23 Oct 2014

Strategic internationalisation for business and management schools

The internationalisation of business and management education can be seen as a response to the globalisation of educational markets worldwide. Just like operatives in other industries touched by globalisation, management education providers have adopted different strategies in their search for progress and legitimacy. There is no doubt that business and management schools have shared elements of practice but, fundamentally, business education remains a theatre for strategic choice.

Some of the paths to internationalisation adopted by business and management schools are more considered or more strategic than others, some more encompassing or comprehensive. What, then, are some of the core principles of business school internationalisation?

  1. There is an internationalisation imperative. The capacity for institutions to isolate themselves from global competition is diminishing and isolation is not a viable option.
  2. Internationalisation strategies should be defined and aligned with institutional mission, vision and values. Ideally they should have a strongly proactive component as opposed to an essentially reactive character.
  3. Strategic internationalisation is not one and the same thing as comprehensive internationalisation, where the emphasis is on breadth. Legitimate internationalisation strategies can have narrower focus or genuine breadth depending on the objectives and capacity of the institution.
  4. The use of bilateral partnerships and international networks is central to effective internationalisation, delivering synergistic benefits and extending both knowledge and capacity. These may support area strategies (eg the internationalisation of programmes) and/or extend the presence and reach of institutions.
  5. Business schools engaged in internationalisation should be cognisant with international quality standards and may use these in order to help guide and support their development. Leading accreditation frameworks for programmes (eg EPAS) or institutions (eg EQUIS & AACSB) offer instruction and the means by which to benchmark performance at international level.
  6. Stakeholder engagement is key in designing and implementing effective internationalisation strategies, as is sensitivity to cultural differences within and between organisations, national and regional settings. This demands an understanding of our stakeholder map and a sensitivity to stakeholder perspective on operational and strategic considerations.
  7. Strategic implementation plans or roadmaps should be developed, monitored and communicated effectively.

If these are seven virtues in internationalisation, there are just as many sins. An upcoming EAIE Academy course will identify and discuss the seven deadly sins of business school internationalisation. Looking at a mix of case examples and recent studies, the workshop will identify some of the regular failings in internationalisation and some of the most common pitfalls for those in early and mid-stage internationalisation processes. The workshop will give you the opportunity to assess current practice within the business and management school community in order to map out internationalisation strategies across key dimensions: research, education, faculty, branding and positioning.

From Evagrius to Bologna, we have something to share with you and much to learn together! Sign up by 27 October for the workshop ‘Strategic internationalisation for business schools: a quality management perspective’ taking place 20–21 November 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.

Simon Mercado, Nottingham Business School, UK & Mathias Falkenstein, LUISS School of Business and Management, Italy

strategic internationalisation for business schools