The Imperative for Globalized Business Education

Norm Solomon, professor of management and former dean at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business, and Grant O’Neill, dean of international and accreditation at Curtin Business School, discuss the benefits of having business school campuses in multiple countries and other ways schools can, and must, incorporate international elements into their programs.

December 2016


Why should business schools globalize their programs, and how can they do it?

Grant O'Neill: There are so many benefits to multi-country campuses for students. The curriculum, of course. Fundamentally, if you're teaching across multiple locations then the curriculum needs to be truly international. And that's fantastic, because it means we're producing graduates with a global mindset. That's important and really beneficial.

[00:35] Also, the opportunities for mobility, where students can move seamlessly between campuses, that's fantastic. It really helps, again, to develop a global mindset and expose students to different cultures and different ideas. Really, really valuable.

[00:51] The academic staff, again, the mobility opportunities are just incredible, and research opportunities across multiple locations and bringing international dimensions to research. There are just layers and layers of benefit to having multiple campuses across different countries.

Norm Solomon: [01:09] These students come out with the knowledge of their own cultural environment, but they also understand how business is done across the world, and that's a major achievement of accreditation.

O’Neill: [01:22] Small schools with limited resources need to think very carefully about their choices in terms of going offshore. Partnering with other universities offshore, looking for private providers that they may be able to work with would be a good idea for them, because it will reduce the costs and the resources required.

[01:40] More than anything else, they really need to be thinking about their mission, thinking about strategy, and then allocating resources appropriately. There are lots of complexities in being offshore, of course, and it is resource intensive. So, good partners can help. There are lots of opportunities for working with the universities offshore, and that's something they should really contemplate.

Solomon: [02:04] Offshore education for smaller universities, single campus universities, is not for everyone.

[02:10] What I think is for everyone is for every student, certainly every business student, to have some kind of international experience, either through exchange programs or through, as Grant was saying, having a relationship with a partner school overseas where a student can go over for a semester, a year, a summer, and experience that environment.

[02:30] Same thing for faculty members. Many schools will have faculty members go over and teach for a summer, sometimes a semester if they're on a sabbatical, to get the experience of being international. You don't have to have multiple campuses to do that.

[02:46] The international part of the student experience is critical, especially for business students. We see more and more U.S. schools doing that. European schools are doing that. I think it's really critical.

Filmed September 2016 on site at the Annual Accreditation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.