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Down Memory Lane with the Association of African Business Schools

guy_pfeffermann_webI was at Lagos Business School last month for the Association of African Business School’s annual conference. This was a lovely opportunity for me to meet old friends again and to reflect on progress achieved during the past decade. In 2005 GBSN, then a part of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, convened a workshop at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration Ð the location of this year’s GBSN annual conference – on business school accreditation and quality assurance. Much to my surprise few of the two dozen deans of African business schools who were there had ever met before. After two days of discussions the African participants saw a strong need for creating an association. They met again later that year at Lagos Business School, when AABS was founded. Today AABS is a network of 45 African business schools.

Lagos Business School is an impressive success story. Started in 1991, it developed to the point where these past few years it has been one of the Financial Times worldwide top 50 open executive education programs. I was delighted to visit the new campus of the Pan-Atlantic University with Professor Albert Alos, LBS’s founder. Today the University includes an undergraduate School of Business Administration, a School of Media and Communication, and the Center for Enterprise Development.

GBSN worked with LBS, Harvard Business School and South Africa’s Gordon Institute of Business Science on the creation of a faculty mentoring program Ð Teaching the Practice of Management Ð which has been run annually these past ten years, first by GBSN, later by AABS. The program is designed to mentor African faculty in the art of case teaching. Over 500 faculty have taken this course, and by now a sizable contingent of repeat participants have become master teachers.

GBSN also collaborated with LBS’s entrepreneurship center in crafting a terrific modular Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. Started in a back office of LBS, the Enterprise Development Center is now housed in one of Lagos’s greenest buildings. The program equips small business owner/operators with tools that enable them to expand sales, employment and other contributions to society. EDC inspired Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Women capacity-building and scholarships program as it built entrepreneurship programs around the developing world.

It took twenty-five years of single-minded dedication to quality and relevance for LBS to become the center of excellence it is today. I am very proud that GBSN had a part to play in that journey. LBS is a member school of GBSN’s Executive Board.

Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder & CEO of the Global Business School Network