As business schools, we need to wake up to this changing environment, evolve and embrace internationalization in turn. Internationalization means the opening of new opportunities for business schools, as the worldwide demand for business education increases. However it also poses threats, as the rapid pace of change means that business schools need to embrace the challenge of staying ahead of the curve and anticipating what is to come. To this end we at business schools must focus on (a) strengthening our reputation, (b) differentiating our offering, (c) adapting and (d) staying agile.
Strengthening our reputation
In an ever-expanding, increasingly international industry with a growing number of competitors emerging from developing and mature markets alike, it is of the essence that business schools focus on building their international brand and reputation in a way that differentiates them. As an academic institution, one of the main ways to enhance a brand is through investing in research and through encouraging faculty to engage in the international academic community. Being the home institution for the oft-cited, for the note-worthy, and for the world-renowned experts in any field is a boon for a school seeking to stand out and stay relevant. Schools need to truly invest in their programs and their students, creating learning experiences that not just resume-building but life-changing. This will build a network of alumni and advocates, who promote the school throughout the rest of their careers and to whatever corners of the world those careers lead them. This is incredibly powerful. Visible alumni and highly-reputed faculty and programs are key for building a strong brand, and having challenging, thoughtful programs is key both to attracting these individuals and to forming them into the type of actors in business and society who will be successful in the future. This community of word-of-mouth advocates and reputation ambassadors must be nourished. Alumni must be engaged, invited to attend regular events, provided with valuable information and encouraged to help educate and network with current students. Formal education must be considered a life-long process, not just a brief period of intense engagement. Building a dynamic, cross-generational community is critical.