A Personal Perspective From the Business Education Alliance: Christina Green
Christina Green of TUM shares how being a part of AACSB's network can help business schools face challenges like digital transformation and globalization.
Throughout the numerous networking and professional development opportunities AACSB organizes, the membership team tries to catch up as much as possible with our members to hear their opinion on the business education sector and chat about their personal experiences engaging with our network.
Earlier this year at a Continuous Improvement Seminar in Austria, we met with Christina Green from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) to discuss some of the challenges that business education will face in the coming years, and to hear how AACSB’s network and accreditation process have contributed to the further internationalization of her university.
Christina Green is the division director for quality management at TUM and is responsible for both the school’s national and international accreditations.
Generally speaking, what would you say are the greatest challenges that business education will be faced with in the coming years?
I think that would be digitalization. We need to train our students on how to interact virtually, lead virtual groups, and give them all the skills and competencies they need in this area. At the same time, many of the people teaching are still relatively inexperienced themselves in this area. I think that to train them, to make them comfortable working with the technology and to give them the skills they need to interact with students in this way, is a big challenge.
Do you think there is still quite a big skills gap between what business schools are teaching and what the market demands?
I think there is a definite time lapse, and I don’t think professors are prepared to adapt quickly enough to the rapid changes. At present, I think it’s difficult to predict what kind of jobs will be needed in the future. What we do at TUM, being a big university, is to always try to interact as much as possible with the other schools and faculties so that students can also study with them, especially in areas we can’t teach in our business school, like IT, for example. I think it’s important for business schools to teach the students general skills, such as communication, team building, and leadership. It’s also important to teach them self-study skills that allow them to bring themselves up to speed when they need to.
In terms of your own business school, how do you aim to have a positive impact on the region in the next few years?
I think what makes TUM different from the other universities in Munich is that our credits will always have two different components: management, and some sort of science or technology. I believe this aspect of our programs has a positive impact, as companies now demand this kind of interface between management and technology from today’s graduates, and because they need to be knowledgeable in these different areas. Teaching traditional business would not have the same impact, and I think that is why our credits are a little bit more useful to companies today.
Let’s move on to AACSB. What value have you gained from being part of the Business Education Alliance outside of the accreditation sphere? How has your university benefited from membership?
First, what we gained from being internationally accredited is that, from that point onward, we had more options when it came to choosing our university partners. I think this was one of the biggest advantages. Furthermore, participating in the conferences and interacting with the accredited universities has really given us the chance to meet new potential partners. Finally, we have now been able to participate in the global rankings, something that has now given us increased exposure within the international community.
What advice would you give to other technological or non-traditional universities looking to become accredited or looking to gain more international exposure? Are there any special recommendations you would give?
I actually just spoke about this the other day with a school interested in becoming accredited. I told them that, even if you don’t plan to become accredited straight away, it’s worthwhile to look at the international accreditation standards and try to align your university with them so that your school is prepared.
As a public university, what was worthwhile for us was that the process made us contemplate and discuss internally several important topics: Do we have a vision? Do we have a mission? What is our strategy? Being a public university that is financially supported by the German State, we didn’t used to focus too much on these aspects. However, I think it was a very useful exercise for all the staff and stakeholders involved. It also allowed us to reflect on our university’s strong points and unique selling proposition.
Having this information already prepared has been useful in engaging with external stakeholders. For example, we recently had a company approach us with a business opportunity, and we were ready to say to them, “This is who we are, this is our vision, this is our mission, and this is how we are distinctive. Are you interested in working with us?”
I think it’s a good exercise for any institution, whether they want to be accredited or not, in order to gain more stakeholders and greater external visibility.
Finally, have you participated in any of our affinity groups, regional groups, or advisory councils? And what was your experience if you have?
I participated in an affinity group at ICAM last year in Edinburgh and it was great. It’s extremely interesting to hear how other universities are facing the same challenges, and groups like these really help to get some new ideas. We also have an unofficial affinity group here in Germany for all the universities holding an international accreditation. We meet regularly, and the exchange is just great—very friendly. It’s not only about accreditation, but also about overcoming challenges in your school and faculty, learning from others, and exchanging best practices.
Richard Magennis is the membership manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and is based in Amsterdam.