Internationalizing Faculty, Students, and Curriculum

AACSB's Dan LeClair interviews John Byrne, chairman and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media Inc., about internationalization within business schools.


July 2016

Dan LeClair: [0:07] With this globalization, do you think business schools have been quick to respond to the changes in business? Do you think they should have been faster? Do you think we do a good job with globalization? Where do you think we ought to go?

John Byrne: [0:22] I'll go back to the report that you guys issued only a couple years ago, three years ago, I think it was. Bob Bruner, at the time, the Dean of the Darden School at the University of Virginia headed that task force, and the conclusion was that schools are woefully behind.

[0:43] I think that's generally still true. Here's where it's changed. It's changed in the faculty, because most schools today have a fairly international faculty no matter where they are.

[0:57] If they're in the elite tier, if they're second tier, third tier, even fourth tier, what you find is business schools in particular are well populated by highly diverse group of academics from all over the world, and particularly India.

[1:13] India's been, because of its mission for higher education and people realize the benefits of higher education, so many of the professors in business schools are from India. I think, so, the faculty is internationalized.

[1:30] Look at the student body. By and large, the students are far more international than they've ever been. Many of the best schools have as many as 40 percent of their student populations from outside their home countries.

[1:43] Obviously, if you go into Europe, you see greater percentages of international students. You go into Asia, you see fewer, because those, many of the Asian schools are more home ground, home bound. Europeans and North Americans don't necessarily see the true benefit of going there yet.

LeClair: [2:09] Yeah, even that's changing … .

Byrne: [2:10] That is changing, too, in Shanghai, CEIBS is trying very hard to attract an international student body, and they're gaining some traction on that.

[2:22] But so generally, student populations have changed.

[2:26] Then it comes down to just basically curricular. What percentage of the cases in an MBA program, what percentage of the examples are truly international. Many of them are specific to a single country, and are not necessarily truly global.

[2:46] That's an issue. But to the extent that you have international faculty, you have international students, and students, the dirty little secret of every business school is most of the learning occurs with the students, not the faculty.

[2:59] Now, professors might hate me for saying this, but it's the truth.

[3:03] We're not talking about people who don't have work experience, but the people who go into MBA programs are incredible people. They're eclectic, they bring massive talents and massive experiences from all over the world, all different industries, all different disciplines. You get them in the classroom, and they share their knowledge with each other on every single topic.

[3:25] I think that's where real globalization diversities occur, in business education.

[3:31] Yes, are schools behind in creating more effective experiential learning opportunities abroad? Probably. Are they behind in actual course content? Yes. But I think a lot of that is offset by the students and the faculty.