...This is the view of Paul Danos, dean of Tuck business school in the US.
In terms of curriculum, he says, there has been a massive convergence in recent years. “If you went to a business school in India, America, Europe or Japan you would find that they teach fundamentally the same topics,” he says. There’s no way that an American school would teach only American case studies, and when they are studying entrepreneurialism in Chinese schools they look at Silicon Valley. “Schools want to look at the gold standard, and they don’t care if that is American, Chinese or German.” The fierce market in business schools, plus the global marketplace for faculty, means that if Ghemawat’s ideas are adopted, they will quickly be adopted everywhere.
What you should look for in a good school, then, is not the curriculum, but the way that it is taught. And here, the old schools have a huge advantage – they are rich enough to teach well. Small-group and one-to-one teaching are expensive and “unless you have a ton of money behind you it is hard to set up that sort of school,” Danos says. American schools have been raising money for a hundred years – they run on endowments and fund-raising, they get a lot of money from alumni.
It would take decades for schools in India and China, say, to reach the same level. And even then, would it be worth “duplicating something that is already there” in America and Europe? Even if in twenty years time the American economy is no longer the world’s biggest, so what? “Look at how small Switzerland is, and at the power of Swiss banking,” says Danos. Just because India or China has a growing economy, it doesn’t follow that it is the best place in the world to go for your business education. In fact, we are more likely to see movement in the opposite direction. Newness has sparkle, but oldness has its attractions too. “Globalisation,” says Danos, “goes both ways.”