Della Bradshaw: Hello, I’m Della Bradshaw, Business Education Editor at the Financial Times. A round table discussion between the Deans of 11 top Business Schools was hosted by the Chicago Graduate School of Business in London on July 10th. The FT will bring you four audio extracts of these discussions alongside transcripts on our website. Both the audio and transcripts can be found at www.ft.com\businesseducation.
In this fourth extract the deans answered more journalists’ questions. Participating were Frank Brown, dean of Insead, Robert Joss, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Bernard Ramanantsoa, dean of HEC Paris, Peter Lorange, president of IMD, Arnoud De Meyer, director of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Santiago Iniguez, dean of IE Business School.
To begin with, the deans were asked what sorts of leadership skills are required for a business school dean.
Frank Brown: Starting out recently, and there are others here, I guess too, from my perspective ......I think faculty and, to a great degree, staff if they sense you want to communicate clearly and that you’re willing to run a fair process, they will come on board. So, if you want to make change, as long as you’re willing to have a dialogue about it, it’s not an organisation where you can ram things through. But I think the overriding one from my perspective, and it goes to all constituencies, is the willingness to communicate.
Robert Joss: Well, I would just observe that it’s very different from being a CEO. It’s more analogous, perhaps, to be a managing partner of a professional services firm. If there’s an analogy to industry, that would be the better one, because it is a partnership. It’s a partnership of the faculty and just like in a lot of professional firms, a lot of people don’t aspire to be managing partner, but they know they need a managing partner. And so somebody gets arm-twisted to be the managing partner, and in that way, somebody gets arm-twisted to be the dean. But it’s a lot of listening, it’s a lot of selling, it’s a lot of participation. It’s very different from being a CEO. But, at the end of the day, a lot of the skills are similar in terms of being a very good listener, bridging cultures, raising aspirations and playing whatever role it takes to see that the organisation changes for the better, the school changes for the better.
Frank Brown: I agree with all that, but, again, the structure of the organisation plays a role here too, because in a school like IMD or Insead, we’ve got no net, so you’ve got to be both the CEO and the Managing Partner.
Bernard Ramanantsoa: I think that the difference between the CEO and the deanship is clearly what we call stakeholders. The number of stakeholders is very impressive when you’re a dean. You can’t imagine. And it’s not only the faculty. When we say the faculty, maybe some of you understand one body. In fact, it’s as many bodies as the number of faculty members and each of them has an idea of the strategy, each of them has an idea of the management systems, and so on. And the second answer is, of course, all of us, we have the secret of how to be a good dean, but we won’t publish it and we will keep it for ourselves.
Peter Lorange: Yeah, I think, we have a programme that we call mobilising people. In a sense, what we are talking about there, I find appropriate for what I’m doing too, and I think it has to do with three or four things like fighting bureaucracy, speed, making sure that you implement fast and creating enthusiasm. So, those are fairly obvious points, but all of that tends to get lost and the same is true for me to be effective at IMD.
Arnaud De Meyer: UM But if you get the enthusiasm of everybody, you’re great. The problem is, then, that you have about 18,000 people who are enthusiastic, if you take into account the faculty and the alumni, and that’s great. But it does mean you have 18,000 shareholders who each want to influence you.
Peter Lorange: I know also that of our 55 faculty, four of them take 80 per cent of my time, but I don’t think that should derail in this thinking!
Edward Snyder: I think one thing that’s peculiar about the job especially as it relates to MBAs, is that MBAs come in either every 10 months or 20 months and within about a week of their arrival, they capitalise everything that you’ve done, so they put enormous pressure on you to improve, which is good. So you have to keep in mind two or three things that you’re going to do every year that are visible to MBAs, and they have to see that.
Frank Brown: They have to write in their blogs about them!
Edward Snyder: But that’s not enough. I think there are two other things. One is you still have to talk about how you got to the point where the School is so they have some sense of appreciation for how the school got to where it is, because if you don’t do that, they can be very self-oriented. You’ve got to get them in the sense of, they’re standing on the shoulders of people who have gone before them. And then, with that, I think it’s very important to set expectations of them, that they have to contribute. So, I think setting expectations is a very big part of the job.
Santiago Iniguez: I agree with all of you, but if I may identify three further skills which would be ideal for this job. I would mention strategic vision. I think it’s very important to communicate and to share with your team a vision of the industry where your organisation is going, what are your objectives, and how you see management education in the long run. Then, second, probably diplomatic skills. I’m a frustrated diplomat, you know, and what I realise is that you have to put in practice your diplomatic skills, cross-cultural and related skills, every day with the different stakeholder groups, because you have to deal with each of them in a different way... students, faculty, donors, partners and so on. And maybe third, the skill of balancing things. There’s never a very clear black and white way of proceeding in difficult dilemmas, so you have to balance the interests of the different groups. I find myself throughout the day balancing the different interests of the stakeholder groups all the time.
Della Bradshaw: The second question was about joint programmes between business schools. Do these bring the best of both worlds to the students? Is this a growing trend? And will it lead to a global MBA?
Bernard Ramanantsoa: As you know, we have a joint degree with New York University and London School of Economics. |Two advantages and one disadvantage...............
One advantage is for the students. It’s a joint degree which means that we work together to define the curriculum and to define exactly which kind of faculty must teach, so we try to merge the faculty and that’s very efficient when it works for the students.
It’s also a very good and a very efficient learning process for the faculty involved in such a process. Those are the two advantages for the participants and for the faculty.
The disadvantage is the question of the transaction costs. I mean, you cannot image what it costs. It’s huge. It’s financial cost and transaction cost. When one of the participants is suing the programme because he is not satisfied, you can imagine how it’s difficult to have the different lawyers from the three countries working together. That’s a good example, but when I’m saying good, it’s a very bad example!
Edward Snyder: I’m sorry, Della, I know you’re moderating, but may I ask a follow-up? Can you talk about which dimensions of running the programme entail the most transaction costs... admissions, putting the curriculum together, staffing, student support? Where do the transaction costs get incurred?
Bernard Ramanantsoa: In the definition of the programme between the different faculties, that’s the main issue on that. And the back issues like legal issues, visa issues, rule of the game. I mean, for instance, on harassment, the way of the US, with New York University, the British and us are trying to cope with such an issue. .... Believe me, it’s a huge amount of transaction cost among us. We don’t have the sameness of the game and so it takes a lot of time to debate on that, and it’s difficult to debate with lawyers. Each of them is sure that he is right in his country, so what do you do when you have to have students going through the three programmes, the three schools? Do I answer your question okay?
Edward Snyder: Thank you.
Frank Brown: Well, the Insead-Wharton Alliance is a little bit different because it’s very focussed on participants exchanging for a very short period of time on each other’s campuses. So, for Wharton, what their participants get out of it is an experience in either France or Singapore. For Insead, you get a third experience in the US. I’m interested in Bernard’s comments because we’ve just embarked on a joint executive MBA with Tsunghua and it’s only one month old, maybe a little more. The first intake was very good, but the transactional costs come in really the definition of things. What is really an admitted student? What is a deposit? How much are we going to charge? Who’s going to teach what? I’m hoping that those transactional costs will go down dramatically as the programme goes over time, but I can see what you’re saying based on three months’ experience.
Peter Lorange: I think that maybe the transactional costs can be somewhat smaller in shorter courses. I mean, we talked about maybe some cooperation among European Schools in doctoral programmes, this morning. I think that could be very promising. And I’d like to say also we have two one-way courses with MIT, with the same people teaching it both in Lausanne and in Boston, and it works very well because it’s simple enough to be transaction cost light, which I think is important in these situations, research and teaching.
Edward Snyder: Chicago will not do these joint programmes because these transaction costs, in our judgement, are too high when it comes to degrees. We’ll do the short programmes. Things go wrong in Chicago in our degree programmes, but we don’t want to have the situation where we don’t know whose problem it is, and there are so many dimensions of a programme where things can go wrong. So, our view is, we want to be responsible. That’s why we have our own campus here. That’s why we have our own campus in Singapore. It doesn’t mean that the joint venture model can’t work. It just involves a lot of effort and I think that’s what you’re hearing from these interesting responses. And that’s why you’re hearing Peter talk about the short programmes.
Della Bradshaw: Finally, some US Schools, such as the University of Chicago, have opened campuses in Europe. Do any European Schools plan to open campuses in the US?
Frank Brown: I get this question all the time, because we have two campuses and my view is, we’ll open a third when we’re out of space on the other two, but I think it has to be an economic model decision based upon demand for programmes and capacity of facilities.
Arnoud De Meyer: And I would like to answer to that, that there are European Schools that have campuses elsewhere in the world. So, Insead is in Singapore. You have some activities in China. It’s not a campus, but it’s activities. There’s a very big difference because the United States is a mature, very well served market where the need for another business school is not very high. If you go to Latin America, as Iese has done in one way or another, or you go to China and there you go into a growing, not well served market. So from a pure strategy point of view, it makes sense to focus on those areas rather than to go to areas where there’s actually an abundance of outstanding business bchools. Who needs another business school in the United States, right?
Robert Joss: But they are opening all the time. Yeah. Johns Hopkins was mentioned. The University of California, Santiago... some major universities, realising the point we talked about earlier, that if you don’t have a Business School, you’ve got a problem, so they’re scrambling to come...
Arnoud De Meyer: Yes. That’s existing universities with already a very strong footprint.
Santiago Iniguez: My point, the point I wanted to make is that, from my perspective, the campus of a school, the original campus is a very valuable asset. It’s very difficult to replicate elsewhere. Maybe Frank disagrees, but I wonder whether you can replicate the Parthenon which is in the Acropolis. There’s a perfect replica, you probably know, in Nashville, Tennessee, even with the paintings of the original Parthenon. The experience of Greek things, the atmosphere in the Acropolis is quite unique, so when you actually go to Lausanne or you go to Stanford or to one of our campuses, you actually feel some unique experience that you cannot replicate.......