a well-functioning banking system? How well did these individuals fulfill their responsibilities?

The answer to the first question is that top bank regulators at the U.S. Federal Reserve had the duty and power to ensure a safe and orderly banking system. The answer to the second is, “Not well.” Even so, it is far too easy and incomplete to conclude that top bank regulators were unethical. While regulators fell short on fulfilling their responsibilities, I see no evidence of widespread ethics violations. Given the fits and starts they exhibited in finding solutions, they seemed to simply lack the requisite knowledge or courage for their positions. They failed to analyze and assess systemic risk, and they relied far too much on “free markets” to regulate banks effectively, as Alan Greenspan himself admitted.

Now let us turn to the individual banks and their leaders, the main targets for charges of greed and ethics violations. Who was ultimately responsible for safeguarding the banks, and how well did they fulfill their responsibilities?

Bank directors and CEOs had the duty and power to avert a crisis at their banks. They should have had the knowledge to safeguard their institutions, but many did not fulfill their responsibilities. They did not look broadly or deeply enough at risks to see the full consequences of extreme leverage, complex financial instruments, and counterparty reliance. Few if any displayed the courage to own up to ignorance in the face of complexity. They also seemed to go along with perverse compensation schemes that led others to ignore systemic risks.

In the previous examples, the parties had the power to avert disaster, but they likely lacked the knowledge their positions required, or even a thorough appreciation of the duties they had assumed. Most important, they seemed to lack the courage to speak up when necessary. For that reason, I conclude that business schools should go far beyond what is considered traditional ethics coverage as they prepare future leaders.

The Tuck School of Business, like many other business schools, will continue to offer courses that delve into the ambiguity and complexity of ethical dilemmas and into the murky personal motivations that often accompany them. We do so in the belief that raising student awareness of these situations is a necessary starting point to encourage responsible behavior. But traditional ethics coverage is not enough. The truth is that this crisis could have happened even if all parties had acted according to high ethical standards.

Therefore, in addition to teaching conventional business ethics, we must ask:

  • Are we giving students the tools to grapple with an increasingly complex world?
  • Do we help them fully understand the duties and responsibilities attached to the leadership positions they will someday hold?
  • Do we teach them to appreciate the courage it takes for a leader to admit ignorance?
  • Do we train them to dig deep into issues and keep their minds open and skeptical?
  • Do we prepare them to keep learning for a lifetime?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, we must modify our programs and address each shortcoming in the months and years to come. As we observe the leadership deficiencies that lie at the root of the financial crises, it’s vital that we teach our students the true responsibilities of leadership and expand our definition of ethics beyond its conventional bounds.

 

Where Is IT Taking Us?

by Joyce Elam

Information technology has transformed how professors teach and how students learn. But now that technology is so ingrained in our classrooms, it can be easy to forget how fast things have changed—and how much technology still challenges us to rethink how we teach.

One of my first glimpses of what could be achieved with technology came in 2001, with the launch of Wikipedia. At the time, I wondered at the possibilities of an open-platform encyclopedia created entirely by volunteers, but I could not have predicted that Wikipedia would become one of the most visited information resources on the Web.

Our world changed even more in 2004, when Google went public. Who would have known that by 2006, “Google” would be a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary? Or that today, Google would process more than 1 billion search requests daily in 40 different languages?

In 2001, we used mobile phones primarily to make phone calls. I could not have imagined that within ten years, we would use them to text, surf the Internet, and access mobile applications far more than we would use them for voice communication. Here’s another measure of change: Six months after Apple launched the App Store for the iPhone in mid-2008, the store offered more than 10,000 applications. Today, the App Store has more than 425,000 applications and this year recorded its 10 billionth download.

In the mid-2000s, as bandwidth increased and Web browsers evolved, we saw the emergence of Web 2.0. Users began blogging on sites such as WordPress and EduBlogs, networking on Facebook, sharing videos on YouTube and photos on Flicker, and sending 140-character tweets through Twitter.

Over time, the educational value of every one of these tools has been questioned. And every one of them—Google, Wikipedia, smart-phones, and social media—eventually has been adapted in some way for educational use.

Perhaps no innovation has been adopted more rapidly in higher education than learning management systems (LMS), which have advanced significantly since the early 2000s. They now integrate social media and third-party technologies to enable students to collaborate and access resources outside of the classroom, often through their smartphones and tablet devices. Beginning this year, our EMBA students at Florida International University will use their iPads to access our LMS and most of their course material. I expect all of our students will be able to do so within the next few years.

These changes have driven growth in online programs. In 2001, FIU delivered less than 5 percent of undergraduate courses exclusively online; today, that number is close to 40 percent. In 2009, we launched an online MBA program; today enrollment in that program exceeds that of all of our face-to-face MBA programs. Online enrollments across higher education have been growing substantially faster than traditional enrollments.

As we enter the next decade, several new technologies promise to further transform education:

  • Augmented reality, which combines real-world elements with computer-generated data.
  • Game-based learning, or “serious games,” which place students in competitive gaming environments tailored to teach concepts and develop skills.
  • Gesture-based computing that tracks body movements, allowing users to physically manipulate data and 3D images.
  • Learning analytics, software that we can use to collect data to help us understand how students learn best.
  • Interactive digital texts that go beyond digitally reproducing printed text to integrating live links and social interactions.

While we might not be able to predict exactly how emerging technologies will change education in the next decade, we can be sure that students will expect to be able to learn and study whenever and wherever they want. They’ll expect our curricula to deliver learning experiences that are engaging, collaborative, accessible via mobile devices, and integrated with the world beyond the classroom. And they’ll continue to enroll in online programs at accelerated rates.

That means that as educators, we will have to embrace online delivery of our programs. And we’ll be forced to redesign the traditional face-to-face classroom environment to provide depth, flexibility, and dynamic new learning experiences. 

As each new technology has arrived, many educators, like me, might not have realized exactly where we were headed. But now we know both what these tools make possible and how students want to learn. So, perhaps the question for today is not “Where is technology taking us?,” but “Where will we take technology?” In the next ten years and beyond, our goal will be to design educational experiences that are more interactive and powerful than those that came before.

Measures of Progress

By Barron H. Harvey

In the past decade, business schools at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have dealt with the same concerns confronting most other schools: a shortage of academically qualified faculty; limited resources; a curriculum that must constantly adapt to the evolving business environment; the demands of rapidly changing technology; and the pressing need to increase partnerships and alliances.

But HBCUs also have faced challenges related to their own historic mission: educating minority students to become valuable members of the business community. To measure the progress of these institutions, it helps to look back much farther than ten years. The first HBCU was established in1837, and the first HBCU started offering business and management classes in 1870. But it wasn’t until 1945 that Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University, became the first one to establish an MBA program—37 years after Harvard offered the first MBA in 1908.

Today, there are 105 HBCUs throughout the U.S., and 54 of them have business schools. For all of us the goal remains the same: enroll and graduate more minority students. Fortunately, we’ve seen a rise of organizations and activities designed to strengthen our enrollments and bring more minorities to the discipline. We can measure our progress through their achievements:

The influence of the PhD Project. Established by the KPMG Foundation in 1994, the PhD Project has had tremendous impact in the past ten years, helping more than 300 minority faculty members achieve doctoral degrees. Today, in part because of the PhD Project’s encouragement, more than 400 minority students are pursuing PhDs in business.

The founding of the National HBCU Business Deans’ Round-table. In 2001, the Roundtable was created with the mission of enhancing the effectiveness of HBCU business programs and increasing the competitiveness of their graduates.

In 2003, the organization held its first National Summit in St. Louis Missouri, and representatives of 54 business programs attended. The four-day event included sessions on curriculum development, leadership, fund raising, partnerships, student and faculty recruitment, and accreditation. In 2012, the organization will present its 10th summit in Washington, D.C. The Round-table also hosts an annual research forum, as well as a teaching conference, designed to improve faculty resources at member schools.

The pursuit of accreditation. Accreditation is a hallmark of quality education, and today the majority of HBCU schools of business have attained it. The first HBCU business school to achieve AACSB accreditation was Texas Southern University in Houston in 1968. In 2001, there were 15 HBCUs with AACSB accreditation; in 2011, there are 22. Three—Howard University, Morgan State University, and North Carolina State A&T University—have also earned separate accounting accreditation. 

The growth in graduate programs. During the past 11 years, more HBCUs have added masters’ programs to their offerings, and two now award PhDs. Jackson State University’s doctoral program began in 2000 and Morgan State University’s in 2001, and together they have produced 57 PhDs in business.

Institutional and individual excellence. During the past decade, the U.S. News & World Report launched its annual HBCU ranking guide, and a number of these schools have landed in Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” Survey. Faculty have won regional and national teaching awards, as well as Fulbright scholarships, and student teams from HBCUs have placed in national competitions. Faculty and deans serve on national and international committees for professional organizations. Many graduates from HBCU programs hold high-ranking positions in Fortune 500 companies and the public sector; others have become successful entrepreneurs.

In short, over the past decade, HBCUs have participated in the world of management education in diverse, vibrant, and exciting ways. And they keep getting better. More important, these schools are thriving examples of the value of a diverse faculty. Their graduates are living testaments of what minority students can achieve.

In the next ten years, all business schools will face challenges similar to those they’ve seen in the past ten—faculty shortages, revenue shortfalls, and the fast pace of technological change. At the same time, we’ll all need to expand our graduate programs to include more online and nondegree programs and focus more broadly on globalization through our partnerships and curricula. But HBCUs must also work with their partner organizations and schools to continue their unique mission—educating high-quality minority students prepared to make contributions to the world of business and the global society.

The future for HBCU business programs looks bright. Business programs continue to be popular among minority students. New doctorally qualified faculty are eager to return to HBCU campuses to make a difference and add to the legacy of their alma maters. And more HBCUs are partnering with Fortune 500 companies to place outstanding management talent in influential positions. The next ten years could be the best ones yet for HBCUs.

The New Learning Paradigm

By Thierry Grange

Over the past decade, attendees at many industry seminars and conferences have debated what radical changes might be in store for education and how these would impact business schools. But the events that ultimately had the most profound effect on business schools came from outside academia: the financial crises of 200 and 2008, the scandals surrounding prominent CEOs, and the technological advances in knowledge dissemination.

As business educators, we know as well as anyone how difficult it is to predict the factors that will shape our programs in the coming years. Even so, I believe there are three that will have the most far-reaching effects in the next decade:

The impact of technology on learning. Ten years ago, many people feared that the Internet was a serious threat to business schools because it would give online universities an edge in competing with traditional schools. But that threat has failed to materialize. Instead, most schools have learned to compete with these providers by developing their own blended programs that combine face-to-face and e-learning approaches.

But the advent of the Internet has brought about dramatic changes in the way students learn, professors teach, and books are used in the classroom. Almost all students, from undergraduates to executives, are comfortable using their computers to acquire new knowledge, whether in virtual classrooms or in peer-to-peer exchanges. Many faculty members use digital portals to conduct online discussion forums or upload video lectures so they can reserve class time for more interactive learning experiences. The availability of e-books allows teachers to use samples from a dozen textbooks without overtaxing student budgets.

The widespread acceptance of online education has fundamentally transformed our perception of what knowledge is and how it should be acquired. It has changed the psychology of learning. New learners want an education so focused that it’s almost vocational. They want to learn by doing, or at least by experimenting in parallel with their reading and lectures. To accommodate them, schools will need to institute major changes at the faculty level, the curriculum design level, and the classroom teaching level. Schools may need a long period of anticipation to install these new learning principles, but they need to understand them now.

The economic model of the West. In Western economies, many businesses are shifting away from traditional methods of building wealth, which relied on good leadership and strong product, to more “virtual” models that often rely on nothing more than good press and an IPO. In the process, we’ve lost even a minimal consensus regarding what is ethical in business—and we’ve lost a sense of purpose in business education.

In fact, business education today has become both a commodity that we “sell” to our students and a luxury product that we offer to the elite. As we try to maintain that elite image, we design portfolios of management programs that seem more and more sophisticated. But are they necessarily better? I argue that without a shared view of integrity and ethics, we cannot achieve real learning in our class-rooms. Without a shared view of the purpose of business, we cannot train leaders whose contributions will lead to a better world.

The changing value proposition of business education. Already, schools have begun to craft different value propositions to appeal to different audiences, but I expect this practice to become more common in the next decade. At the same time, business schools are seeing more potential students access business knowledge through other venues—through schools of engineering, economics, or political science, or through “institutionless” online learning portals. 

To stay competitive, business schools will have to review their positions and their own contributions to business education. They will have to design value propositions that appeal to more diverse applicants with more diverse origins. They will have to be more innovative, particularly in two areas: internationalizing the curriculum and conducting executive education programs.

Making their programs more international will require schools to integrate the rest of the world’s reality into their curricula. They will need to send their students out of the classroom for experiential learning so these students can go from “fingers on” (the keyboard) to “hands on” (the real world).

Improving their executive education offerings will help schools connect more deeply with the real world. Exec ed faculty not only teach business subjects to top-level managers, they also learn about current business practices from these participants, who share information about challenges and solutions at their own companies. Faculty can then share these insights with the rest of the business school, incorporate them into their own lectures, and strengthen their entire programs.

In summary, during the next ten years, business schools must compete for students even as they deal with major changes affecting our industry. They must embrace the realities of the digital age. They must take up the ongoing challenge of establishing business ethics. And they must design innovative new value propositions that allow them to educate students to build a better world. 

The Dean’s Global Journey

By Howard Thomas

The Financial Times recently identified me as the “most serial” of serial deans, based on the fact that I have held deanships on three continents: in the U.S., at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; in Europe, at the Warwick Business School; and in Asia, at Singapore Management University.

These experiences have convinced me that global management education needs to be delivered in the context of local history, politics, and culture—in a way that is “culture-full” rather than “culture-free.” But it’s not easy to develop a leadership style that works in a variety of “culture-full” international settings. For me, three components have been essential: cultivating contextual intelligence, practicing active listening and learning, and taking time for reflection. I want to elaborate o each one, as I think they all will be critical for any dean attempting to lead an international business school through the next ten years.

Contextual intelligence. Today’s deans must be aware of what’s immediately apparent, but also curious about other, less obvious layers that have meaning and inflence. This big picture perspective allows them to understand other people’s attitudes and behaviors, and it helps them deal with emerging trends, evolving environments, and messy problems.

Contextual intelligence was essential during my deanship at Illinois. Because I’d been a faculty member there prior to being appointed dean, I understood the internal culture. I also realized the influence of external stakeholders such as alumni and the board of trustees, and I knew I needed to balance their focus on practical relevance with the faculty’s emphasis on research and teaching excellence.

Contextual intelligence was also necessary when I took over the deanship at SMU. I needed to understand quickly not only the Asian culture, but also how the business school’s goals aligned with the university’s and how deeply the government of Singapore was involved in management education. If I had not been able to put the school into these contexts, I would not have been able to function effectively as dean.

Active listening. This means listening without interrupting, feeding back what has been said, observing body language, and trying to understand what has not been said as much as what has. I believe that new deans at international institutions need to actively listen to all stakeholders to get their input on the priorities and strategic directions the schools should embrace.

By the time I went to Warwick, distinctive models of European business education had developed—as exemplified by institutions like HEC, IESE, IMD, INSEAD, London Business School, and Oxford—and I realized I needed to reassure faculty that I would not attempt to impose an American style of education on this U.K. school. By visiting the school several times before taking up my post, and by listening carefully to the concerns of faculty, administrators, and alumni, I was able to learn the internal and external contexts that affected the school.

I also visited SMU multiple times before I assumed the deanship at that school, so I could learn about its culture, capabilities, challenges, and context. This helped me assemble a strong management team as well as a group of external experts who could help me identify weaknesses and opportunities for the school and develop a clear vision and strategic agenda.

Time for reflection. Deans will always need time to reflect on an analyze the forces shaping their schools—and this reflective time also will shape their behavior as deans. While I was at Warwick, which operated under a rigid university bureaucracy, I learned to cultivate patience, tact, and diplomacy. This helped me adapt to the relentless pressures created by research assessment and quality assurance exercises mandated by the government, and the additional pressure to achieve multiple accreditations and advance in the media rankings. It also led me to develop a coaching style of leader-ship, and I worked closely with faculty to nurture their work.

I believe these efforts led me to become more political, more subtle, more extroverted, and better able to cope with the dean’s various identities of administrator, entrepreneur, and scholar. I believe most deans will find that reflection and thinking time will enable them to become better at listening to others and practicing diplomacy. With luck, it will also help them cultivate other traits that will serve any dean well: honesty, integrity, optimism, humanity, and humor.

Whenever there’s a change in leadership at any business school, it can be an exciting but uncertain time for the new dean and the whole organization. Staff, students, faculty, and other stakeholders all want stable and consistent leadership that brings about long-term improvement and enhances the school’s distinct global footprint. Deans that study the cultural context, actively listen to stakeholders, and constantly reflect on their journeys will be well-suited to leading international business schools to stability and success through the next decade.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Maybe

By Linda R. GaRceau

Ten years ago, when I attended my first AACSB Annual Meeting as a dean, I was one of the few women present at any of the sessions. In 2001, only 16 percent of the deans at AACSB-accredited schools in the U.S. were women, and among all business deans in the U.S., only 65 were women. 

One reason women were so scarce was that there just weren’t many of us in the business disciplines. Women my age had attended undergraduate school in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Many of us had pursued baccalaureates in one of the more “traditionally women’s” disciplines—such as English, education, psychology, or sociology—only transitioning to business during our graduate or doctoral studies. In 2001, we were just beginning to enter the senior ranks of most colleges, where we were considering our next opportunities in administration. At the level of dean, those opportunities were scarce.

But times are changing. For proof, I look to events like the formation of Women Administrators in Management Education (WAME), which was founded in 1996 by Pat Flynn of Bentley University and literally a handful of other senior women administrators. When I became involved in 2001, typical attendance at a WAME meeting was 25 or 30. At the 2011 event, there were more than 100 in the room.

The number of women involved in AACSB activities and governance also has grown substantially in the last ten years. While few women served on peer review teams in 2001, the organization has made an overt effort to increase the number of women joining teams and taking committee assignments. One milestone was reached several years ago when Simmons College, a women’s school, applied for initial accreditation—and AACSB assembled an all-woman peer review team. Ten years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible.

In the past decade, the association has achieved other milestones. Today, approximately 30 percent of the board is female, and two women—Carolyn Woo and Judy Olian—have chaired the board of directors. But there remains significant room for improvement For instance, since 2001, the number of AACSB-accredited schools in the U.S. that have women deans has increased by only 1.5 percent. That’s just eight more deans.

I expect those figures to change in the next ten years. Susan McTiernan of Quinnipiac University has joined with Pat Flynn to study the ways women rise to top administrative positions in universities. In their paper “‘Perfect Storm’ on the Horizon for Women Business Deans?,” they note that, more frequently than men, women are promoted to the position of dean from the position of interim or associate dean. While men account for 71 percent of all associate deans, women have gained parity in most other administrative roles. Thus, we can hope that the next generation of senior administrators will include more women in its ranks.

As that happens, I expect changes in business school management to follow. Like their counterparts in business, women deans often display a collaborative management style that can be different from that of their male colleagues. For instance, I don’t sit at the head of the table in my conference room, but at its center, and I choose to involve many others in my decision-making process.

This approach can bring its own challenges, as some co-workers interpret it as indecisive or weak. On occasion, I have had to revert to a more directive style of management, though I am glad to report that those instances have grown more rare. Perhaps that’s because younger faculty desire a greater level of ownership and engagement in the management process, or because they’re more comfortable than older faculty are with a woman in the top role.

Bringing women into the corner office also could have an impact on the business curriculum. Women have been leaders in developing values-based business education. They’ve championed ethical business practices, social entrepreneurship, and sustainability. These programmatic initiatives will alter the education that our future undergraduate and graduate business students receive, encouraging them to evaluate solutions based on their social merits as well as the bottom line.

More than 40 years ago, Virginia Slims cigarettes were marketed to women with the tag line, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Indeed, women have come a long way in the past ten years, but we still have a long way to go. It is vital that when schools look to fil leadership positions, they seek out candidates who might not always look or act just like their current leaders. Business schools need the perspectives and insights that women bring to the table—and so does business.

Shaping the Future

By Richard E. Sorensen

In my academic research, I study how change theory applies to the implementation of large-scale computer models that help solve business problems. As part of my research, I’ve reviewed Fortune 100 companies—in industries such as airline reservations, financial services, and petroleum refining—that failed to use such computer models in the 1960s. Within ten years of the research, all of those firms had either gone out of business or been taken over by others.

Resistance to change was not an effective strategy for organizations in the 1960s, and it is an even less effective strategy today. That holds true whether the organization is a corporation, a university, or an association such as AACSB International.

Like businesses and business schools everywhere, AACSB has grown more international and complex in the past ten years, and it has made significant changes to meet the constantly shifting needs of its evolving membership. In 2000, AACSB established a Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality to determine how the standards could be revised to support accreditation of international schools. Those revised standards, which granted accreditation based on a school’s overall quality and continuous improvement efforts, have been in place since 2003.

Now, in 2011, the association must adapt once more to align itself with the new realities facing businesses and business schools. A new BRC has been formed to determine how accreditation standards should be amended again to accommodate an increasingly international membership base that serves a globally interconnected economy. The committee faces many challenges, from understanding how environmental changes will impact business education to providing leadership for businesses that want to reposition themselves as socially responsible organizations. Along the way, the committee must determine how to enhance value to accredited schools that are increasingly diverse in their expectations and needs.

Revising accreditation standards won’t be an easy or quick undertaking. After obtaining broad input from the academic and business communities, the BRC will draft position papers that identify the most pressing issues facing management education. Once these have been presented for wide debate, the committee will propose revised accreditation standards that will be voted upon by AACSB members. The recommendations will be offered in April 2013—ten years after the association adopted its current standards. The overriding goal is to make certain that AACSB and its members use the lessons of the past decade to position themselves for success in the next one.

In my opinion, both AACSB and its member schools will be best served by an approach that focuses on overall high quality and continuous improvement. Together we must identify the characteristics of a quality business school and use them to develop the accreditation standards and practices that will support top programs.

From much debate and discussion, we can already point to several key characteristics that a quality business school should possess. These include a well-developed strategic mission statement that differentiates the school from other programs; a curriculum that supports the school’s mission and builds on the traditional business disciplines; decisive, collaborative leadership that deploys resources effectively; a well-prepared faculty that balances teaching, research, and service; a student body suited to the school’s particular mission; and a career services system that helps students find jobs and become responsible citizens.

I think it’s just as critical that business schools emphasize the “soft skills” that are so important for great leaders to develop. These skills are complex and wide-ranging, as they encompass an appreciation for justice, diversity, lifelong learning, ethical behavior, and sound environmental practices. They also include respect for every culture, an understanding of the global business community, and strong political awareness. All of these abilities must be mastered by top executives if they are to be successful.

Even as the business world changes, and changes again, these hallmarks of quality remain constant. As the BRC moves for-ward—as the association and its member schools contemplate the future—it will be helpful to all of them to think about what attributes endure. These will become their building blocks for success for the next ten years.

Competition Through Cooperation

by Fernando a. d’alessio

Twelve years ago, I was asked to lead a project to create a graduate school of business for the Pontificia Universidad Católic del Perú in Lima. Knowing how fiercely competitive the industry had become, I knew certain conditions would have to be in place for any new school to be successful in this new millennium.

It would need a state-of-the-art, independent campus with a distinctive brand, at a time when many schools were fighting for recognition. It would need to attract faculty with academic and corporate backgrounds, when such faculty were expensive and scarce. The school’s leadership would need autonomy to make operational, academic, and financial decisions, when securing funding was becoming more difficult. And it would need an MBA curriculum that trained students in responsible leadership; taught them soft skills such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and communications; and offered comprehensive study experiences abroad.

And, by the way, this brand-new school would need to do all of this while competing with established business schools that were trying to do the same.

Despite the challenges, plans went forward to create CENTRUM Católica, and the campus was christened on March 1, 2000. We laid out a four-stage strategic plan that would take us from laying the foundations of the school in 2000 to building our market mid-decade to positioning ourselves as a global provider of management education by 2014.

The cornerstone of our success has been a series of powerful alliances with top business schools around the world. Although this might be considered a nontraditional approach, I believe such alliances will become more important—even essential—for business schools during the second decade of the 21st century. We pursued these partnerships to address two distinct challenges: developing a curriculum and hiring faculty.

Developing the curriculum. Our first MBA program was offered with the Maastricht School of Management in The Netherlands. Students take classes at CENTRUM and MSM, and at the end, they earn MBA degrees from both schools. We also started a full-time entrepreneurial MBA with Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in which students spend two weeks at Babson learning about new ventures and startups.

Once these programs were in place, we were able to strengthen CENTRUM’s own offerings to its local market. We launched a managerial MBA in August 2001. This program is delivered every other week in Lima and in alternate weeks in the Peruvian cities of Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Cajamarca, Huancayo, and Cusco.

We then launched a Global EMBA joint program with Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, which sends students to CENTRUM; Tulane’s campuses in New Orleans and Shanghai, China; and Instituto de Empresa (IE) in Madrid, Spain. In 2008, we launched an Energy MBA with the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business in Canada. We recently opened facilities in Bogotá, where we deliver a new Global MBA with EADA Barcelona. As part of the program, students visit Barcelona, Miami, and Lima. We are also looking forward to entering the markets in Buenos Aires and Miami.

To facilitate student and faculty exchanges, we formed strategic alliances with schools such as IE, Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School in the United States; Université Laval in Canada; ESSEC Business School, Audencia Nantes School of Management, and Grenoble Ecole de Management in France; and Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Israel.

Finding faculty. At CENTRUM, strong alliances also have helped us fill our faculty roster, which includes full-time, part-time, affiliated, and partner faculty. Most of our part-time professors are professionally qualified, but almost all other are academically qualified. Our affiliated professors are non-tenured academics, corporate practitioners, or independent consultants who commit to teach one course a year and conduct research. Professors from our partner schools teach in programs either at CENTRUM or at their home institutions.

Today, more than 200 faculty members cover CENTRUM’s academic activities in all locations. Tenure? What for?

In just ten years, CENTRUM’s nontraditional approach has allowed it to grow from an idea to a standalone business school. Today, we are supported completely by tuition and partnerships. We do not receive funds from the university, government, or donors. We also have earned AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditations.

With today’s competition being so fierce, business schools must find ways to set their program apart, even as they work together. They must deliver comprehensive global programs, even as they must sustain their resources. Born in today’s environment, CENTRUM was ready to adopt new strategies to suit the competitive landscape and help it become a self-sustaining global business school. I believe other schools will have to recreate themselves in similar ways, adopting nontraditional approaches to hiring the faculty and designing the curricula that will support their growth over the next ten years.

Better Days Ahead

by Ángel Cabrera

How much things can change in a decade! In October 2001, we learned that executives of the energy darling Enron had hidden billions in debt through accounting engineering and dishonest financial reporting. The scandal wiped out thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in shareholder value, including the retirement assets of thousands of employees. It handed a death sentence to legendary accounting firm Arthur Andersen and led to the largest bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

That is, until telecommunications giant WorldCom filed for a even bigger bankruptcy in 2002, a consequence of an accounting fraud that masked hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. WorldCom held this infamous record for only six years, until Washington Mutual and Lehman Brothers imploded amid the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008. That triggered a domino effect that set off a financial market failure, massive global economic recession, and the loss of trillions of dollars in assets and tens of millions of jobs that are yet to be recovered.

To put it mildly, the management profession has seen better days. It’s no wonder that so many people in the media and the public at large believe that greed—not a sense of service to the greater good, hard work, or even fair play—is the defining value of management today.

When these scandals erupted, the knee-jerk reaction of business schools was to deny culpability. Many educators argued that it was not our responsibility to mold the character of business leaders. Even if it were, they said, we could do little to change the minds of people whose value systems had been formed long ago. But, at best, this attitude was self-defeating, akin to admitting that what we do doesn’t make much of a difference. At worst, it was irresponsible, because if we don’t shape the attitudes and values of managers, who will?

Eventually, these denials led to introspection, heated debate, and, ultimately, action. In the last few years, we’ve seen those early attitudes begin to change.

In 2005, for example, a group of students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management led an initiative—supported by our faculty, administration, and board—to establish for managers the equivalent of medicine’s Hippocratic Oath. At first, many criticized the effort. A Financial Times columnist even described it as “positively cretinous.” Yet, in 2008, in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse, Harvard Business School’s Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria argued that management was in dire need of a code of conduct. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, separately made the same case.

In 2009, a group of second-year HBS students convinced more than half of their class to voluntarily take an oath of professional conduct; they even spurred students around the world to join their MBA Oath movement. At the World Economic Forum, the Young Global Leaders developed a Global Business Oath, which they encourage the world’s CEOs to take. These initiatives are now coordinated by a new foundation, “The Oath Project,” endorsed by organizations such as Net Impact, the Aspen Institute, and the United Nations.

In 1999, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, asked the private sector to join the U.N.’s efforts to endorse the Global Compact. This initiative is a set of principles that support global corporate citizenship and responsible business practices. Since then, more than 5,300 companies in 130 countries have voluntarily signed on. In 2007, the U.N. led an international task force of deans and professors to pro-duce the Principles of Responsible Management Education, which asks business schools to embed global citizenship in their curricula and research agendas. The task force, which I co-chaired, was supported by AACSB, EFMD, and several other organizations. Today, PRME is endorsed by more than 350 schools.

Such initiatives give me hope that business schools are internalizing their obligation to educate not just technically capable managers, but socially responsible leaders committed to creating real value for their companies, their communities, and the world. In the next decade, I hope that a code of conduct for our students—and for the management profession—is no longer viewed as “anti-business,” but as a recognition that business plays an irreplaceable role in creating a sustainable world economy.

Judy Olian is dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, California.

Paul Danos is the dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Joyce Elam is dean of the College of Business Administration at Florida Inter-national University in Miami, Florida.

Barron H. Harvey is dean of the Howard University School of Business in Washington, D.C.

Thierry Grange is dean and director general of the Grenoble Ecole de Management in France. 

Howard Thomas is LKCSB Chair of Strategic Management and dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University.

Linda R. Garceau is dean of the College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

Richard E. Sorensen is dean of the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. He is also co-chair of AACSB’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality.

Fernando A. D’Alessio is the director general of CENTRUM Católica at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú in Lima.

Ángel Cabrera is the president of Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. The six Principles of Management Education can be read at www.unprme.org/the-6-principles/index.php.