Prioritizing Local Relevance in the Global Business School Network


What if we took a group of high performing managers from Canadian paper mills and placed them in the Hawassa Industrial Park in Ethiopia. Would they succeed?

Most of us think so. We believe that a large and important part of management experience is transferable across industries and borders. The Canadians know about industrial technology, production efficiency, employee relations, and more; and have well-developed problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. I asked this question to a friend, an expert in leadership and selection in the paper industry, and he insisted the Canadians would succeed “10 out of 10 times” as long as they respect the cultural differences and leave their “Canadian” ways behind. And, he added, “safety would expand exponentially.”

At the same time, we are keenly aware that local conditions have a major impact on success, even in industries in which processes are well-established such as in garment production. In fact, international companies operating in Hawassa have been plagued by a variety of problems. Efficiency has been stubbornly low and turnover persistently high. Since manufacturing employment is still less than 5% of the total, workers have little industrial experience and the attendant discipline. Tardiness and absenteeism are big issues. Workers earn low wages (the main attraction for companies) and, outside of the park, face inflated prices for basic foods and housing as well as many threats to their safety. For an excellent report on Hawassa, see “Made in Ethiopia: Challenges in the Garment Industry’s New Frontier” by Paul Barrett and DorothŽe Bauman-Pauly.

Regardless of whether you answered yes, no, or maybe, your responses to questions like this one can reveal a lot about the work we’re doing at the Global Business School Network (GBSN). Since we were created by the World Bank 17 years ago, our vision has been for the developing world to have the management talent it needs to generate prosperity. We want to achieve that vision by “improving access to quality, locally relevant management and entrepreneurship education for the developing world.” As my experience grows with GBSN, so does my respect for the local relevance part of our mission. Here are three ways that we are prioritizing local relevance in our work.

We Need More Locally-Relevant Knowledge

First, we need more locally-relevant knowledge. Many of the business problems at Hawassa are a consequence of Ethiopia’s history and the development approach pursued by the government, which promised to build infrastructure, keep low wages, reduce red tape, and moderate ethnic tensions to attract manufacturers. So too, the solutions must fit the context. This doesn’t mean our models and proven management practices are not useful. Instead, it means our general concepts are more useful when combined with sharper insights about the local context.

At GBSN we want to increase the production and dissemination of business and management knowledge that is useful in and for the developing world. That includes increasing support for the development and distribution of more case studies featuring emerging economy companies and practices, as well as applied research on specific problems. See, for example, our small grant competition on “Finance, Cybersecurity & Risk Management in the Developing World” in partnership with The SWIFT Institute. We also appreciate working with organizations like the Case Centre and CABELLS in this efforts. Outputs of locally-relevant research can also take new forms, such as databases and software, and can be enhanced by more cross-border, inter-disciplinary, and industry collaborations. Unfortunately, the dominant research model for business schools doesn’t encourage such approaches, or relevance to practice for that matter. So GBSN has a responsibility to steward to the development of new research models for developing world business schools. And that’s why we support the Responsible Research in Business and Management initiative.

Importance of Local Context to Performance

Second, the importance of local context to performance suggests that GBSN should play a special role in supporting education that goes beyond content dissemination. Even globally-portable concepts and techniques are locally applied, and to do that well we need more experiential and peer-to-peer learning. This applies to both local learners and “global” ones. Both should develop a special kind of learning agility that enables them to apply what they learn in one context to solve a problem in completely different one. That’s why GBSN has an experiential learning steering committee and offers training in project-based learning for developing world faculty. It’s also why network members are collaborating to offer more student experiential travel opportunities, company-based projects, and case competitions in and for the developing world.

The Purpose of Research and Education Efforts

Third, the Ethiopia example draws attention to the ultimate purpose of our research and education efforts, which is prosperity for the developing world. Our work is less about spreading the experiences of Western business schools and more about working together towards this shared vision. Our work does not ignore the fact that what constitutes value can vary from place to place, just as physical geography, history, and culture does. It means social as well as economic development matters. It means growth that is inclusive and environmentally sustainable. So to generate prosperity our emphasis on local relevance is essential. After all, as I have been known to say, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved through global leadership, but rather through local initiative.

I should note that questions like the opening one, in which we worry about the transferability of skills, have taken on greater importance with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Many experts predict that the employment impact of AI and automation will be much greater in developing countries, where jobs (e.g., agriculture, manufacturing, business process outsourcing) involve more routine tasks and require little creativity or human interaction. Others point to a huge opportunity to cut new paths to prosperity which were not possible in previous industrial revolutions. Regardless, education and human capital development policies will play a critical role in the future of emerging economies.

Since we started with a question, I would like to close by posing another one that points to another priority on the GBSN agenda. What if we took a successful Tel-Aviv based tech entrepreneur and placed her in Mexico City. Will she be successful? We will explore that question in a future post.

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

10 Questions with GBSN CEO, Dan LeClair

Lisa Leander, Membership Senior Advisor, sits down with GBSN’s recently appointed CEO, Dan LeClair to reflect on his first few months leading the network.

I have had the pleasure to work with Dan LeClair these last three months and get to know him as the leader and champion of GBSN. Before Dan, I worked with Guy Pfeffermann for over eight years, so there is much to learn about each other and our different management styles. I thought I would take this opportunity to get to know who he is, and in doing so share what I discover with our GBSN members.

Lisa Leander: Dan, in two months you have hit the ground running, introducing nearly 20 new members and five new countries to our network. You have an incredible and long history working with business schools globally with over 19 years at AACSB, and also have collaborated with GBSN for many years as well. I imagine there is very little that you haven’t experienced in this field. So tell me, what in the last two months has surprised you the most?

Dan LeClair: I have been surprised about how much genuine enthusiasm there is for the vision of GBSN, which is for the developing world to have the management talent it needs to generate prosperity. Leaders in business schools everywhere in the world want to participate in achieving that vision. And, what’s really cool it that they want to innovate and try new things by working with GBSN.

Lisa: Tell us a bit about how things are going so far, you have had the opportunity to visit several of our members, attend Learning by Doing in India and visit several countries.

Dan: Well, we have a long way to go in order to have the kind of impact we are seeking, but our efforts to build on GBSN’s decade and a half of successful projects have been going well. Since I arrived, we have conducted or participated in successful workshops with educators in India, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Miami (with Latin American deans from Cladea). We have initiated development of several new programs that will not only improve management in the developing world, but also create new opportunities for all of our partner schools to engage in the mission and extend their impact globally.


Lisa: Since the start of your career, you have led or participated in the development of hundreds of conferences. There are so many conferences to attend! Why do you think the GBSN Annual Conference this November, in Lisbon, Portugal is a not to be missed event?

Dan: You are right, I have decades of experience with conferences in the management education industry. Yet, when I started at GBSN, my colleagues asked me, “please don’t mess up our Annual Conference.” I promised. That’s because I have been to previous GBSN conferences and do believe they are special. They are more interactive and relaxed with a genuine peer-to-peer feel. After all, we all share the same purpose. This year’s theme, measuring the impact of business schools, is timely and important.

Lisa: Following on the theme of the conference that you mentioned, where do you feel business schools could have the most impact?

Dan: Locally! I believe business schools are economic and social anchors in their communities and have always said that the Sustainable Development Goals won’t be achieved through global leadership, but rather through local initiative. That doesn’t mean internationalization isn’t important. In fact, global connections enable us to strengthen our impact on the communities we serve. Way more than in any other field of study, business students and faculty all over the world are deeply engaged in projects that benefit organizations and communities in important ways.

Lisa:With so many networks out there, what makes GBSN stand out from the rest?

Dan:Definitely its purpose and focus on the mission. Schools join other networks for the direct benefits they provide. They join GBSN first to participate in achieving the mission. And they benefit as a consequence of that. In the end, we’re told by members that the value they receive is a multiple of what they put in. And part of our job at GBSN has been to increase that multiple.

Lisa: GBSN is one of the few networks that is very focused on building the future leaders and managers of the developing world. What would you say is your own leadership style?

Dan: I’ve been told by colleagues that my favorite question is “how can I help?” From the time I was a youngster playing ball, I always thought my role in life is to help others achieve their goals and objectives. This approach comes naturally to meÑit makes me happy. I also have a strong drive to seek clarity on problems and solutions. I like to boil things down and constantly create and refine ideas with the team. Finally, for good or bad, I think my leadership style has always included a lot of trust. I’ve never been interested in monitoring and expecting to evaluate work before it is completed. When mistakes happen, I just like to learn from them and move on. As you might expect, throughout my career I missed a few opportunities to fix problems before they happened. And, at times, my trust was misplaced. But overall I feel like people have delivered on their commitments and on the high expectations we’ve set together.

Lisa: Is there a favorite book or author that has influenced your leadership style?

Dan: When it comes to leadership, I have been influenced more by working with people than reading about them. One can learn as much or more from bad leaders as good ones. A lot can be learned by asking what is it about this person that I don’t want to emulate. Learning what behaviors to avoid can be easier than trying to figure out how to be like others. Lessons in leadership are everywhere if you take the time to observe, listen, and reflect. Back to your question, I learned a lot about decision making by reading Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. I have also been recommending Adaptive Space by my friend, Michael Arena, for drawing on research and experience to show how social capital works to foster innovation.

Lisa: What do you think your former employees would say about your leadership style?

Dan: Throughout my career I have tried to have regular conversations with colleagues about how we lead and manage. Not just about what we’re good at or able to do, but also about our limitations. For example, we might talk about our limited visibility across the organization, lack of time to review work, and how unrealistic (or conservative) we can be about goals. So these conversations would help me and my colleagues to see things we were missing, understand where there are risks in projects, and be more thoughtful about goals. The point is that these transparent conversations put usÑall of usÑin a better position to lead. All that said, John Fernandes who led AACSB for most of my time there used to say that I bring my head and my heart to everything I doÑand that I’m driven more by the purpose than the paycheck. I do hope all of my colleagues and connections would say these things about me long after I’m gone.

Lisa: I may know a few of your former colleagues, so we’ll see if they agree in the comments! You are looking to launch a few new exciting initiatives, can you tell us a bit more about what members can look out for this year?

Dan: I could go on and on in response to that question. To me, it is the most exciting part about what we’re doing at GBSN. In addition to strengthening the core network, you can expect a stronger emphasis on “local relevance” in new programs and services, especially in creating context-ready knowledge and providing for meaningful experiential learning for the developing world. You can also expect a stronger emphasis on leveraging the network to increase the economic and social impact of business schools.

Lisa: As for my final question, for all our well traveled colleagues out there with all of those miles under their belts, any tips or tricks on how you manage jet lag?

Dan: My secret is to sleep irregularly when at home. If you have no pattern, then there is nothing to break while traveling. Just kidding. I don’t have a secret, I just adapt wherever I am and whatever time it is, and draw energy from learning about the place and its people.

Lisa: Jet lag is the worst! I was really hoping you had a secret solution. Dan, Thank you for sharing your insight with us and I hope you will bring in a copy of those books you recommended to the office.

 width=Dan LeClair 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



 width=Lisa Leander is an international development expert with over 17 years of experience managing capacity building projects globally. In her role as Senior Advisor, Membership at GBSN she supports member engagement strategies and international events. In her previous positions she has overseen USAID, World Bank, U.S State Department trade and entrepreneurship projects globally with a project portfolio of up to $24 million. She has managed overall operations, implemented programs, conducted impact evaluations, negotiated contracts, and built systems in multiple developing countries and contexts. From 2008-2016 Lisa was the Membership Engagement Officer for GBSN where she managed membership strategies and executing international projects.


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 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

The Future of Management Education is Experiential

Not long ago I asked the CLO of very large and well-known multinational company what’s new and, in particular, what they were doing to develop HiPOS (high potentials). She hesitated, unsure about sharing something so significant to the company, and eventually confided that they are bringing them together in cross-functional teams, which will be dropped into remote African villages to solve challenging and important problemsÑand bond at the same time. I wasn’t surprised, but should have been more delicate with my reply. I said, “Well, business schools have been providing those types of experiences for a long time. And with great success.”

For me this brief interaction pointed to three interesting developments in management education. First, it provided an example of the blurring boundaries between what companies and business schools do. Second, it revealed some of the key advantages of ‘learning by doing” to develop managers and leaders. Third, it demonstrated the importance of context in creating meaningful and effective learning experiences.

There was a time when it was all fairly clear. The classroom was where we were taught and the office was where we worked. Advances in information technology changed all that, freeing learners from the confines of the classroom and allowing learning to sync with the rhythm of work and life. More recently, we have begun to realize that education is no longer something to finish before entering the workforce, or an episodic event shortly thereafter, in order to accelerate or transform careers. People must continuously learn and develop throughout their working lives. And so the boundaries between work and education have been blurring. Now, working means learning.

Learning also means working. In a world where content is easy to access, business schools have been given permission to concentrate more on the application of concepts and development of skills. In addition to internships and “real-world” projects, some of the most exciting work in higher education has been in developing the space between academia and practice. Interactive simulations are recreating the workplace within the school and providing a safer (and quicker) place to fail without derailing our careers. Virtual reality and augmented reality are helping us to build new management practice fields and bring more diversity, depth, and data into the learning process.

But technology isn’t everything. As illustrated by the opening example, experiential learning is about people just like management is about people. And it shines when humans interact, co-create solutions, and make a difference together, learning from each other as much as from digital content. They gain experience in handling conflict and navigating differences. And they generate social capital, which is the topic of a previous post called “The Connective Power of Experiential Learning.”

Finally, the opening example shows that experiential learning is about context. It’s not only about putting learners into realistic and challenging work situations, but also about exposing them to the cultural, regulatory, and economic differences that are, and will always be, embedded in business. What works in Canada may not work in Cameroon, Colombia, and Cambodia, or the United States for that matter. Diverse experiences build learning agility, the capacity for rapid learning to address new and unfamiliar situations and problems. That’s why experiential learning has become such an important part of the Global Business School Network (GBSN) mission, which is to improve access to high-quality, locally-relevant management and entrepreneurship education for the developing world.

That’s also why GBSN and S.P. Jain Institute of Management Research (SPJIMR) are co-hosting a Learning by Doing Summit in Mumbai, April 4-5, 2019. It is an intensive and interactive event geared to participants who are looking to develop a new experiential learning program or modify or scale a current one. One particularly exciting part of the program features experiential learning models from SPJIMR. Facilitators will take small groups into the field for hands-on examples of non-classroom learning programs and initiatives. We are proud to announce that CapSim, a global leader in experiential learning for business as well as business education, will participate as a feature sponsor. Generous sponsorships make GBSN’s learning and networking events accessible to those who will benefit the most in emerging economies.

So back to future of management education. It is indeed being shaped by technology, though not only in the disruptive way we often imagine or read about in the news. Technology will take care of the content, making it readily accessible to learners, and it will provide management educators with new resources and tools, such as assessments and analytics, to reach students and improve education. But it will also enable business schools and companies to focus on providing more tangible, human-centered, transformative experiences from which we learn how to lead. The future of management education is experiential.

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

Media Rankings and the Challenge of Change in Management Education

If you could change anything_Ñ_anything at all_Ñ_about your business school, what would it be? In one form or another, that basic question is placed before every business school leader. Whereas “nothing_Ñ_nothing at all” might once have sufficed for the sake of continuity and tradition, it’s no longer viewed as an acceptable response. Business school leaders, like the rest of us, live and lead in an economy described by terms and phrases such as disruptive, exponential growth, Fourth Industrial Revolution, automated, and VUCA. The time to think that business schools can continue teaching what they have, the same way, to the same people, in the same places, and with the same faculty is over. This article is about how business schools are stepping up to the challenge of change and what rankings can and can’t do to support them.

The Challenge of Change

However basic the question_Ñ_”What should our school change ?”_Ñ_the answer is not easy for business school leaders to get to. Different stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, institutional leaders, donors, and local community leaders, have variable and sometimes conflicting needs and expectations. And there is no single right answer that can be shared, passed along across all business schools globally. What truly matters depends on the school’s strategies, strengths, weaknesses, structures, and relationships, as well as on its history and the context in which it operates. Even when a school decides to change, implementing it can be especially challenging in higher education. The culture still favors tradition over innovation and reputation over results.

Like any organization, business schools are part of a larger ecosystem that connects competitors, learners, employers, suppliers, distributors, regulators, and more. The ecosystem includes business and government, startups and incumbents, disruptors and resisters. It includes an expansive group of organizations supporting management education with services, such as admission tests, learning management systems, marketing plans, scholarships and loans, content and cases, certifications, and accreditations. The defining characteristic of an ecosystem is interdependence_Ñ_each organization affects and is affected by the others. Organizations collaborate and/or compete. They flex and adapt. They co-evolve. Change_Ñ_a mutation_Ñ_is risky and may not replicate when it isn’t fit for or doesn’t fit the system, which is itself changing.

Enter the Rankings

For three decades, media-driven rankings have been a significant part of the graduate management education ecosystem. Proponents claim that rankings have been instrumental in turning the MBA into one of the most successful education products in the history of higher education. Some credit rankings for motivating business schools to place more emphasis on soft skills and career services. At the same time, rankings have been criticized for intractable methodological problems, causing excessive and expensive reporting burdens, creating perverse incentives, stifling innovation, and more. Good or bad, the numbers and whether they rise or fall are not inconsequential to the students (including prospects and alumni), faculty, staff, and supporters of a ranked business school.

A new report, Business School Rankings for the 21st Century released in late January at Davos, points to existing research confirming that (a) MBA programs do indeed affect the attitudes and behaviors of students and (b) rankings are a major force shaping what business schools do and don’t do in those MBA programs. Based on this research and round table discussions with deans and other industry leaders, the authors of the report conclude that MBA programs have been slow to adapt curricula in a fast changing world in part because rankings do not_Ñ_by design_Ñ_consider what is actually taught.

Instead of assessing curricula and learning outcomes, the rankings include more easily tabulated variables such as student test scores and prior experience, alumni and recruiter opinions, salaries and placement statistics, and publications in top journals. Over time, MBA programs have adapted to these kind of metrics, with unfortunate results. Change is seen as “too risky”_Ñ_even when there is a strong belief that doing so will improve the quality, relevance, and impact of their program. Why jeopardize our rank by recruiting a more diverse class or one that more favors entrepreneurship? Why expand the business experience of faculty when academic citations count more than relevance to practice? Why take the risk of reinventing the MBA when it could cause even a temporary drop in our rank?

Why, indeed. However compelling the status quo may feel, the report’s main recommendation advises a bolder path: it is time to transform rankings so that business schools will and can do more to achieve a “more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy.”

If that’s what we want, then transforming MBA education is an effective lever. We can seek ways to revise rankings criteria so that schools are rewarded rather than punished for welfare-enhancing changes. While the authors stop short of offering a blueprint for new rankings, they do offer a list “topics that might be put on the agenda,” and acknowledge that some changes will be more controversial and difficult than others. We can already see signs that these recommendations are being heard, as at least one ranking body is reconsidering their formula and new ratings are being co-created by business and academia.

Beyond Rankings: Catalyzing Innovation in the Broader Ecosystem

With the contributions from dozens of stakeholders, from across the media rankings landscape, it’s hard to disagree with this report’s conclusions. Business schools should be enabled, rather than hindered in their efforts to change. Rankings can and should help business schools that want to lead efforts to move purpose ahead of profit and elevate the needs of tomorrow in relation to today. It is, increasingly, what readers and leaders want, and it is what business and society needs. However, rankings reform isn’t enough. They are only one part of the larger system. Rankings are neither the beginning nor the end of what must be done.

So with that, here are three reasons why we must think beyond the rankings to catalyze the kind of changes that society needs_Ñ_and three directions to explore.

First, media rankings have been limited mostly to MBA degree programs offered by a relatively small number of schools. Meanwhile, fueled by technological advances and accelerating change in business, the broader demand for advanced management education has been growing rapidly. Workers are also learners and will need help navigating their own managerial development, connecting to a growing array of shorter educational programs, and signaling their skills and competencies with new types of credentials. Yet, we have only just begun to build the infrastructure to support lifelong learning and the reskilling revolution. Over the last few years, I have been excited to learn about and support many initiatives to better align education to the changing needs of learners and business. These efforts are connecting business and higher education in new and important ways, essentially rewiring labor markets as well as education ecosystems.

Second, it makes sense for rankings to put more weight on the business experience of faculty, but we also need new platforms to strengthen the connections between practicing managers and academic scholars across disciplines. The current systems and culture supporting research are entrenched and will require more concerted efforts beyond rankings reform. That’s where the growing community of leading scholars across business disciplines participating in the Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) initiative have been making a difference by seeding experiments, building new awards and recognitions, and stimulating policy changes across the ecosystem. We are seeing digital disruption in research from new and established companies. They are for example, redefining social networks for scholars and metrics for measuring impact.

Third, while the most powerful rankings are globally-oriented, many of the needed transformations and impacts are local. Global challenges, including poverty, climate, water crises, and human rights_Ñ_require local solutions that business schools can help to create. How will we help schools deal with the pressure to achieve global recognition, largely supported by rankings, and enable them to be locally relevant and impactful at the same time?How do we scale education, even while providing access to locally-relevant content and experiences in developing worlds? Indeed, more and more business schools have started to measure their local impact_Ñ_tracking the companies and jobs they help create and attract, and myriad ways they contribute to improving their communities. These are the challenges that the Global Business School Network addresses by bringing together business schools, industry, foundations and aid agencies from around the globe to improve access to quality, locally-relevant management education for the developing world.

So, yes we must rethink rankings but should not convince ourselves that it is enough for the world we want. Just as any business school should view rankings as a means to achieve its mission and intended impact, rather than as the end, we all should see reforms as part of a larger, shared vision in which business schools are vital to achieving global prosperity. Every part of the ecosystem, including businesses that haven’t yet been created, can play a role in helping business schools to be the kind of institutions that society needs. It is difficult for every part of the ecosystem to change dramatically and overnight, but the larger vision can guide individual and progressive improvements, bending the current path in ways that will make a huge difference in the future.

This blog article can also be found on the GRLI Blog

The GBSN Annual Conference in Lisbon will continue the conversation around Measuring the Impact of Business Schools. Lead the conversation around measuring the impact of business schools by preparing a session proposal for the GBSN 2019 Annual Conference. Submit a session proposal

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

GBSN Board of Directors Names Dan LeClair as Chief Executive Officer

 width=GBSN is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan LeClair as Chief Executive Officer effective February 12, 2019.

Dan LeClair is a widely recognized expert on business education. For over 30 years, LeClair has dedicated his career to supporting higher education organizations to innovate and achieve growth in core programs and services.

“Dan LeClair’s appointment will increase GBSN’s effectiveness and make the organization fit for the future,” said Soumitra Dutta, Chairman of the GBSN Board of Directors. “His extensive experience in business education will help accelerate innovation across the GBSN network.”

Combining a deep knowledge of business schools, an extensive international network, and a focus on strategic and operational excellence, LeClair will lead the advancement of innovative programs that will bridge connections with business schools and industry around the world to catalyze investment in business education as a tool for economic and social development.

“Advancing business education and development worldwide is my passion, and it is an honor to be selected as Chief Executive Officer,” said Dan LeClair. “I look forward to working with the GBSN team and the network base to chart new directions for the organization.”

LeClair comes to GBSN after 19 years at AACSB International, where he served in various leadership positions. His experience includes Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Knowledge Officer. Prior to AACSB International, Dan was an associate dean and an academic economist at the University of Tampa College of Business.

Click here to read Dan LeClair’s full bio

Connect with Dan

Email: dleclair at

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