eNEWSLINE - Business Education News from AACSB International

Chair's Exchange: Providing a Strong Foundation for Ever-Changing Business and Society

September 2014

By Linda A. Livingstone, Dean and Professor
School of Business, The George Washington University
Chair, AACSB Board of Directors

In last September's eNewline, Bob Sullivan, current past chair of the AACSB Board of Directors, quoted Bob Dylan—"The times they are a-changin'." I must say that this past year as well as the year ahead has reinforced that for me in multiple ways. At ICAM, when making my initial remarks as incoming chair of the board I mentioned that our only child was going off to college in the fall—as if that wasn't change enough, my husband and I have both changed jobs, sold a home, bought a home, and moved across the United States to the Washington, D.C., area after spending twelve years in California. What I have learned from this significant personal change is that it's exciting, stressful, invigorating, exhausting and enlightening all at the same time—much like the life of a business executive or business school administrator as we seek to navigate the constant and accelerating change facing business, management education, and society more generally.

Today, even the smallest business is part of an interconnected global economy in which time zones, borders, and the nationality of workers and consumers are much more significant than in the past. Advances in technology have radically changed the way business is done, completely revising everything from finance to manufacturing to communication to the ways in which products and services are delivered. The central position occupied by business in this new, global society brings with it an obligation to act responsibly to improve the quality of human life, while also acting as good stewards of the resources we all share and depend on.

Like business itself, business education is becoming increasingly global. Study-abroad programs are increasingly popular; multi-university, multi-country partnerships are becoming quite common; universities around the world are enrolling record numbers of students from outside their own countries' borders; and faculty are increasingly mobile across national boundaries influencing the development of a diversity of faculty models around the world.

Technology is driving change in business education every bit as much as it is altering the way business is conducted globally. Technology has made it possible to reach vast numbers of students in every corner of the earth. Technology-enabled learning has brought forth a unique set of educational opportunities—and challenges—while being one of the drivers of growing disaggregation in education.

Globalization and the seemingly limitless advance of technology have also influenced the place of business in society, and therefore, have expanded the scope of management education. As integral members of a global society, tomorrow's business leaders must be educated on the responsibilities that come with their pivotal position in that society.

The ever-changing nature of business and society has amplified the need for comprehensive, relevant and far-sighted management education. The future of business depends on the quality of tomorrow's business leaders. By promoting the very highest standards in management education and continually scanning the environment to better understand how to shape the future of business and of management education, AACSB is committed to ensuring that the next generation of business leaders can anticipate and lead positive change in business and society. To quote Bob Dylan's wisdom once again, "May you have a strong foundation/When the winds of changes shift"—AACSB's mission is to be that strong foundation for management education.

Linda A. Livingstone
Dean and Professor, School of Business, The George Washington University
Chair, AACSB
Board of Directors