By Sarah Ham, Manager, Marketing Communications, AACSB International
Let's face it: AACSB conducts a lot of research. More than you would ever be able to wrap your mind around, even if you could devote a few extra hours in the day to read and synthesize the breadth and depth of information on the most critical issues facing management education. External forces including a volatile economy, advances in technology and increased focus on ethics and sustainability all exert pressure on the course of management education, and b-schools can feel overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all. And, while valuable research sheds light on these challenges, the issues can seem so daunting that we don't even want to face them—as if we were gazing up the face of a mountain and thinking 'how am I ever going to get to the top?' when the answer is simply: one step at a time.
In Eastern Nepal, on the high slopes of the southern Himalayas, a group of Tibetan people known as Sherpa guide hundreds of die-hard adventure enthusiasts through jagged peaks and ice-covered cliffs to the top of the world with acute knowledge, deep respect and a sincere appreciation for the elements around them. They know. They guide. They summit. That's exactly the spirit in which AACSB's Committee on Issues in Management Education (CIME) was created—to address, one by one, the most pressing and relevant issues impacting the future of management education, and to make progress towards bringing these key issues to light in a way that's actionable, relevant and relatable to b-schools. CIME seeks to guide schools through rough terrain using insight, knowledge and thoughtful research that uncovers not only understanding, but also a level of confidence in facing these issues together.
At AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Chicago this week, CIME convened to discuss a significant milestone with the completion of the research and report conducted by the Business Doctoral Education Task Force, whose purpose is to help schools deliver on the promise of providing business doctoral education in a new age. The report serves to guide b-schools towards setting the pace for innovation, sustainability, relevance and quality in a rigorous doctoral education program, while serving a broader purpose of enriching the pool of talent serving both academia and business.
CIME members also advocated for enhanced collaboration from AACSB member schools to gather insight into key issues at hand, and approach them in an 'open source' spirit to leverage the creativity and problem-solving acumen among members. Working closely with faculty to identify the day-to-day challenges, and elevating those issues to a higher call to action will naturally encourage involvement, making CIME more agile and deepen the value of its relevancy. Calling for enhanced communication strategies around key issues, CIME is taking a bold step towards expeditiously disseminating information in manageable, 'bite size' pieces, engaging members (at all levels) more directly, and reducing the time-to-market for the results of their research. In addition, CIME will enhance communications by 'breaking down' daunting challenges in a way that is more relevant and actionable to b-schools, so that the mountains that lie before us become more navigable.
By learning, creating, managing and engaging in substantial issues together, CIME is breaking ground in identifying what's truly important to b-schools and putting forth systematic effort to solving those problems. The open-source CIME concept engages all members at all levels of leadership so that, not unlike the Sherpa, we lead the way through these daunting challenges together.