The necessary adaptation of Business Schools to a reality of accelerated global change
We are used to referring to the current era as turbulent times, in which instability and uncertainty are rampant. This undoubtedly has consequences in our postgraduate training sector, which, although the critical situation of the world economy as a result of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, was added to the War in Ukraine, to incorporate even more negative elements to such instability, such as inflation, the shortage of basic foodstuffs and the extremely high cost of energy derived from a substantial cut in the supply of gas that had always been supplied by Russia.
In other words, some have seen in this whole process a clear setback for globalization, that is, an alleged de-globalization forced by circumstances, at least until now temporary, that have caused significant interruptions and are shaping new patterns of behaviour. This has affected all sectors of the economy, including business education.
However, during this year 2022 that we are ending, there are signs of improvement in postgraduate education, which undoubtedly reflects the hard work of postgraduate educational institutions to carry out all kinds of strategic alliances and collaboration mechanisms to create powerful campus networks on a global scale.
This effort aims to respond to a growing demand for postgraduate studies, because there are many young graduates who seek in their MBA course to be able to study and understand various regions, in addition to knowing that it is the schools themselves that are going to promote exchange and cultivate personal networks.
For this reason, given the complexity of the world market after the two global crises mentioned, it has caused a certain interest in promoting programs that study business and all the necessary tools to obtain a mastery that any young executive professional requires, To which must be added the study of the complexities of geopolitics that is becoming an essential part of the curriculum of some business schools along with their more traditional offerings.
The resurgence of international student flows remains uneven, hence many schools have focused more on their national and even regional markets.
Digital and technological knowledge
Both technological disruption and sustainability are still at this point in the year 2022 in a phase of great demand. But there is always new research on the implications that technological evolution itself has on social networks, the pressure that this puts on the ways in which companies have to do their business and reach their target audience, which is why they constantly have to be reviewing their online platforms to see that there are no distortions between what the company is offering and what the market demanded until yesterday, but today it already has other values that make it change its brand or style in consumption.
The speed of change means that much attention is paid to this evolution. Of course, the globalization factor in terms of social networks is crucial, in the same way that putting a new trend in 24 hours for everyone to see is something very difficult to control, but precisely, within this globalizing process, the business schools are training their candidates in all this revolution of content and forms, in which the form sometimes has more impact than the content itself.
Labor market changes
There is no doubt that the impacts on the macro behavior of the economies of the countries have direct consequences on the labor market. After a period of “cutting edge” technology, which has implications for training, as growth has slowed in recent months in different regions of the world, both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank of the EU to raise rates to control inflation, an imbalance began to develop between some of the most innovative fintech companies, causing some people in careers in businesses such as crypto and finance to “buy now, pay later”. lean back towards more traditional banking, considering it a more stable sector in crisis situations such as the current one.
The behaviors of the different business schools obviously diverge, they cannot all react in the same way, but some of them, adopting technology more actively, were able to take advantage of the lessons of the blockade to continue teaching more online. This leads to not a few situations corresponding to the firm intention of attracting good teachers, especially some business leaders who have stood out for their leadership to teach a seminar, with all this set of actions being a clear response in the search for more students. that they are in the classroom.
This means that even programs of some schools that are considered with a very high academic value by employers, as well as candidates, are forced to make content adjustments based on current trends that are very fast changing. This often makes such adjustment difficult, but it is imperative not to fall behind in the type of offer.
Take the case of famed Wharton, which recently took a step to set itself apart from its competition by launching a global EMBA that will be taught primarily remotely (but will charge the same price). In this way, it will have among its ranks students who will attend some face-to-face sessions that will take place in different cities to increase their knowledge, also impacting their respective social networks and making it easier for them to meet their teachers, so that on some occasions during the less formal interrelationships take place. And this postgraduate students appreciate it.
That is why it has been warned by some analysts that employers in the post-pandemic era were beginning to risk making mistakes if they simply required their staff to return to their offices full time. What caused this situation? Because organizations necessarily had to consider new blended models for employability. No less important was the assessment that employees made of workplaces, which was logical that in the post-Covid stage they demanded new designs, especially in terms of comfort and functionality, and, more importantly, “the need to reinvent old habits of work and management”.
There are certainly several alternative models that include offices that become community facilities outside of business hours. If we look at the case of the Lego headquarters in Denmark, which is called a “campus”.
This business group took no less than 5 years to plan and build the new campus that was inaugurated last April. It is a state-of-the-art facility in Billund, Denmark, home of this brand. The 54,000 square meter campus creates an innovative workplace for 2,000 employees and a haven away from home for all LEGO Group colleagues around the world.
Of course, it is reflecting the values of the Lego Group, which are based on imagination together with creativity and fun. All of this is part of learning. Hence, the Campus has been designed to provide a playful, inclusive and collaborative environment that allows employees to develop the best gaming experiences for children from all over the world.
An important element of this campus is the ‘People’s House’, a concept developed in close collaboration with employees that provides a space for all colleagues to interact and play during and after their working hours.
It is no coincidence that examples such as the Lego headquarters in Denmark are called “campuses”. Universities and business schools have also offered a model for combining work, study and leisure for a long time, and of course they need to evolve for their own survival, but in addition to maintaining that position that we have called from this rostrum “follow being relevant” in their mission as postgraduate institutions, their alter ego is based on taking care that the help they offer to candidates to prepare for the changing patterns, structures and organization of work, can be fulfilled effectively.
Executive MBAs continue to be popular with middle managers and managers who are mid-career in the organization they work for, or who are at that critical moment when they want to make the move to change companies and even industries.
Many of these candidates are eager to reflect and learn new skills that will be useful to them either for that promotion they were hoping for or for the new destination by changing their specialty and employer. There are not a few who are willing to create their own start-up. An MBA gives all these possibilities of knowledge and application of what has been learned. Therefore, this globalizing process of which they are social and economic agents of the first order, also requires postgraduate institutions to adopt greater flexibility in hiring and supporting a more diverse range of applicants.
Globalization means more and more collaboration between business schools
We are not going to insist on defining once again what globalization is. The only thing I intend to do today is how business schools fit into the globalizing process, which is unstoppable in itself and has increased much more than we imagined when it began in the last decade of the 20th century. Without a doubt, technology has played a preponderant role so that such a social, political and economic globalizing process had the scope that it has finally had. Of all the elements that contributed to reaching a stage of development such as the one that globalization has today, we can affirm that after the technological disruption, there is a second place shared by the most advanced organizations in the world in terms of organizational modernity and implementation of technology to make them more efficient and competitive, with which corresponds to business schools, which also like many other sectors of the economy, most of the alliances that have been produced in these years consisted of shared programs, although precisely it has been globalization that has meant greater collaboration between business schools. Because they have needed and still need help because they know they have a responsibility to develop leaders who can thrive in today’s increasingly interconnected and complex business environment.
That is why, despite the fact that on a global scale, schools are required that are also more global and with an international business philosophy, when students are taught how to operate better in such a world, schools strive to go further. . And at this critical point it is normal for them to be careful, since even when some of them are of great international importance and can afford to promote both their composition of students and teachers, which is also very international, the reality is that they do not they can replicate all of the diverse business contexts around the world to allow their students to truly understand the subtleties of working globally. In other words, business schools can only give their executive MBA candidates a taste of what globalization entails. The question we ask ourselves today is whether this is enough for the type of postgraduate that is being demanded in all markets?
Experience tells me that the interrelation of curricular concepts that make up a program with a global spirit is much more complex. For this reason, we cannot apply the usual reductionism that is used to explain problems, for example, social and economic. This is done from the news and other mass media. But in our world of business schools and academia in general, there are many fringes to consider.
1º) Being global is also being aware that it is not just about understanding the interdependence of different economic systems, or knowing how to design a globally distributed supply chain. These topics are relevant, but tend to be moving targets.
2º) The key to good management in a global world is to have an open mind, which is much more difficult to teach because it is an attitude.
3º) And what we say about having an open mind is not only something that can be learned, but must be developed. Therefore, it is not only students who need this open-mindedness, but especially business schools regarding the ways in which different parts of the world work.
4º) Understand how different people face similar problems and how their criteria for solving problems can differ.
5º) It’s not about judging if your approach is better or worse, it’s about understanding other people’s approach. This brings us to a concept that is also critical in leadership: vision.
In such an interconnected world, it is crucial to forge alliances with like-minded institutions
Undoubtedly, the combined efforts on the one hand and the training experience on the other, both elements require beneficial alliances to provide not only new business opportunities, but also new market prospects with a view to a much greater scope than postgraduate training has to offer. any region in which it is taught. These alliances and business philosophy should remind them that beyond companies they have a duty to train the new leaders of tomorrow, which can make a big difference in the success with which the business education sector can train future leaders.
Exchange of professors and more collaboration
Although many business schools have established relationships with each other, often they are concerned only with developing programs together. What is needed is true collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of professors so that business schools can contribute to the development of others: we are referring to people, the benefit for the companies that hire these postgraduates and from since the contribution that together they will make to the region in which they operate.
Establish effective partnerships with other Schools
This helps business schools to have that open mentality that we advocate, in the same way that it will be helping postgraduate students with new knowledge, tools and practices, open theirs. It is a synergy of open-mindedness.
The close collaboration with business schools that are deeply rooted in certain local and regional environments, are an ideal mechanism for business training to capture the realities of management and society at the local level in other parts of the world.
Know what is happening in other markets
The opening in the institutional collaborative sense contributes to the knowledge of all the most priority issues that occur in those markets in which you want to act, for which the local postgraduate firm becomes an essential instrument. Know what is happening in other markets and how they are trading. This is only known in depth by local companies.
Students can also take advantage of a wider range of business environments and experience, which is a highly valued commodity for employers in today’s globalizing and changing environment.
Add resources and joint learning
When partnerships occur, it is not only a question of resources but also the learning that occurs from one school to the other and vice versa. The synergies have almost more value than the material resources themselves. Of course, HR is vital and highly valued, especially when there is a cadre of teachers of great international category.
It is also true that partnership processes are essential, particularly when expanding into terrain that may be unknown to a partner. Hence, the greater the differences between the two institutions, an issue that always tends to be homogenized in order to obtain win-win benefits, in the event that there are some non-salvageable diversities, due to the very essence of a local school, it may end up being more productive the more asymmetric they are, since complementarity is crucial to open our minds to the rest of the world.
Long-standing relationships between schools help build trust
Close personal knowledge and collaboration between faculty and staff are binding factors, and as many more of these partnerships continue to ensure that business schools remain fit for purpose and jointly contribute to the development of leaders. responsible business, in addition to the proven contribution for years to the social and economic evolution of the region in which they operate.
Why Business Schools Need Breakthrough Innovations: Drivers and Development Trajectories
Business education is undergoing paradigm shifts, and business schools are feeling the brunt of these changes. The reality of today’s marketplace, and especially employer demands for HR, is that “business as usual” is over for traditional business schools. Using Ohmae’s 3Cs (Customers, Competitors, and Company) as an analytical framework, we are going to examine important changes from different points of view. Keep in mind that the 3C model was developed by the Japanese business strategy specialist Kenichi Ohmae and is based on the idea that any successful strategy designed by an organization must be based on three main actors:
– The company itself.
– The client.
– The competition.
Only by integrating the three elements in a strategic triangle can a sustainable competitive advantage be achieved. This triangle is the 3C model.
a) Regarding the size of the company
Regarding the business dimension, there is undoubtedly a large number and heterogeneity of business schools and it is advisable that they be framed within a business model in which they can differentiate themselves from their competition, as follows:
– There is a continuous and growing interest in what kind of programs on the most cutting-edge and disruptive topics are adopting.
– Business school administrators must manage their resources to increase the school’s reputation, raise rankings, achieve or maintain international accreditations, and maintain or increase external funding.
– The education of business schools in particular, has undergone important transformations in the last ten years, in which the traditional training oriented to practice, the business discipline has been transformed and has become a more scientific and educational field of study. theoretically sound, borrowing traditions from other related fields, such as sociology, psychology, decision sciences, and economics.
b) Regarding the dimension of the client
From the customers’ perspective, the focus is on technological and value changes.
c) Regarding the dimension of competition
In terms of competitors, the analysis focuses on the growing number of alternative business education providers and the geographical changes in the business school landscape.
About possible development paths for business schools
Radical innovations are required to remain relevant. If the world is changing, even more so the methods and contents of the programs have to change to adapt to it. Because it is enough just to consider the last ten years to verify that business education has undergone paradigmatic changes, and business schools have been feeling the worst of these changes.
Revival of European business education
Europe after the end of World War II was clearly influenced by the American model of business schools. But it is only in the 90s of the 20th century that European business education reaches a critical point of independence from the American model and the resurgence of native European philosophy and models, which, although not completely divorced from what they marked in first position the American schools, it does introduce all the necessary local and diverse realities that characterize Europe, because it was about training and developing European leaders and future leaders.
The Bologna Agreement
Bologna Process and European Higher Education Area
What is the Bologna Process?
In 1999, the European Union initiated the Bologna process that transformed European higher education and with it business school education. The Bologna Agreement aimed to increase the comparability and standards of European degrees and established a clear division between undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
The Bologna Process aims to give greater coherence to higher education systems in Europe. To this end, the European Higher Education Area was established to facilitate the mobility of students and staff, but also bearing in mind that the aim was to make higher education more inclusive and accessible, making higher education in Europe more attractive and competitive on a global scale.
As part of the European Higher Education Area, all participating countries agreed:
– Introduce a three-cycle higher education system, consisting of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies.
– Ensure mutual recognition of qualifications and periods of learning abroad completed at other universities.
– Apply a quality assurance system, in order to reinforce the quality and relevance of learning and teaching.
Promote student mobility
A central objective was also to promote student mobility between different fields of study, institutions and European nations.
The Europe-based accreditation systems, AMBA and EFMD
These systems played an important role in shaping the distinctions between the US and European business school models, as their accreditation criteria differ from the criteria of the US-based AACSB.
Both AMBA and EQUIS impose more stringent requirements on internationalization and focus on how business schools can differentiate themselves from other schools, while AACSB focuses more on curriculum design.
Triple crown accreditation
This may explain why AMBA accreditation and consequently triple crown accreditation (i.e. AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS) are sought after primarily by European and some Asian institutions, while only one US school is AMBA accredited and none have triple crown accreditation.
This situation has not changed to date, with Hult International Business School being the only US business school to hold triple crown accreditation.
The main differences in European and American approach
It focuses mainly on the differences in content between American and European approaches to business education and it should be noted that intercultural management, social management and an interdisciplinary perspective play a more important role in European business schools than in the other ones. Americans.
Looking at one of Europe’s success stories, the CEMS (Global Alliance of leading Business School) program emerged in the late 1980s and pioneered a unique approach to postgraduate management education, including a compulsory semester abroad at one of the CEMS universities, an industry internship at a senior corporate partner, and the requirement to speak three languages upon graduation from the program.
The CEMS universities that organized the first CEMS Master included Bocconi, ESADE, HEC Paris, the University of Cologne, RSM Erasmus University, the Catholic University of Leuven, Copenhagen Business School, the University of St. Gallen and the WU Vienna University of Economics. and Business.
In 2008, the model was extended beyond Europe and CEMS was renamed from “Community of European Business Schools and International Business” to “The Global Alliance in Management Education”.
Today, there are CEMS universities in Southeast Asia (Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, HKUST in Hong Kong, and Korea University School of Business in Soul), in India (The Indian Institute of Administration, Calcutta), in Latin America (Escola de Administação de Empresas de São Paulo da Fundação Getulio Vargas and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile), and in Africa (The American University in Cairo School of Business and University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business ). CEMS’s representative in Australia is the University of Sydney Business School, the Canadian partner is the Ivey School of Business and, in the US, it is the Cornell SC Johnson School of Business.
The unstoppable phenomenon of globalization may suffer more obstacles in the near future, equivalent to what we have suffered with Covid or what the Ukraine War is bringing as consequences not yet fully appreciated in all its implications, but despite everything, our This sector is one of the most disruptive in terms of NT’s, perhaps also one of the best prepared of all business sectors to accelerate the digital transformation process when everything…absolutely everything had to switch to online models due to the consequences of confinement.
Likewise, we see that there have been alliances on the part of many business schools in different countries, and those that will continue to exist in the future, because if there is a business class that knows about paradigm shifts, it is precisely our sector.
This makes us optimistic about its future in societies around the world, its contribution to creating quality employment, education and training being vital for a new generation of leaders who, shortly in terms of the 2030 horizon, will be the most decisive in making business and political decisions. Taking care of our sector is to continue betting on globalization, because knowledge is by nature.