Transforming Business Education for Global Prosperity

Transforming Business Education for Global Prosperity

AACSB International, in anticipation of its Centennial Celebration culminating at ICAM 2016, has engaged in a multi-year visioning process focused on the future of business education.

What Is the Future of Business Education?

In anticipation of AACSB’s Centennial Celebration culminating in the April 2016 ICAM meeting in Boston, AACSB International’s Committee on Innovation in Management Education (CIME) engaged in a multi-year visioning process focused on the future of business education. AACSB has led, sponsored, collaborated and/or participated in a variety of forums, conferences, and articles to advance a broad-based discussion of the future of business education. These discussions have been interwoven with discussions about the future of AACSB, starting with the focus on innovation, impact, and engagement in the 2013 accreditation standards and flowing through the position description for the new CEO, Tom Robinson, hired in early 2015.

In my incoming post as board chair, I discussed some of AACSB’s goals and initiatives, and a key thread of the conversation focused on business schools becoming catalysts for change in their communities in the context of shifting roles of management in society, evolving expectations of management education, and emerging opportunities. I invited members to participate in the ongoing conversation at, and their insights fed into CIME’s next round of discussions as well as the strategic planning session of the AACSB Board of Directors, held earlier in January.

Through this broad, inclusive, multi-year process, we have identified five primary opportunities for business schools as Catalysts for Innovation, Co-Creators of Knowledge, Hubs of Lifelong Learning, Leaders on Leadership, and Enablers of Global Prosperity. Discussions at this year’s Deans Conference and at ICAM in April focus on the meaning, relevance, and strategic importance of these opportunities for the future of business education. We invite you to participate in the discussions.

How Should AACSB Support Business Schools?

AACSB is a mission-driven, global, highly diverse volunteer and member organization supported by professional staff. The members of AACSB are business schools and businesses who employ our graduates. Thus, supporting members’ pursuit of future opportunities is central to AACSB’s mission and vision. In the January 2016 strategic planning session of the AACSB board, ideas started to coalesce around a new mission, vision, and strategy focused on transforming business education for global prosperity. Businesses and business schools are a force for good, contributing to the economy and society, and AACSB has significant roles in enhancing and publicizing the societal contributions of our members.

Thinking strategically, the board has been peeling back our current vision and mission statements to better understand the ultimate goals of the organization. Accreditation, thought leadership, and member services are very important for our members, but as educators we are also looking for a bigger, long-term impact on society. “Global prosperity” captures this broader good on multiple levels. First, enhancing prosperity is a distinctive domain of business schools relative to other areas of educational institutions and is infused in all disciplines within business schools. Second, the word “global” intentionally carries multiple meanings: across all geographic regions, spanning all elements of society, and permeating all components of organizations. Enhancing global prosperity is a theme that can unify our diverse members and further legitimize their future role in society.

Asking constituents, “How should AACSB support business schools?” also raised questions about values of the organization. Key terms that immediately surfaced include ethics, social responsibility, community, inclusion and diversity, global mindset, and quality. While I personally believe that all of these values are important for AACSB, developing the global mindset and effective approaches to inclusion and diversity will become increasingly important for the future of business schools and businesses. Transforming business education for global prosperity will require AACSB and our member organizations to become more inclusive and operate more effectively with a global mindset.