The Future Impact of Business Schools

Norm Solomon, professor of management and former dean at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business, and Grant O’Neill, dean of international and accreditation at Curtin Business School, discuss the benefits of having business school campuses in multiple countries and other ways schools can, and must, incorporate international elements into their programs.


How can business schools change global society?

Grant O’Neill: [00:02] Thinking about the future of business education from an Australian perspective, but certainly a global perspective, sustainability. Sustainability is absolutely critical. It's not something we can choose to think about or not think about.

[00:27] Here, environmental sustainability, organizational sustainability, being good global citizens, and ensuring that we help students to understand and produce graduates who recognize that it's not good enough to have good practices in the home country and poor practices elsewhere. So thinking about environmental organizational sustainability, for me, that's the key.

Norm Solomon: [00:54] Reaching out to as many groups as possible, the need for students and all business programs to understand cultural diversity, because although it seems trite to say, it really is true—the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place.

[01:07] My experience is teaching in the United States, and for our students, for them to understand what's going on in the Middle East, South Asia, Europe, it's critical for them to understand how to do business.

[01:20] As I tell my students, even if you're never going to live outside the United States, there is a 99 percent chance you're going to be doing business with a company elsewhere.

[01:30] If you don't understand how people in that country think or their norms and their cultures, you're not going to get anywhere. That's a big role that internationalization of business education could play. It's an important role for AACSB to play.

O’Neill: [01:44] In the current global environment, we've got ideas and movements that are fragmenting and yet technologies and other ideas that pull us together. So it's not, for me, one or the other. There are real opportunities for business schools to play a really important part in changing the world.

[02:07] That sounds very grand, and in a way it is, but if you think back to why we became academics, we became academics because we believe in universities. We believe in the important role that universities have to play in civil society. So as business schools, we have an incredibly important role to play in the world.

[02:25] Through business, we can bring people together. Through business, we can help countries develop. And as countries develop, and as we expose people to different ideas, then some of these differences start to fall away, or the differences fall into perspective. So I think business schools can help change the world and should be helping to change the world.

[02:42] I'm thinking about values, I'm thinking about ideas, and ensuring that our curriculum is what it needs to be to make the world a better place. The great thing about the AACSB standards, they address this. This is what impact is all about. We have to be impactful business schools working for good in the world.

Filmed September 2016 on site at the Annual Accreditation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.