Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 24 – Meeting Challenges: B-Schools Get Creative

Here in Paris, this international business school dean’s conference is organized around all-member events such as speeches by important persons, tracks focused on key issues and lots of networking time. Business school deans understand the power of networking and AACSB has included lots of valuable time for coffee and chatting.

I've met a lot of people this way and realize the diversity of situations that business schools around the world find themselves.

I am amazed at the creativity of some of them. One woman, dean at an urban school in Detroit that educates working professionals, many from underprivileged minorities and less than affluent backgrounds, has struggled to find money to internationalize the curriculum something we all believe critical to our students' educations. Her students cannot take time off to do international study trips, much less go abroad for a semester. There is no money for scholarships. So she has created an "international" trip in Detroit by lining up local companies and subsidiaries that are globally connected. By "traveling" locally the students get a very real dose of what it means to be part of an international supply chain, the impact of currency fluctuations on profits and the other challenges facing global corporations.

I also met the dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City who is actively trying to position his school as the innovation-entrepreneurship center of the region. He has hired three eminent professors from top schools to create programs that link the regional economy to the university. How could he afford such high-priced talent? The business community of Kansas City has donated $42 million over the past three years to make this happen. I am stunned by the largesse of a Midwestern city that I do not associate with innovation and entrepreneurship.

The woman in Detroit is making do with literally nothing, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City dean is investing millions in his region's future. I am inspired by both of them.


Post a Comment

<< Home