Robert Bruner is the dean of the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia and co-author of the report, "Globalization of Management Education," AACSB International, 2011. (on BizDeansTalk, "The landmark 300-plus-page report is the most thorough examination of the globalization of management education ever" - Poets & Quants)
New research has revealed a sizable gap between what the business world needs and what business schools provide to their students. What's standing in the way and what can business schools do to step up their game?
We should do better.
What's standing in the way? The need for capital to transform the schools, the talented faculty to implement the transformation. Nationalist or localist cultures. Regulatory barriers to the mobility of institutions, faculty, and students across borders. Restrictions on the freedom of speech and association. Even a lack of sheer imagination.
Given such barriers, one can easily envision a widening variance among schools. Some schools are surmounting the barriers one way or another. The vast majority will not. Much like the widening gap in income between the "haves" and "have nots" in many countries, it is easy to envision a widening competence gap in regard to globalization.
We should worry about this because it should be the mission of business schools to spread the light of global best practices and competencies. The widening gap is antithetical to creating the kind of world in which we enjoy gains from trade, rising standards of living, and even the diplomatic benefits that accrue from strong trading relationships. Even if you don't believe in the internationalist view of joint benefits, education about globalization matters because of the competitive standing of one's country. The recent finger-wagging of my CEO friend probably knows no borders.
Schools should help each other. First, we should hold the bar of excellence high, and perhaps raise it a few notches when it comes to globalization. There is no more powerful force in academia than peer pressure. Schools should share their best practices and capabilities. Finally, we should offer a robust voice to our constituencies -- and especially governments -- to gain the resources needed to produce globally competent and confident graduates.