A Historic Year: Centennial Celebration, Collective Vision for Business Education, New Mission and Vision

This past year, we celebrated impact, innovation, and engagement by AACSB and our member schools; launched a collective vision for business schools; and laid the groundwork for a new mission, vision, and strategy.

As I approach the end of a wonderful year as board chair for AACSB International and prepare to pass the gavel to Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, I am filled with appreciation for having the honor to serve such a dynamic, mission-driven volunteer organization with excellent staff support that is significantly impacting global prosperity. I appreciate the countless volunteer hours, the long-term commitment of our member schools to continuous improvement, the staff support that creates opportunities for innovation and engagement, and, mostly, the global impact of AACSB member and accredited schools. Through research, teaching, and service, we are co-creators of knowledge, hubs of lifelong learning, leaders on leadership, catalysts for innovation, and enablers of global prosperity.

In a time of intense skepticism about the value of higher education, sham accreditations, and national scandals involving scams by so-called universities that take student and government money but leave graduates unemployed, AACSB-accredited schools report very high rates of employment. In the latest BSQ Employment Module survey with 38.8 percent of accredited U.S. schools reporting, the median employment three months post-graduation was 79 percent for full-time undergraduate business majors, 88 percent for full-time MBAs, and 81 percent for specialized master’s-degree holders. Employers appreciate our graduates.

Centennial Celebration

Throughout the year, we celebrated impact, innovation, and engagement by AACSB and our member schools. We celebrated the inaugural 100 Influential Leaders who were nominated by member schools globally. These leaders exemplify the economic and social impact of our alumni. The Innovations That Inspire challenge garnered nearly 300 nominations and highlighted the amazing creativity of our member schools. The Student Leader Spotlight challenge helped raise awareness of AACSB and our member schools with students sharing how they plan to leverage their business education to create a better world. AACSB’s Centennial Celebration culminated in the April 2016 ICAM meeting in Boston and was capped off in June when AACSB representatives rang the closing bell at the NYSE with the sponsorship of Coca-Cola, one of our Business Practice Council members.

Leading up to our centennial, we also passed a number of key milestones. As of this writing, we now have 761 accredited institutions, with a total of 1,481 academic members in 92 countries and territories across six continents. Based on a globalization strategy initiated about 16 years ago, our membership is now majority non-U.S., with offices in Singapore and Amsterdam and a growing number of conferences and events held outside of the U.S. In recognition of this shift, we have held at least one board meeting annually outside of the U.S. for the last several years and are planning for future ICAM and deans meetings in different regions.

Collective Vision for Business Education and New Mission, Vision, and Strategy

In anticipation of AACSB’s centennial, the Committee on Innovation in Management Education (CIME) engaged in a multi-year visioning process focused on the future of business education. The Collective Vision for Business Education identifies exciting opportunities for business schools to continue to expand their positive impact with a variety of strategic options and milestones for measuring our progress.

This vision for business education also laid the groundwork for the new mission, vision, and strategy for AACSB. Developed by the board and the AACSB senior leadership team to better serve the membership, these strategy ideas were vetted in a variety of member forums and finalized in several key documents. Distilled to memorable, succinct sentences, the new mission and vision respectively state the following: “We foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education,” and “Transforming business education for global prosperity.” The new strategy shifts the organization around five key member-focused areas and enablers: Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement (Accreditation), Advocacy and Awareness, the AACSB Network, Professional Development, Business Education Intelligence, and Enablers. Budgetary and structural shifts to support these foci are in process and were complemented by the creation of a diversity and inclusion executive position and staff team. In short, at the turn of the century for the organization, the pace of change has never been brisker. Under the new leadership of CEO Tom Robinson, AACSB is well positioned to support members better than ever.

Despite the challenges facing higher education globally, we have much to be proud of. I encourage each of you to continue improving business education. Innovate, engage, and create an impact on global prosperity