Goals for Globalization: The Strategic Positioning of EMEA Business Schools

Goals for Globalization: The Strategic Positioning of EMEA Business Schools

Several strategic objectives are defining the globalization efforts of AACSB’s EMEA business schools to great success.

AACSB’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) office is celebrating its fourth year of operations. During this time, the EMEA team has engaged a number of organizations that impact business higher education in a positive and profound manner. These alliances add great value to AACSB members, and we as an organization learn a great deal from colleagues in these various enterprises.

For the past few years, we have become increasingly engaged with another Amsterdam-based organization, the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Like AACSB, EAIE is a member-driven association with representation in 80 countries worldwide. The EAIE Annual Meeting draws well over 5,500 attendees from more than 100 countries worldwide. The organization focuses on developments in international higher education from a European perspective and has a special interest group for schools of business and economics. This is where AACSB EMEA has engaged.

EAIE has conducted some exceptional research leading to the release of a report, in its second edition, representing the EAIE Barometer, a study of globalization across Europe. While the EAIE Barometer is extensive, this post focuses on a single data point from the study: the primary goals of internationalization that drive institutions.

What I find most salient in the data is the array of six primary objectives that fuel the strategic rush to internationalization and increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of institutions’ global communities. These drivers align so wonderfully with AACSB’s eligibility criteria for accreditation and our deep commitment to innovation, impact, and engagement.

Several of these goals are particularly relevant to AACSB member schools in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

1. Prepare students for a global world of work. A recent blog post reviewed the many and growing number of networks created by AACSB member schools, predominantly to facilitate mobility and linkages for graduate students. GNAM, CEMS, QTEM, and others connect large numbers of AACSB member schools and deeply reinforce the need to prepare students for a global society. These efforts, along with the significant impact of ERASMUS over the past three decades, have allowed students from across Europe and many other countries to experience a global immersion and the power of learning about different cultures and contexts as part of a bachelor’s or master’s program.

2. Improve the quality of education. Many of our EMEA schools are acutely aware that they simply do not have the resources in the array of academic programs to “do it all” themselves. The University of Nicosia (UNIC) in Cyprus has created a highly successful Master of Science in Digital Currency. The first course in this program is offered free, as a MOOC. UNIC has created a network of global faculty, housed at a number of institutions, who digitally teach a network of global students in these online programs. This is globalization of strategy and structure at work.

3. Enhance institutional reputation and competitiveness. The Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia has created and operated for 20 years an international summer school. Dean Metka Tekavčič has amassed a versatile team from her own faculty as well as from other parts of the world who each summer offer a three-week international summer school immersion program that includes classes, travel, and interactions between all participants: student to student, student to faculty, and student to staff. The success of this singular program has proven a boon to the university and has helped build its reputation and positioning in a tough global marketplace.

Likewise, dean Sergey Myasaedov and his team at RANEPA’s Institute of Business Studies (IBS) in Moscow run an extraordinary summer school for international students in Kazan, Russia. Formed in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, the program brings in influential business leaders to interact with students in addition to coordinating cultural activities. This initiative, too, has helped the business school build its global reputation and positioning as well as provide an indelible learning experience for students.

4. Respond to demographic shifts. One of my more memorable exchanges regarding demographic shifts and global competitiveness was with pro vice chancellor Bo Ahrén at Lund University in Sweden. On my visit to this historical university, I had the distinct pleasure to meet with Ahrén, who was keen to discuss the positioning of 15 Master of Science programs offered by the business school—in English. Ahrén was quite proud of the faculty for this commitment. He indicated that, as Sweden is a small country and Lund is an old university, to remain globally competitive, this menu of English-language offerings was essential.

AACSB is, of course, agnostic to language of instruction, but what Lund’s business school demonstrated here was a strategic response to demographic shifts.

Internationalization is here to stay. Indeed, the demands of students globally will continue to share strategic shifts by business schools engaging more in the world’s landscape and opportunities. What are some of the innovative, unique globalization strategies your school is working on?


Tim Mescon

Follow Timothy Mescon on Twitter @timmescon