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Chair's Exchange: Collaboration in Business Education—A Global Approach

April 2015

Linda Livingstone

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



As comedian Steven Wright said, “it’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.” I think now more than ever, this describes our world, grand in scale but immensely interconnected. Time zones, distance, language, and, increasingly, national borders offer little impediment to the flow of information, practices, and ideas. Far more so now than in any period in history, member schools around the world are engaged in collaboration with one another and 21st-century business education has become truly international in both practice and theory.

As an international body, it is critical that we understand how connected our members are to one another and the wider business community as well as acknowledge that there are many untapped opportunities available. Whether through collaborations such as simple student exchanges or more complex relationships involving joint degree programs and franchising agreements, the ways in which accredited institutions may partner with one another are expanding and are a powerful indicator of the degree to which business education is on a trajectory of increasing globalization.

While collaborations with other schools can form the basis of a school’s international strategy, recruiting students and especially faculty from abroad in addition to actively pursuing cooperative agreements and strategic partnerships with global firms can enhance an institution’s ability to grow its global footprint in meaningful ways. Academic partnership with international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OECD, and UNESCO also can extend a school’s global reach.

AACSB’s international focus, with its diverse mix of members, provides access to a wide range of opportunities in which schools from all regions of the world can gain valuable benefits. We currently have accredited schools in 48 countries and territories around the world, as well as members in 86 countries and territories—many in emerging and underserved regions of the world—which puts us at the forefront of internationalizing business education and at the center of creating diverse opportunities for our members.

By fostering collaboration between respective developed and emerging economies, we can leverage our shared values and attain invaluable and mutually beneficial results for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the greater society, helping to advance quality worldwide. This is especially important going forward, as emerging economies seek ways to not only provide quality business education to their citizens but also apply best practices and lessons learned. And though globalization and communication have brought us all closer virtually, we cannot overlook the strength of regional collaborations, by which member schools can significantly enhance their value through shared experiences and challenges.

Efficient, collaborative, ethical, and thoughtful business practices benefit all of us, raising education standards while ensuring the future success of both students and society. As educators, it is our mission to instill in future generations of business leaders the values and knowledge that drive those practices—and now, more than ever, to share those principles with one another around the world.