Santiago Iniguez, Dean of Instituto de Empresa Business School.
I always enjoy discussing about strategic views on the management education industry. Yesterday I met Matt Symmonds, an expert in higher education and partner of Nunzio Quacquarelli, another prominent analyst in the field. They both run QS, a communication and information services company on higher education which has played a key role in the past decade, particularly in Europe’s management education. I have repeatedly mentioned in previous posts that the implementation of the Bologna Process in Europe, and more generally the globalisation of higher education, requires abundant information in order to make education offerings transparent and comparable by the market. Companies like QS pay a relevant service to students and the market through the provision of information.
Part of our conversation was on whether location is an important factor why students choose a particular business school –indeed, it is- and whether the post-Bologna European landscape will be characterised by the existence of distinctive education hubs, i.e., cities or larger areas that become references for their academic excellence or that concentrate an important portion of educational suppliers. In other global industries, hubs operate an important role and operate as poles of attraction for companies of a given industry and related businesses, as some respected academics like Michael Porter (see his book "On Competition", Harvard Business Review, Amazon) have demonstrated. Think, for example, of Silicon Valley as a hub for e-business start-ups, or Milan as a hub for the fashion industry. If management education evolves in a similar way to other global industries, it could be expectable that education hubs would appear and would stand out on the map of European higher education. Interestingly, the US management education market has some clear educational hubs, the Boston area or Chicago being two of the frequently mentioned ones.
Evidence of the "hubisation" of management education is the fact that some analysts cite some particular cities as centres that host a critical number of leading business schools. The Financial Times, for example, listed New York, Chicago, London and Madrid as hubs of executive education institutions in an article some years ago, and The Wall Street Journal has pointed out how some cities in Europe –notably London, Madrid or Paris- host an important number of highly ranked business schools.
What will be the key factors for the creation of management education hubs? The list would certainly include elements such as business concentration, number and quality of education institutions, cultural aspects –e.g., the hosting city’s cultural life, the relevance of the native language spoken, leisure, sport facilities- cost of life and weather. However, the viability of these hubs will be also dependent on the initiative of many different stakeholders, notably local or regional governments, as well as other external factors, such as infrastructure, communications, security, quality of life and the like. City rankings will probably play a relevant function here.
I wonder if you agree with this vision. If you do, which cities or areas will, in your opinion, become Europe’s education hubs in the future?