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Rodney Alsup, the new president of the MBA Roundtable, the US-based forum for business schools, says that he hopes to use the position to increase the exchange of business education ideas between North America and Europe.
Prof Alsup, who is also director of international programmes for Asebuss, the Romanian-American Postgraduate School of Business in Bucharest, says that the days when innovation in management education was only in North America are long gone.
“One assumption made too often is that curricular innovation flows from the USA to the rest of the world,” he says.
“This is no longer as true as it once was. From research presented at an MBA Roundtable symposium last November, it was clear that European business schools lead many US institutions in integrating topical issues in their programmes.”
And, from his time in Bucharest, he believes that teaching staff and students in emerging economies such as Romania have experiences to share that could prove valuable as the west faces its own transformational challenges.
“Asebuss Executive MBA students exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit that is unequalled by students enrolled in many MBA programmes around the world,” he says.
One explanation for this, he says, is that many companies and enterprises were either created or had to change dramatically in the free economy of 1989-90. There was a need for new ways of thinking and the fostering of an entrepreneurial approach among employees.
Naturally, Prof Alsup, a former senior associate dean for executive education programmes at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, is not about to throw out the American baby with the bath water.
He cites a recent Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business initiative to “measure learning” as one he is working on transferring to Romania.
Measuring learning is a new concept for business schools and in particular for MBA programmes, he explains.
At a recent AACSB workshop in Frankfurt, more than 30 non-US business programmes sent participants to learn how the US is tackling this concept, he says, adding that he plans to hold workshops on the topic both in Canada and with other teaching staff at Asebuss later in the year.
“Business is changing rapidly, as is the world,” says Prof Alsup, “and it is my hope that, through the work of the MBA Roundtable, with its 150-plus membership, schools all over the globe will benefit from the experience gained through knowledge sharing and collaborative efforts.”