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CEO’s Message: Creating Locally-Relevant Content and Experiences

Dear GBSN Member Teams,

Thank you for such a warm welcome to the Global Business School Network (GBSN). It has been a little more than a month since I started as CEO. During that time I met many of you and have been energized by the work we are doing together. Your commitment to improving access to quality, locally relevant management and entrepreneurship education for the developing world is palpable. And that makes GBSN truly distinctive and vital to the future not only of management education, but also of business and society.

As you read this letter, the GBSN Experiential Learning Committee, featuring leaders in the field from Tuck, George Washington, Darden, and MIT Sloan, is on its way to Mumbai to lead our fourth Learning by Doing Summit. With more than 60 participants from across Asia, it will surely exceed our expectations in terms of impact. Many thanks to Feature Sponsor Capsim and supporting sponsor StratX Simulations, as well as our host SP Jain Institute of Management and Research! In the future GBSN will continue to exercise its strength in convening to build knowledge, experiences, and relationships relevant to developing world management and entrepreneurship.

There is no doubt that it is getting easier to access educational content in business and management. Unfortunately, the vast majority of what’s available has been created from a developed world perspective. It is much harder to find something that was created for developing world learners and the companies they will work for, as well as start. The fact is that business and management is contextualÑthere are significant economic, regulatory, and cultural differences that still matter. And with current trends these differences are not shrinking.

This simple observation reminds us that GBSN’s challenge is not only to build management education capacity, but also to do it in a way that is more relevant to developing world managers and leaders. That’s one reason why our work to improve experiential learning is so important. It enables learners to apply general management concepts in a developing world context.

We have been building new platforms to focus as much on local relevance as on access. This month, for example, we will announce two new programs. The first a collaborative project with the SWIFT Institute, which “funds independent research, supports knowledge-led debate and provides a forum where academics and financial practitioners can learn from each other.” It is an initial step towards asserting a leadership role in facilitating the creation of new knowledge that is relevant to developing world business. This is especially important since many of the current incentives in business education don’t support the kind of research that can be most useful to developing world applications. The second program is part of an initiative to connect management learners (from economies of all types) to immersive experiences and projects. Developed world students of business can be transformed by meaningful developing world experiences, and vice-versa.

The cool part about these initiatives is that they will provide more opportunities for member schools to involve their faculty, students, and leaders in pursuing the mission of GBSN. In fact, these initiatives are made possible by GBSN members and partners who are passionate about the purpose. We look forward to telling you more about these programs and several others being developed.

Over the course of 16 years GBSN has done many things to build management education capacity in the developing world. For example, we were original partners for Goldman Sachs’ 10K Women, built and delivered faculty development programs, conducted useful feasibility studies, and currently partner with Johnson & Johnson to deliver their Management Development Institute in Sub-Saharan Africa. To ensure that we continue to build on our experiences, we have brought back a familiar face, Lisa Leander. Lisa worked for eight years at GBSN. She will continue her work with companies doing business in the Gulf while reconnecting with GBSN members worldwide. Read this message from Lisa. We have added others to the team as well, and you can already begin to meet them on our website www.gbsn.org. They are people of a world that reflects our mission, and we will introduce them in the coming weeks.

Dan LeClair width= is the Chief Executive Officer at the Global Business School Network. Widely recognized as a thought leader in management education, Dan is the author of over 80 research reports, articles, and blogs, and has delivered more than 170 presentations in 30 countries.

Connect with Dan on LinkedIn and Twitter @drleclair