Developing an Internationalization Strategy That Works for Your School

Thomas Clef, dean of Pforzheim University, talks with AACSB's Tim Mescon about how business schools can create unique internationalization strategies that work with and for the university's needs.


Tim Mescon: [00:15] I'm really delighted to be here today with Professor Thomas Cleff, who's dean at Pforzheim. One of our really active and engaged volunteer leaders. Maybe, if you don't mind, start with a little description, if you would, of your business school and institution.

Thomas Cleff: [00:39] Pforzheim University is an AACSB-accredited school since 2011. It's a school with 3,000 students400 graduate and 2,600 undergraduate students. We're not a PhD-granting institution because we're a university of applied science. Our focus in research and teaching is applied.

[01:11] We are happy to use this AACSB network. Not only to have this label, AACSB, but to use this accreditation to improve our school, to improve the relations to partner institutions.

Mescon: [01:33] Dean Cleff has been a great thought leader in business education in Germany, which is a large, complicated country from a higher education perspective. You've written and talked about the evolution of business education over a number of decadeswhat it was, but more importantly the trajectory of where it's going today.

[02:05] You referenced already the value of research but applied research. That's clearly consistent with your mission at Pforzheim. I'd also like for you to talk, if you don't mind, a bit about your internationalization strategy. How it involves both programs and professors, and some insights you can share with our membership regarding that.

Cleff: [02:31] Not only moving students around but using networks to build up double degrees with AACSB-accredited schools in the worldnot only in Europe but especially in the United States. The schools in the United States request this AACSB label, especially for double degree issues.

[02:57] This is only one point. The other point is to bring faculty to other campuses or bring in faculty from other partner institutions to your campus. We are sending 40 percent of our students for at least one semester abroad. Still, 60 percent of the students are staying on our campus in Pforzheim.

[03:27] We want that they live as well international culture, and that they are taught by professors from partner institutions.

Mescon: [03:39] You talked about inbound professors coming. What is the experience that inbound, non-native students find when they come to your school? What do you think some of the takeaways are based on their experience when they return back to their home institution?

Cleff: [03:57] First of all, it's related to the image of the country of Germany. It's not green, you have many industries everywhere. It's the other way around. We are close to the Black Forest on the one hand side. On the other hand side, we have this great industry.

[04:18] We bring in students, not only in our university but also for internships to companies close to our campus. One of the takeaways is that they've seen that Germany's a very welcoming country. Like many other countries in Europe, not only Germany. It's a nice place to study and a nice place to work later.

Filmed April 2018 at ICAM in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.