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Transforming Into a Purpose-Driven Network

July was a big month for the Global Business School Network (GBSN). With leadership from the Board of Directors and network, and the hard work of the team, we achieved five milestones in our transformation to a “purpose-driven network organization” and efforts to significantly scale our impact.

Transitioned to a new website

Quietly, we switched over our new website over a weekend in July. Although we didn’t make a public announcement about it, the new website reflects an important change in GBSN, one that has been chronicled on this blog in the 16 months since I joined the team. See, for example, GBSN’s Strategic Direction posted in December, 2019.

The new website adds the last year to our story. It now describes a powerful purpose-driven network built on a 17-year history of impact. To be sure, GBSN remains true to its original vision “for the developing world to have the management talent it needs to generate prosperity” which it pursues by “improving access to quality, locally relevant management and entrepreneurship education.” The new website also highlights an organization that fosters collective action for the public good, with the network of business schools working together and with business, government, and civil society. And it is provides a platform for our growing efforts to engage faculty and students as well as business school leaders directly in our mission.

Welcomed our first corporate member

We welcomed our first corporate member, Ecobank Academy, with a live video conversation. Please read about this exciting development in a separate blog post with Simon Rey, Head of Ecobank Academy and Group Head: Talent, Learning and Organizational Development. Our aim is to work together over the long term to build a stronger connection between business and business schools in developing the talent needed to build the inclusive and sustainable Africa that Africans want.

Over the last year, we have focused on international diversity in our network, increasing the number of countries our members represent from 39 to 50. Moving forward, look for GBSN to continue growing not only by engaging more business schools in more countries, but also by connecting with more corporate academies, pioneers in digital education, and agile startups in the education ecosystem. Our network strength will come as much from diversity as size. And it will come from its connectivity.

Opened the GBSN Member Portal

On the new website, you’ll notice a “login” link in the top right corner. It provides entry to the GBSN Member Portal. The portal serves as the platform for network participants to manage their work with GBSN. More importantly, it connects the people, the leaders in our expanding network, together. A more connected network means a more powerful one, and the portal will be essential for that reason. Specifically, it will support the development of GBSN Learning Communities, as well as the expansion of Steering Committees and other collaborative initiatives related to our mission.

Launched GBSN’s first Learning Community

In a partnership with Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), we started an Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Learning Community. The first meeting included six leading GBSN member schools from six countries: Ghana, India, Brazil, UK, Egypt, and the USA. The group is now expanding to include schools from Nigeria, China, Lebanon, as well as two startup hubs in the US. The community has three objectives, which are to support peer-to-peer development of entrepreneurs-in-residence programs, share resources across ecosystems, and work collectively to impact our communities, especially through social innovation and empowerment.  We’re excited about the pipeline of additional learning communities already lining up to come online at GBSN.

Announced GBSN Beyond: Virtual Conference Reimagined

We started July by announcing GBSN Beyond during our monthly Cross-Border Collab meeting of members. This week, we opened registration. Reimagining our flagship annual conference, GBSN Beyond includes three tracks, involving business students, faculty, and administrators. Each of the tracks has a core experience and a series of workshops and webinars. For students, in a partnership with Hankan School of Economics we are offering our first international team competition as the core experience. In addition, we will offer a series of career development and learning workshops.

For the faculty core experience, we are partnering with Capsim to engage faculty in a learning lab to develop a series of micro-simulations focusing on management situations in emerging economies, with protagonists also addressing cross-cultural challenges and sustainability issues. Additional workshops are designed to help faculty develop new teaching and research skills.

For administrative leaders in business schools, we are convening three roundtable discussions covering the future of experiential learning, the role of business schools in building more inclusive societies, and the future of globalization in business education—each with fantastic business school partners. We are also offering a leadership development experience and other professional development workshops for administrators.

The tracks culminate in a virtual event, November 9-13, 2020, in which faculty can vote on presentations by finalists in the student competition. Likewise, student participants become the first to use the micro-simulations. And we release three roundtable reports with some fanfare. The students, faculty, and administrative leaders will be brought together by inspiring keynotes, forward-looking panel discussions, and more.

Learn more and register to participate in GBSN Beyond by going to https://gbsn.org/conference/gbsn-beyond/.

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