Artigo muito legal retirado do blog Deans Talk.
Business Schools: America x Europe
previous student of Dartmouth College and MBA Instituto de Empresa.
As an alumnus of both the American school system, namely Dartmouth College, and the MBA program at Instituto de Empresa perhaps I can provide a shareholder’s view to this fascinating conversation between the Deans…
When deciding on a business school to attend, there are some striking visual differences one gets immediately upon viewing schools on either side of the Atlantic. The two schools I most heavily considered in the United States were Tuck, the business school of my alma mater, and Kenan Flagler, the business school of the University of North Carolina, located in my hometown of Chapel Hill. Both are impressive to behold in person. Kenan Flagler sits atop a hill, overlooking the valley that is home to the Dean E. Smith Center, the Santiago Bernabeau of North Carolina where basketball is a religion. Nestled among soaring pines Kenan Flagler is a castle built of the red brick so often seen in North Carolina. Tuck, with its columned façade, is the regal exclamation point at the end of short lane (appropriately named Tuck Dr.) lined with some of the older buildings of a College that predates the very nation it sits within. The dark rich browns of the woodwork within seem forged by the history of school’s lengthy prestige. The impression is captivating in a country where so few things aren’t intended to impact their newness upon an observer.
In contrast European business schools look like charming places of business rather than castles in the kingdom of Business. One need not read the fine print of admissions literature to note a resource difference. In weighing the pro and cons, one quickly notes the greater diversity of programs and students in a European MBA to counterbalance the resource disparity. But additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the newness of the European MBA programs leave them unshackled by the weight of historical customs and the sometimes burdensome allegiance to tradition that we Americans are so quick to criticize in Europe. European programs are much faster to innovate. European schools borrow heavily from their American counter parts, but also from a larger bag of ideas, be they derived from national traditions or wholly new ideas. Changes in the curriculum, the length and structure of the program, the way disciplines are taught, the composition of the student body, et al. happen with a frequency and depth that an older institution would find unsettling. The rapid improvement of European MBAs is a testament to the value of this ability to innovate and evolve quickly.
There are differences within the student culture that color the educational experiences as well, and here I am somewhat reliant on my close friends matriculating at MBA programs in the United States. The most relevant is the greater comradery and degree of collaboration among students in a European management program. It is hard to determine the exact cause of this difference. Certainly, the more aggressively competitive culture of American business plays a role. But what most impressed me about European business schools was the active manner in which the students seek to gain from the differing experiences of their classmates both within the classroom and after the books close. This active integration exponentially enhances the value of diversity and provides an understanding and skill set I am not convinced are matched in an American program. Perhaps the greater diversity of European MBA programs attracts students predisposed to maximize the range of experiences and viewpoints of their fellow colleagues.
The relationships between the alumni and the institutions differ as well. Alumni of European programs maintain an interest in their programs. There are efforts to manage the brand and the ranking is closely followed, but mostly it is a passive relationship. Alumni of American institutions are more like citizens than former students. They actively seek to improve and defend the school either through donations of time and money or through constructive criticism. Brand management plays a role here as well, but beyond that there is a sense of connection to the great people of the past, present and future that walked those halls and an onus to uphold the institution. The ramifications of this extend beyond alumni giving and affect networking, job searching, and the image of the school within the business world. Is this a function of time or can European MBAs quicken the development of this bond between alumni and school?
Much has been said to whether America and Europe are convergent or divergent Western ways of thinking. There is concern on both sides as to where the meeting point may be or whether a schism might reduce the ability to borrow from each other. As someone with a vested interest in each, I would prefer a model more akin to a double helix, closely and intricately linked but forever distinct.
Artigo muito legal retirado do blog Deans Talk.