The Power of Global Business School Networks: Engagement, Innovation, and Impact at Work

The Power of Global Business School Networks: Engagement, Innovation, and Impact at Work

These four long-standing business school networks provide a platform for students, professional staff, and professors to experience the richness of global business education.

One of the great values of the AACSB global network is the opportunity to link, connect, and engage with colleagues and schools around the world. With educational members now in more than 100 countries and territories, the strength of the global brand and the depth of the global network creates amazing prospects for academic and research alliances, joint degree, and other globalization partnerships. I want to highlight four unique long-standing networks that today involve many AACSB members. These networks provide a wonderful platform for students, professional staff, and professors to gain exceptional international exposure and experience that offers invaluable support for academic programs and career preparation.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the CEMS network (formerly the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies). CEMS is one of the oldest ongoing networks of business schools in the world. It represents exactly what AACSB encourages, a membership of both business schools and business members collectively committed to leading-edge business education, along with coaching, developing, and launching business school graduates into global business operational and leadership opportunities.

CEMS has a core philosophy based on truly international immersion. Students are encouraged and expected to be multilingual and perhaps, more importantly, confident in multicultural situations and environments. There is a collaborative, joint working relationship between academic institutions and businesses and a deep commitment to continuously connecting the two.

CEMS’s joint Master’s in International Management (MIM) is the primary academic platform for achieving this goal. Today CEMS can boast of some impressive engagement and impact numbers:

  • 31 CEMS member schools on every continent in the world
  • 73 corporate partners (multinational companies) and seven social partners (NGOs)
  • 1,279 MIM students of 72 nationalities with a 50/50 male-to-female ratio in 2017–18
  • 13,187 alumni of over 85 nationalities, working in more than 75 countries

One of the truly distinguishing characteristics of the CEMS network is its evolving and growing global corporate partners. This commitment to engagement certainly enhances the program and provides an exceptional array of employment opportunities for students, along with research, consulting, and case-writing opportunities for professors.

GNAM—The Global Network for Advanced Management

Imagine 30 business schools, 28 countries, and more than 1,000 students enrolled in networked courses, competitions, and teams. This is the breadth of the GNAM network, formed in 2012. The network includes 13 business schools in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; 10 in Asia Pacific; and seven in the Americas.

One example of the network in action is when, in each term, students across schools team up to work virtually on an assignment as part of a core MBA course. This assignment provides students with real-time, hands-on practice that will be important to their effectiveness in the organizational teams of which they will be a member or leader after they graduate. In the first collaboration two years ago, students from EGADE, HEC-Paris, and Yale SOM participated in this first collaboration, composed of 108 cross-school teams and 515 students.

Other notable assets of the GNAM network are the Global Network Courses, which are for-credit courses offered virtually by a member school and open to students throughout the network. By bringing together MBA candidates from member schools as part of their regular coursework, the courses harness the strengths of the global network on a daily basis. Most recent data indicate that over 4,000 students from 23 schools have participated in nine Global Network Week sessions. The next session is in late 2018.

EMBA Consortium

The EMBA Consortium for Global Business Innovation, launched in 2011, came about when 10 business schools in cities around the world sought to add more global and cultural experiences to their Executive MBA students’ educations. The EMBA Consortium offers EMBA students and alumni an opportunity to experience business in settings different from their own. The consortium enhances previous learning and experiences and focuses on business innovation from a global perspective, which is an essential part of business today.

Through exposure to different markets, teachers, colleagues, companies, government institutions, and cultures, EMBA students and alumni gradually arrive at a shift in thinking about business contexts and approaches—toward more global inclusivity.

Each of the schools that comprise the consortium offer a one-week module simultaneously at all locations that is available to all of their respective EMBA students. Eligible students and alumni select from among the international modules—designed to provide learners with conceptual and experiential activities—that is most aligned with their personal and professional goals.

Continuing to connect with EMBA alumni is a very special component of the EMBA Consortium and, again, reinforces the AACSB philosophy of continuously connecting theory with practice.

Cranfield professor EMBA Consortium director, David Simmons, provides an insightful look at the diversity and richness of this program. Imagine, if you will, students selecting from a variety of one-week immersion options that include “Entrepreneurship and Globalization in an Emerging Economy” at Sabanci University in Istanbul, “Luxury Markets in Real Estate” at the Chapman School at Florida International University, and “Business Models in ICT” at Stellenbosch University in Capetown. These rich, global exchanges add a vibrant dimension to the various EMBA programs and provide, in many cases, lasting memories for the students and alumni.

QTEM Network

Former dean of Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management at Université libre de Bruxelles, and long-time AACSB volunteer, Bruno van Pottelsberghe, was delving into the unique competencies at Solvay with an interest in creating a more global platform for his professors and students at this Brussels-based institution. He also found, quite pragmatically, that many global networks of interest to Solvay were no longer accepting new members.

Van Pottelsberghe’s interest was focused on teaching students skills in analytical and quantitative techniques for decision-making in an international context. The dream that evolved brought together outstanding students, academic institutions, and international corporations. He learned from some of the very best global consortia and what subsequently emerged was one of the newest graduate-level networks: Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management, or QTEM.

QTEM was launched in September 2012 with financial support from the Bernheim Foundation and now impressively includes 24 business schools in 15 countries worldwide. Currently, QTEM also enjoys the support of 15 corporate partners who have direct access to the hundreds of students and alumni in the QTEM network.

All QTEM graduates complete the required level of quantitative and analytical courses and at least one course from the following five QTEM modules, each of which includes a series of courses:

  • Applied Economics and Public Policy
  • Innovation and Strategy
  • Finance and Risk Management
  • Marketing and Supply Chain
  • Business Intelligence and Big Data

Across the vast AACSB network, there are many other alliances, partnerships, exchanges, double- and triple-degree programs, and certificate programs. The richness of the global educational experience cannot be denied. The enormous support provided by the corporate sector becomes a de facto endorsement of the students and graduates of these programs, as well as a testament to the value of corporate engagement.

Tim MesconFollow Timothy Mescon on Twitter @timmescon.