CEO Magazine - Volume 33

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Technology Technology does does notnot change change thethe world. world.

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People People

Global Global Executive Executive MBA MBA / Winter 2020




new entrant to this year’s online global MBA rankings, Torrens University Australia (TUA) found themselves ranked in the top 20; an impressive achievement for any school, particularly in their inaugural year. Whilst this may not come as a surprise to those familiar with TUA, we wanted to look beyond the ranking data and placement to better understand the secret sauce in TUA’s MBA recipe. The first point of note is that TUA is not a university married to tradition which, given the current climate, is certainly advantageous. Rather, tradition, via the acquisition of Chifley Business School (CBS), augments an MBA offering which values relevancy and innovation, supported by Laureate, the network of international universities, of which TUA is a part. So, let’s find out more… Q. Can you tell us a little bit about TUA and the role that CBS and Laureate play in your MBA offering? It is very much a story of synergies between the higher education philosophies underpinning the two entities. TUA's orientation toward practical, workplacerelevant professional skills is also the pedigree of CBS. TUA was recognised by an act of the South Australian parliament in 2013 (Torrens University Australia Act 2013), making it the 40th university in Australia and the first new university for 20 years. TUA is a private university and is part of Laureate International Universities, the leading global network of accredited universities and higher education institutions with more than 850,000 students enrolled at over 25 institutions with more than 150 campuses worldwide. In regards to CBS, from its commencement in 1989 (as APESMA Management & Education), the school provided an applied academic curriculum, the quintessence of work-ready learning, true to their 'From Industry, For Industry' maxim. Rebranded Chifley Business School in 2004 (Ben Chifley was Australia's sixteenth Prime Minister from 1945-'49), the MBA programme was ranked top 20 by the Australian Financial Review's (AFR) MBA Boss ranking in 2011, 2013, and 2014. Further, CBS was also ranked #1 Distance Education Provider by AFR in 2011. TUA acquired CBS on the 7th July 2015, integrating much of the school's content into the TUA MBA programme. The acquisition of CBS enabled the MBA programme to offer greater reach through face-to-face delivery at six of TUA's Australian campuses in addition to a more widespread online delivery. Thus, we have CBS's rich heritage of providing

8 / Summer 2020

an industry-focused MBA encapsulated in the core beliefs of TUA as part of the global Laureate International University network. Laureate International University commenced in 1999, with the vision of its founder Douglas Becker "to offer higher education with a unique multicultural perspective" (, instilling a global-mindset in our graduates. At the core of Laureate's belief is the power of education to change lives; "when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit". Q. Given the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the executive-education landscape, significant emphasis has been placed upon the provision of online learning and the migration of on-campus students. How have you dealt with said migration, and has there been a 'bedding-in period'? Prior to the COVID outbreak, TUA was delivering MBA programmes online, so the transition for us was relatively seamless. Across all of our schools (Business, Education, Health, Design & Hospitality), we were able to transition 1,241 weekly face-to-face classes to fully online over two days! The transition did necessitate additional (online) training to sharpen staff competencies. TUA is an innovative and extremely agile organisation, and it was wonderful to witness how eagerly the whole academic staff embraced change and upskilled (where necessary) to meet the challenges of 'the new normal'. Our culture of continuous learning has also resulted in on-going 'discovery' and 'tweaks' being constantly shared to advance best-practice on a virtual platform. Further, rather than standing still, we are piloting many innovations, processes, and practices to 'raise the bar' of what excellence in online delivery looks like. Q. Given that Laureate Education is the largest education network in the world, you have significant resources and expertise at your disposal. What does this mean for your online infrastructure, and how does it benefit your students? "Laureate has developed a range of unique products and initiatives. For example, One Campus® and One Faculty® by Laureate – integrative web-based platforms that give students and faculty members from any institution in the Laureate network access to resources to help them acquire skills, global learning, and development opportunities, and to connect with peers from around the world" ( / Summer 2020

Since its inception, TUA has operated in a 'virtual' space. Although familiar now to all in a COVID-19 world, TUA has always communicated online. From the daily operational and executive meetings to the whole-of-staff 'town halls' - all have been conducted online across all of our campuses in Australia since we began. These competencies translate into high levels of academic staff confidence in the virtual classroom, where the interaction and engagement of students are encouraged on a number of digital platforms and tools. Q. The investment (time, effort, and money) that goes into the development of online learning tools, experiences, and outcomes is significant. With many institutions now playing catch-up, will we see an even greater divide in regards to the quality of online MBA programmes? A great question, which is probably best answered as two questions. There has been a belief that online learning is inferior to faceto-face. The 'sense of community' provided in a face-to-face environment cannot be truly satisfied online. However, the misplaced belief that all aspects of online learning are inferior will inhibit discovery and innovation in the virtual classroom. Folks with this belief may squander the unparalleled opportunity we have at present to not only polish and refine 'virtual' delivery, but to also discover the areas where online learning is superior. So, I think the 'greater divide' between the quality of MBA programmes may occur between the early adopters of virtual classroom technologies (where programmes thrive) and the laggards immobilised by their wish for the world we've lost (and perhaps a longing for an Elvis concert?). The old world will not return. Most higher-education providers tacitly accept that the old world will be supplanted by 'blended delivery' after the pandemic. Secondly, our current 'isolation' environment has brought empathy, pastoral care, and community to the forefront. Even MBA programmes with similar content will be differentiated by the emotional intelligence (EQ) of lecturers, after the pandemic. Those immobilised by their 'longing for Elvis' will fail to recognise how paramount EQ will become in a post-COVID world… and so lecturer soft-skills will also contribute to the perceived quality of MBA programmes in the future. The COVID pandemic has accelerated technological advancement by a decade. From communication platforms like SKYPE, Zoom, and Teams to the delivery of education, technologies and innovation are rapidly

“We prepare students with a suite of strategies for all the, 'what if…?' disruptions. These critical thinking attributes, combined with high emotional and cultural intelligence, are what employers continually list as a job applicant's greatest success factors.”


evolving. A great time to experiment, learn, and listen to your students… and repeat.

“Most highereducation providers tacitly accept that the old world will be supplanted by 'blended delivery' after the pandemic.”


Alex Bolt is the director of MBA programmes for Torrens University Australia. 10

Q. Have you seen an increase in applications to your online MBA programme and, if so, is this simply a trend or the start of on-campus displacement? Yes, we are seeing an increase in MBA enrolments as many professionals recognise COVID (isolation) as a perfect time to upskill. Further, our Graduate Certificate of Business Administration (GCBA) has also increased in popularity as people are keen to 'put their toe in the water' and experience a small taste of what the MBA offers. Since we are entirely online now, it is impossible to evaluate preference for this mode of study. We are noticing three trends, however: increasing levels of class attendance online, greater student engagement, and displaced workers embracing higher education. The first two categories reflect student isolation, fear, and uncertainty – we provide some sense of stability in these uncertain times. Our innovation, improvements in online delivery, and increased pastoral care are also probably contributing to in-class engagement. The final trend explains our increased enrolments: people in isolation, fearing unemployment in the future and pursuing further education at this time. It will be interesting to observe any changing attitudes to online study after the pandemic. Q (a). As travel restrictions ease, students wanting to study internationally will not only have to consider the academic environment but the education destination. Given Australia's handling of the Coronavirus crisis and the incredibly low number of cases in the country, do you expect there to be an uptick in international students? While we remain cautious, Australia seems to have managed the outbreak quite well. Australia has traditionally been the third choice (behind America and England) for international students, and perhaps our management of the pandemic will elevate our status as a favoured destination, once borders open. As an island nation, there is a real possibility Australia can maintain very low infection numbers while the whole world waits for a vaccine. The longer we wait, the more attractive Australia will become as international students balance the risks of a world living with the virus. Q (b). How will TUA meet this potential demand and, at the same time, keep oncampus students safe?

TUA places a high premium on the safety and wellbeing of both students and staff. We are guided by the authorities on our response to the pandemic and will always meet or exceed recommendations (cleaning, social distancing, and room occupancy rates). Our care for student wellbeing will translate into a cautionary stance on return-to-campus – it is unlikely we will be the first university to throw open our doors. When we do, it will be with the highest safety measures. TUA has experienced robust year-on-year growth since we began. Our management has always stepped up facilities by opening, extending, or relocating campuses to meet demand. Q. Can you talk about some of the innovations you have employed, e.g., Success Coaches, that set TUA apart from the competition? TUA offers students a number of advantages, not all of them 'innovations'… Our success coaches are certainly one of our strengths. From providing assistance in subject selection, or guidance on effective study habits, to pastoral care when life becomes complicated, our success coaches perform a tireless task as a friend to our students. Our smaller class sizes also enable a personal connection with lecturers, who are approachable and will genuinely guide students on their journey. In addition to PhD qualifications, the majority of our academic staff also come from successful careers in industry – most are still active as consultants, advisors or board members. This translates into 'real' classroom learning: lecturers from industry backgrounds, contemporary case studies, and global issues. In our most recent accreditation, the regulator commended TUA on its connection to industry. Q. What can potential students expect from both TUA and their MBA degree, post-graduation? A TUA MBA will change the way a student thinks. Every subject in our programme promotes analytical thinking – thinking outside the box, scenario thinking. We prepare students with a suite of strategies for all the, 'what if…?' disruptions. These critical thinking attributes, combined with high emotional and cultural intelligence, are what employers continually list as a job applicant's greatest success factors. We have often connected our highest performing students with real industry positions before they leave us. A TUA MBA produces commercially astute, highly employable global citizens. / Summer 2020

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he benefits attached to an MBA are well documented: career progression, networking opportunities, personal development, salary... and the list goes on. However, in an increasingly congested market, selecting the right business school can be difficult, which is far from ideal given the time and investment involved. Using a ranking system entirely geared and weighted to fact-based criteria, CEO Magazine aims to cut through the noise and provide potential students with a performance benchmark for those schools under review.

Weighting of Data Points (full-time and part-time MBA)

Quality of Faculty:

34.95 %

International Diversity:


Class Size:




Faculty to Student Ratio: Price:

7.76% 5.83%

International Exposure:


Work Experience:


Professional Development:


Gender Parity:


Delivery methods:

*EMBA Weighting: Work experience and international diversity are adjusted accordingly.

3.8% 0%


10 %

GLOBAL MBA RANKINGS Business School Country AIX Marseille Graduate School of Management Monaco American University: Kogod North America Appalachian State University* North America Ashland University North America Aston Business School UK Auburn University: Harbert North America Auckland Institute of Studies New Zealand Audencia Business school France North America Bentley University: McCallum North America Boston University: Questrom Brunel Business School UK Business School Netherlands The Netherlands California State University-Chico North America California State University-​Long Beach North America California State University-East Bay North America California State University-San Bernardino North America City University: Cass UK College of William and Mary: Mason North America North America Colorado Technical University Concordia University Canada Crummer Graduate School North America of Business at Rollins Germany Darmstadt Business School Durham University Business School UK EBS Business School Germany 12

15 %

20 %

25 %

30 %

35 %

**Online MBA Weighting: Delivery mode and class size are removed.


Business School Emlyon Business School ESADE Business School EU Business School

Country France Spain Germany, Spain and Switzerland Florida International University North America Fordham University North America GBSB Global Business School Spain George Washington University North America North America Georgia State University: Robinson France Grenoble Graduate School of Business Griffith University Australia Canada HEC Montréal HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management Germany Hofstra University: Zarb North America Hult Internatonal Business School North America IAE Business School Argentina IFM University Switzerland North America Indiana University: Kelley Portugal ISEG – University of Lisbon Kennesaw State University North America Kent State University North America Australia La Trobe University Nigeria Lagos Business School Lancaster Management School UK Leeds University Business School UK

*Some data unavailable / Summer 2020

GLOBAL MBA RANKINGS Business School Country Loyola Marymount University North America Maastricht School of Management The Netherlands Macquarie Business School Australia Canada McMaster University: DeGroote MIP Politecnico di Milano Italy Nebrija Business School Spain Newcastle University Business School UK Nyenrode Business University The Netherlands Pepperdine University: Graziadio North America Queens University of Charlotte North America RMIT University Australia Saint Joseph's University: Haub North America SBS Swiss Business School Switzerland Canada Simon Fraser University: Beedie Swinburne University of Technology Australia Texas A&M University-​College Station: Mays North America North America Texas Christian University: Neeley Egypt The American University in Cairo The Instituto Tecnológico Mexico Autónomo de México (ITAM) Portugal The Lisbon MBA Catolica|Nova* Australia The Univerisity of Newcastle Australia Australia The University of Adelaide Australia Torrens University Australia France Toulouse Business School Toulouse Business School France and India (with IMM Bangalore) Trinity College Dublin School of Business Republic of Ireland University of Business and International Studies Switzerland United International Belgium, Italy Japan, Business Schools the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland University of Akron North America University of Alabama: Manderson North America Canada University of Alberta University of Baltimore North America North America University of California at Davis North America University of California-San Diego: Rady New Zealand University of Canterbury


Business School Country University of Chile FEN-CHILE Chile University of Delaware: Lerner North America North America University of Denver: Daniels UK University of Exeter University of Kentucky: Gatton North America University of Liverpool Management School UK University of Maine North America University of Massachusetts-Amherst: North America Isenberg University of Massachusetts-Boston North America University of Massachusetts-Lowell North America University of Nebraska-Omaha North America University of North Carolina-Charlotte: Belk North America University of North Carolina-Wilmington: Cameron North America University of Oklahoma: Price North America North America University of Oregon: Lundquist New Zealand University of Otago Business School North America University of Pittsburgh: Katz North America University of Portland: Pamplin University of Pretoria South Africa Gordon Institute of Business Science North America University of Richmond: Robins UK University of Sheffield Management School University of South Australia Australia North America University of South Florida: Muma North America University of Tampa: Sykes North America University of Texas at Arlington University of Texas-​Dallas : Jindal North America North America University of Texas-San Antonio University of the Sciences North America North America University of West Georgia Australia University of Western Australia Business School University of Wollongong Sydney Business School Australia Australia Victoria Graduate School of Business North America Virginia Tech: Pamplin North America Walsh College Willamette University: Atkinson North America Xavier University North America

TIER TWO Business School Baylor University: Hankamer Bryant University* Butler University Drake University Fairfield University* Gonzaga University* Jacksonville University* Marquette University Northwest Missouri State University Oakland University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Lally Rochester Institute of Technology: Saunders Seattle University: Albers / Summer 2020

Country North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America

Business School Suffolk University Texas State University: McCoy* University of Cincinnati: Lindner* University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisville* University of Michigan-Flint* University of New Mexico: Anderson* University of North Alabama University of North Texas University of Southern Queensland University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: Lubar Virginia Commonwealth University

*Some data unavailable

Country North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America Australia North America North America




1 City University: Cass 2 Maastricht School of Management

UK The Netherlands

3 Audencia Business school


5 Swinburne University of Technology

38 University of Wollongong Sydney Business School

9 Hult Internatonal Business School

40 University of Alberta


42 Washington State University: Carson

North America


43 California State University-East Bay

North America


11 Business School Netherlands

46 Boston University: Questrom

North America

47 MIP Politecnico di Milano

France The Netherlands

13 Kennesaw State University

North America

14 Global OneMBA (Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-EAESP);

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM); Tecnológico de Monterrey (EGADE); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC); and Xiamen University, School of Management (SMXMU))

15 Maastricht University

North America Italy

49 Pontifical Catholic University of Chile =50 University of Chile FEN-CHILE

South Africa


48 Rochester Institute of Technology: Saunders =50 Lagos Business School 51

The Netherlands

North America Chile Nigeria Chile

Kent State University

North America

52 Fordham University

North America

53 Loyola Marymount University

North America

54 McMaster University: DeGroote Brazil, China, Mexico, the Netherlands and North America



45 IfM Institut für Management

12 University of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science


44 ESADE Business School

North America

10 Grenoble Graduate School of Business




7 University of Ottawa: Telfer 8 University of Texas-San Antonio

North America

41 United International Business Schools

Autónomo de México (ITAM) 6 IFM University Switzerland


38 Baylor University: Hankamer

4 The Instituto Tecnológico



55 University of Pittsburgh: Katz

North America

56 The University of Alabama: Manderson

North America

57 University of Texas at Arlington

North America

58 Texas A&M University-​College Station: Mays

North America

59 Virginia Tech: Pamplin

North America

16 Rutgers Business School

North America

17 University of Denver: Daniels

North America

61 University of Oklahoma: Price

North America


=62 University of Kentucky: Gatton

North America

=62 University of Oregon

North America

18 SBS Swiss Business School 19 Villanova University

North America

20 Georgia State University: Robinson

North America

=21 Emlyon Business School


60 University of Exeter


64 University of Tampa: Sykes

North America

65 University of North Carolina-Wilmington:

=21 University of Texas-​Dallas : Jindal

North America

22 Florida International University

North America

66 Auburn University: Harbert

North America North America


North America

23 Trinity College Dublin School of Business Republic of Ireland

67 University of South Florida: Muma

24 IMM Global Executive EMBA

68 University of Bradford School of Management UK and Dubai

69 University of California-San Diego: Rady

North America

70 Texas Christian University: Neeley

North America


(Purdue University-West Lafayette: Krannert, TIAS School for Business and Society Tilburg, North America, Tianjin University, the Netherlands, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV- EBAPE), China, Brazil, MIP Politecnico di Milano Italy and ISM University of Management and Economics) and Lithuania

25 INCAE Business School

Saint Joseph's University: Haub

North America

72 College of William and Mary: Mason

North America

73 California State University-​Long Beach

North America

74 University of New Mexico: Anderson*

North America

75 Marquette University

North America

76 Suffolk University

North America

77 Xavier University

North America

78 Seattle University: Albers

North America

North America

79 Jacksonville University*

North America

New Zealand

80 Aston Business School*


Costa Rica

26 The American University in Cairo 27 Purdue University-West Lafayette: Krannert

Egypt North America

28 Simon Fraser University: Beedie EMBA & EMBA-IBL 29 RMIT University 30 University of Nebraska-Omaha 31

Massey University

32 Concordia University 33 Pepperdine University: Graziadio 34 IAE Business School

Canada Australia

Canada North America Argentina

81 Hofstra University: Zarb*

North America

82 University of North Alabama

North America

83 The Lisbon MBA Catolica|Nova*

35 Virginia Commonwealth University

North America

84 Crummer Graduate School

36 Oakland University

North America

37 Durham-EBS Executive MBA


Germany and UK

of Business at Rollins

85 University of Lousiville*

*Some data unavailable

Portugal North America North America / Summer 2020

GLOBAL ONLINE MBA RANKINGS Rank 1 EU Business School 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 =9 =9 =10 =10 11 =12 =12 =13 =13 14 15 =16 =16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Country Germany, Spain and Switzerland Switzerland Spain Switzerland New Zealand Australia

SBS Swiss Business School Nebrija Business School United International Business Schools University of Otago Business School Macquarie Business School University of Business and International Studies Switzerland University of South Australia Australia Massey University New Zealand University of Denver: Daniels North America Durham University Business School* UK MIP Politecnico di Milano: International Flex EMBA Italy Jack Welch Management Institute North America La Trobe University Australia University of Bradford School of Management UK Pepperdine University: Graziadio North America The EuroMBA (Aix-Marseille, Audencia Nantes, EADA, France, Germany, HHL Leipzig, Kozminski University the Netherlands, and Maastrict University) Poland and Spain Maastricht School of Management The Netherlands MIP Politecnico di Milano: Flex EMBA Italy Georgia WebMBA (Columbus State University, Georgia College, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, Valdosta State University) North America Griffith University Australia American University: Kogod* North America Queens University of Charlotte North America University of the Sciences North America Torrens University Australia Australia RMIT University EMBA Australia Colorado Technical University North America University of Massachusetts-​Lowell North America Rochester Institute of Technology: Saunders North America Walsh College* North America University of Maine North America University of Massachusetts-Amherst: Isenberg North America Washington State University: Carson North America Virginia Commonwealth University North America GBSB Global Business School Spain University of Texas-Dallas: Jindal North America

GLOBAL DBA LISTING Business School Aston Business School Baruch College, City University of New York: Zicklin Case Western Reserve: Weatherhead Cranfield School of Management DePaul University: Kellstadt Drexel University: LeBow Durham University Business School École des Ponts Business School EU Business School Florida International University GBSB Global Business School Georgia State University: Robinson Grenoble Graduate School of Business Harvard Business School IE Business School Jacksonville University Kennesaw State University: Coles Leeds University Business School / Summer 2020


Rank 32 University of Kentucky: Gatton =33 Saint Joseph's University: Haub =33 George Washington University 34 Baylor University: Hankamer 35 Ashland University 36 Swinburne University of Technology 37 Saint Joseph's University: Haub EMBA 38 University of Texas at Arlington 39 College of William and Mary: Mason 40 University of North Carolina-Wilmington: Cameron (MBA & EMBA) =41 University of Pittsburgh: Katz =41 Victoria Graduate School of Business 42 Aston Business School* 43 University of Baltimore 44 University of Delaware: Lerner 45 Bentley University: McCallum 46 California State University-San Bernardino 47 Drake University 48 University of Cincinnati: Lindner* 49 The Open University* 50 Xavier University 51 California State University-Long Beach 52 University of Southern Queensland 53 The Univerisity of Newcastle Australia 54 Kent State University 55 University of Exeter 56 Kennesaw State University =57 University of Louisiana at Lafayette =57 Seattle University: Albers 58 Florida International University 59 Indiana University: Kelley* 60 Auburn University: Harbert 61 University of South Florida: Muma 62 Hofstra University: Zarb* 63 University of North Alabama 64 University of Louisville* 65 University of North Texas 66 Bryant University* 67 The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 68 Jacksonville University* 69 Suffolk University 70 Northwest Missouri State University

Country North America North America North America North America North America Australia North America North America North America North America North America Australia UK North America North America North America North America North America North America UK North America North America Australia Australia North America UK North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America North America

Based upon accreditation, quality of faculty, geography, and international standing, this year’s Global DBA Listing is designed to showcase the market’s premier DBA providers.

Country UK North America North America UK North America North America UK France Pan-European North America Spain North America France North America Spain North America North America UK

Business School Maastricht School of Management Newcastle University Business School Nyenrode Business University Pepperdine University: Graziadio Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Rollins College: Crummer SBS Swiss Business School Temple University: Fox The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater United International Business Schools University of Bradford School of Management University of Dallas: Gupta University of Liverpool Management School University of Manchester: Alliance University of Missouri-St. Louis University of Pretoria-Gordon Institute of Business Science Washington University in St. Louis: Olin

*Some data unavailable

Country The Netherlands UK The Netherlands North America Chile North America Switzerland North America North America Pan- European UK North America UK UK North America South Africa North America 15


16 / Summer 2020

“The most appropriate measure of ROI is the extent to which MBA graduates are empowered with the knowledge and skills promised.”

Q. Until fairly recently, online MBA degrees were considered the poor relation, but attitudes have now changed. What’s precipitated this sea change in thinking? There was certainly a time when online education was not highly regarded, mainly due to average learning experiences and a lack of assurance around learning. However, the digitisation of business and communication processes has created an awareness of, and appreciation for, the effectiveness and flexibility of online technologies and experiences. This, in turn, has enabled business schools like Macquarie to provide unparalleled online MBA experiences to a wider and more varied audience. Learners want flexible delivery options, and this has accelerated the proliferation of online MBAs, some of which are now considered best-of-breed online MBAs. COVID-19 has also played a part, accelerating the transition from campus-based learning to online delivery, making online learning mainstream and the experience and benefits thereof more universally understood. Q. There was a time when online learning meant engaging with poorly recorded visual and audio content. How has the online learning environment evolved over the last decade, and how closely does it reflect on-campus learning? There is a common urge to compare online learning with on-campus learning, which is completely understandable given that face-to-face delivery has been the traditional method of instruction; however, online learning is different to on-campus learning. Online learning has its own distinct pedagogic approach; it is purposely designed to create specific learning experiences and outcomes at different touchpoints, and the various interfaces and collaboration tools, underscored by planned learning activities, invoke a sense of mastery and build learner confidence. This scaffolded approach creates an engagement infrastructure that ultimately builds learning communities and creates a sense of connection and collaboration, which, in many ways, can be more personal and inclusive. Adopting an online design-build approach, together with rapid EdTech tools, means that online learning has very much transformed from recorded three-hour lectures, complete with sound distortions and endless pdf documents, to purposeful, design-built learning activities that enhance the learning experience. / Summer 2020

“Quality online-learning provision requires a significant upfront investment, including an overall curriculum architecture with pathway options in and out of the degree to accommodate modular learning options and scalability.”


“Given that the future is unknown, the most effective way of future-proofing oneself is to invest in learning.”

Q. What does quality online learning look like? Despite the rapid advances in EdTech and the mass migration to online as a result of COVID-19, there is still incredible variation in online-learning quality. One of the myths associated with online learning is that it’s easy to migrate inperson content delivery online because it’s simply a ‘lift and shift’ approach. This tends to fuel misconceptions around online learning offering a low barrier to entry, which could not be further from the truth. Quality online-learning provision requires a significant upfront investment, including an overall curriculum architecture with pathway options in and out of the degree to accommodate modular learning options and scalability. Adopting a leaner-centric approach (rather than a tech-led approach) is essential as it respects fundamentals such as motivation and the intentions driving the learning. In this environment, online-learning pedagogy is shorter, sharper, and scaffolded. A well-designed online programme is integrated and holistic in its overall learning outcomes and deliberately circles back to key theories throughout the programme via different applications.

In using five- to eight-minute videos (captioned) to explain key frameworks, the academic is forced to focus on delivering that which matters. The contextualisation of learning is discussed in synchronous live classes where students are expected to access and or read the material prior to attending class to maximise the learning experience. Q. The vast majority of your students will have experienced on-campus learning at the undergraduate level. With this in mind, what kind of feedback have you received in regards to the structure and delivery of your online Global MBA (GMBA)? Learners have different needs and wants, which can be influenced by their stage in life, financial situation, career, family, and personal preferences. The majority of our GMBA students are experienced professionals working full-time, with an average age of 38 and 13 years, on average, of work-experience. Given their commitments, many have expressed the need for quality online delivery, and the flexibility and accessibility we offer meets that need. In regards to other programmes, we have received feedback from students who have talked about their online-learning experiences away from Macquarie being less than stellar. Specifically, the issues have been around isolation, lack of interaction, oneway delivery with little or no opportunity for discussion or further engagement, and access to faculty, which is dissatisfying. Needless to say, feedback on the GMBA learning experience suggests a very high level of engagement. Q. Whilst this is somewhat subjective, does an online MBA offer the same weight, in terms of ROI, as an on-campus MBA, and how would you propose this is measured? Measuring the financial ROI of an MBA is limited in its insight but important. The Macquarie Business School on-campus MBA is in the world’s ‘Top 100 MBAs’ for salary percentage increase, post-graduation (FT Rankings, 2020). Arguably though, any learning experience is most effectively measured by evaluating the extent to which

18 / Summer 2020

the student’s expectations upon enrolment were met, or not, upon completion of the programme. Both the GMBA and MBA have a quality framework -- with student-learning outcomes informed by industry and guided by accreditation -- that is measured for achievement. Macquarie Business School delivers an MBA and GMBA that empowers graduates with knowledge and skills that will be useful to them throughout their careers and in solving society’s biggest problems, and this is reflected in the student-learning outcomes. Accordingly, the most appropriate measure of ROI is the extent to which MBA graduates are empowered with the knowledge and skills promised.

reflect on and integrate the knowledge they have accrued over the course of the degree. Students are presented with the industrysupplied challenge early in the Playbook so that they can immerse themselves in the problem from the outset. As the GMBA is a global programme with students located across 34 different countries, it is important that we partner with clients that are global. For the 2020 capstone, the client has offices in the four countries where our students are located, meaning our students will have the opportunity to engage with the client locally. This type of immersion is not only applied but also demonstrates how experiential learning can be designed with incountry client touchpoints, as well as digital delivery.

Q. Networking, or the lack thereof, is often highlighted as a drawback of studying online. What steps have you taken to address this perceived deficit? Networking is definitely one of the frequently asked questions we receive. Again, there is a common misconception that online MBAs do not offer networking opportunities. The GMBA has a global cohort with a diverse set of leaders from different sectors and functions, and this acts as an instant global network. GMBA students also have access to the industry advisory board and our extended partners and alumni. We have over 202,000 alumni located all over the world. Further, networking opportunities are embedded throughout the GMBA to ensure relevant opportunities are available to GMBA students just as they are to MBA students.

Q. For some, especially those living and working remotely, online delivery is a must, but not for all. Given that some of your students, and applicants, could easily walk into an on-campus programme, why have they chosen to enrol in the GMBA? The GMBA offers the full package at a highly competitive price with great flexibility, an innovative curriculum, world-class faculty, and a fabulous student experience. The Performance Track is another feature that appeals to students seeking to undertake the GMBA who lack the traditional entry requirements (e.g., an undergraduate degree). As business continues to be disrupted, the GMBA offers unparalleled flexibility in delivery and a format that will accommodate all disruption types, be they work-, life-, or study-related.

Q. Online MBAs have also drawn criticism for their apparent lack of experiential learning. How does one replicate, online, what has typically been considered as an on-ground experience? The rapid evolution of online learning means that experiential learning is not only possible but expected, particularly for an MBA programme. Students should look for this as a basis to differentiate between MBA offerings. For example, the GMBA capstone is an experiential and applied digital-learning experience with in-country immersive touchpoints. Prior to the commencement of the capstone, students are provided with a Playbook containing a range of digitally curated resources that have been designed to help prepare them for this part of the programme. The Playbook features three modules, released over a staggered phase, designed to provide both a ramp-on period and gradual immersion into the capstone. Over this period, students are asked to continuously

Q. Given the uncertainty most working professionals currently face, what can the GMBA offer, in terms of the future of work? One of the factors that prospective students are looking for is a curriculum that is relevant and current. Students have every right to expect that undertaking an MBA will help them to future-proof themselves – this is part of the ROI question. Given that the future is unknown, the most effective way of future-proofing oneself is to invest in learning. The labour market is looking for professionals who not only have domain expertise, but enterprise capabilities such as communication, adaptability, and leading skills. The World Economic Forum identifies 16 future-focussed skills that are necessary to compete in a fluid marketplace. We mapped the GMBA curriculum to these 16 skills in order to present a programme that focusses on developing six key capabilities: strategising, leading, analysing, adapting, influencing, and problem solving. / Summer 2020

“The GMBA offers the full package at a highly competitive price with great flexibility, an innovative curriculum, world-class faculty, and a fabulous student experience.”


Associate Professor Lan Snell is the Academic Programme Director for the Global MBA at Macquarie Business School. 19


Macquarie University's Global MBA Advisory Board talk about why they got involved, how industry views the online MBA in 2020, and why good online MBAs are disrupting the marketplace and, in the process, changing the future of education.

Peter O’Brien Is a core member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Global Board & CEO Advisory Partners and leads the firm’s business across Asia Pacific. Previously, Peter led the Global Supply Chain Practice, as well as the Global Industrial Services & Infrastructure Sector and remains a mentor for both. Peter joined Russell Reynolds Associates more than 10 years ago from DHL, where he was the Managing Director of its independent Asia-based business operation, offering fully integrated supply chain solutions to companies worldwide. Peter previously


held senior global supply chain management roles based in Europe with DHL and its parent, Deutsche Post World Net. Earlier, he worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and TNT Limited. Peter began his career practising law as a corporate commercial lawyer with Phillips Fox Lawyers in Australia.

“Online MBAs like Macquarie’s GMBA reflect the speed of change we’re currently experiencing because they have the ability to adapt and react as events unfold.” / Summer 2020

“The GMBA isn’t an adaptation of an on-campus programme; it’s a programme that’s been designed specifically to be online and so it offers all of the attendant benefits one would expect from a cutting-edge online MBA.” “Working with classmates online and across different time zones, as Macquarie’s GMBA students do, reflects the world in which we live and work today. There is nothing more current.”

Yasmin King

Warren Bingham Is the Executive Chairman of MedTech International Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in leading organisations with innovative and disruptive medical technologies. He is also the CEO of BioAnalytics Holdings, a start-up firm that developed a novel mandibular device for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnoea. / Summer 2020

Is the CEO of SkillsIQ. Yasmin is an experienced negotiator and mediator, having led major commercial negotiations as a negotiation consultant and coach. Yasmin was the inaugural NSW Small Business Commissioner and the first Associate Commissioner for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission appointed with responsibility for small business.



Q. Why did you decide to join the advisory board? O’Brien: Working, as I have now for a number of years, in an advisory capacity, I felt that advisory boards were generally fruitless and added limited value, so I was quite hesitant when I was invited to join Macquarie’s. However, it quickly became apparent that they were trying to build something that was distinctly different. Lan, the Academic Programme Director, wanted to create a culture whereby the members of the advisory board would be actively involved and could make a material difference in influencing the direction of the MBA programme, which resonated with me. King: The GMBA isn’t an adaptation of an on-campus programme; it’s a programme that’s been designed specifically to be online and so it offers all of the attendant benefits one would expect from a cutting-edge online MBA. That was a big draw for me.

understand and then solve real problems. This allows them to not only apply what they’re learning in a real business environment but also showcase their talents to potential employers.

Q. How does the advisory board support the GMBA? O’Brien: Beyond the co-creation of curriculum, custom workforce offerings, and thought leadership, we try to help ensure the student experience and learning throughout the programme is real, materially valuable, and relevant, as opposed to just being theoretical. Dealing with real and current issues and solving complex problems as someone develops as a leader is the ultimate objective. This is something that companies struggle with today as we operate in such a disruptive environment, and one of the reasons I got involved. We focus on real experience and real problem-solving. Rather than students just being part of a network and a brand, we want to expose them, through our industry connections, broader relationships, and experience, to businesses they can work and interact with in order to

Q. In your opinion, what makes the advisory board so effective? Bingham: It’s the combined skillset, experience, and knowledge base of the advisory board, coupled with our intimate knowledge of the structure and curriculum of the GMBA, and the student experience, that really adds value. King: I think we’re able to provide realtime guidance on where we see potential deficits in the business landscape, and because we all have a different lens, you end up with this 360-degree view, which is very powerful. This not only informs the faculty but allows them to adapt their material in short order. Lan, the Academic Programme Director, has also done an excellent job of marrying cultural diversity with professional diversity. For example, I run a not-for-profit and sit on

Q. To what extent are recommendations acted upon? O’Brien: While universities can be quite slow to move, and rather bureaucratic, this has not been my experience with Macquarie. For example, recently, it occurred to me that there might be an opportunity to partner on research, specifically thought leadership, looking at the workforce landscape, postCOVID-19. Within a matter of weeks of discussing it, teams had been assembled, both at my firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, and Macquarie, specifically looking at the way we ‘work’, ‘learn’, and ‘lead’. This is a very practical example of an idea and suggestion that is now happening. / Summer 2020

the board of a tech start-up, but could easily be sat next to a board member from one of the big consulting firms, and that’s important because we all bring different perspectives to the table. Q. Once upon a time, online MBAs were seen as the poor relation. How does industry view the online MBA today? Bingham: I think it depends on a number of factors, one important one being the reputation of the school. Without knowing the GMBA, you know that Macquarie is highly regarded for its academic rigour and exceptional faculty, which is important, not just to employers, but also to students. Not all online MBAs are created equal. O’Brien: There’s no doubting the fact that, in the past, online MBAs were seen as lightweight. However, today, it’s about being relevant, and that means being online and being able to operate effectively in this virtual world in which we now exist. Online MBAs like Macquarie’s GMBA reflect the speed of change we’re currently experiencing because they have the ability to adapt and react as events unfold. What this is doing is exposing those on-campus programmes that are out of touch and, consequently, offering less value and less relevant current learning. Today, I think it’s about building credibility by being connected, globally, to the right organisations and the right people, seeing and learning what is evolving now, and the online model accelerates this process. Q. In your opinion, does the online MBA format stand up to its on-campus counterpart? Bingham: Yes, certainly in Macquarie’s case, and I can say that with confidence having been through their on-campus MBA / Summer 2020

and knowing the GMBA incredibly well. Working with classmates online and across different time zones, as Macquarie’s GMBA students do, reflects the world in which we live and work today. There is nothing more current. King: If we’re talking about the GMBA, then absolutely. Although the programme is online, it offers opportunities for real engagement between teaching staff and students, and between students themselves, as there is a level of shared experience. For example, a current GMBA student who did their undergraduate degree at a sandstone university in Australia, and whom I know, has mentioned on several occasions that they’ve had more engagement with the teaching staff and students on the GMBA than they ever did on their undergraduate degree! Q. What does the Macquarie name and reputation bring to the GMBA? King: As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons I’m proud to be involved with the Macquarie GMBA is because it’s not a face-toface MBA that’s simply being delivered online. The GMBA has been designed specifically for the online learning space, which means it’s flexible, stackable, and positioned at a price point that makes it accessible. Q. What does the future hold for online MBAs, post-COVID-19? King: I think post-COVID-19, people are going to be far more concerned about content, and whether a programme’s content is relevant. I also think flexibility, adaptability, and cost, paired to relevancy and real-world learning, will be important factors for potential students. This is where I believe good online MBAs will surpass on-campus MBAs, the latter requiring students to take time out of work to focus on material that may not be entirely relevant.



24 / Summer 2020


ntrepreneurs have a lot to think about when building a business, and one of the most important may be strengthening and tapping their networks. More than 20 years of academic research has tied business networking to entrepreneurial success, demonstrating that networking is an important way to validate opportunities, connect to resources, and access information. Research has suggested that entrepreneurs have on average twice the number of online network connections as non-entrepreneurs. Although the raw size of an entrepreneur’s network does not necessarily correlate with startup success, engagement with a tightly connected subset of that network does. An MIT study demonstrates that universityeducated entrepreneurs who had large, active alumni networks were more successful, as measured by the number of employees at and revenue associated with the companies they started. And research done here at Chicago Booth finds that it’s not enough to just have a network; how you use your network is important, and trusted contacts can be particularly helpful at overcoming early challenges. So with that in mind, when I was chartered this past summer by the deans’ office at Booth to undertake a project to figure out how the school could better support its global network of entrepreneurial alumni, both from Booth and the University of Chicago at large, I was excited to investigate how our alumni leverage their networks. Before the university rolled out some grand plan, perhaps involving an expensive technology app with a boatload of features that no one would use, I decided to do some customer discovery to understand how our entrepreneurial alumni use their professional networks, where their existing networks do a good job of supporting them, where these networks fall short, and how a curated and facilitated network could provide value. I interviewed nearly 100 University of Chicago alumni—entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists—and I conducted a survey that received 350 responses from 40 countries—217 responses / Summer 2020

from the United States and 133 from internationally located alumni. As several of the alumni were both founders and investors, we had a total of 279 entrepreneurs and 157 angel and venture investors represented. Of the alumni surveyed, 60 percent were members of either their local Chicago Booth or University of Chicago alumni club, and 16 percent said these were their most useful networking groups. While this survey does not represent a random sample of entrepreneurs, it is interesting to examine the findings.

“Asking for help is one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can cultivate.”

Online Networking Tools In our alumni community, the use of online tools is pervasive. Only 24 of our respondents, less than 1 percent, reported using no networking tools of any kind. LinkedIn, Facebook, and WhatsApp were the top three social networks for both the US-based and international alumni. Fifteen of our alumni in Asia said they used WeChat, while Twitter was only mentioned by nine US-based respondents. According to the entrepreneurs and investors in our survey, LinkedIn was by far the most important online networking tool they used, ranking No. 1 with 55 percent of the US-based respondents and 38 percent of the international alumni. STARTUP PLAYERS’ TOP NETWORKING TOOLS Share of entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists who use each US International 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%





the network for help. Surprisingly, 35 percent of our respondents used their networks for two or fewer professional activities, with 12 percent who hadn’t used their network for any of the 12 methods we had listed. Several respondents suggested other things that they use their networks for, the primary one being identifying opportunities and sourcing deals (28 mentions), followed by getting mentoring and socializing, each of which had less than 10 mentions. Eleven percent of the respondents stressed in comment fields that the most effective networking they did was in person, not online. If we look at how founders compared with angel and VC investors, the entrepreneurs were less likely to effectively raise money and find talent using their networks and were more likely to ask for emotional support. There were also some differences in the way that US-based founders and investors, compared with their international counterparts, used their networks. USbased respondents were more likely to have effectively used their networks to source talent and conduct due diligence, and the USbased investors were more likely to use the network to learn about a new industry.

Does Professional Networking Deliver? The survey asked respondents about 12 ways to use a professional network. Our alumni entrepreneurs and investors found their professional networks to be most effective in helping them do due diligence on a market or opportunity (42 percent of respondents said this was the case), get management advice (41 percent), learn about a new industry (38 percent), find professional service providers (37 percent), and identify best practices (37 percent). On the other hand, more than 20 percent of respondents found their networks to be less than helpful in getting customer introductions, raising capital, or sourcing talent to hire. More than 30 percent of respondents reported that they did not need their networks to help them find a job or obtain introductions to suppliers or software recommendations, or for emotional support. Networking activity varied a lot among the respondents. While 31 percent of the respondents reported that using their networks produced mixed results, an equal number could be considered very successful networkers, whose networks were effective in delivering everything they asked of them. There were also 61 disappointed networkers (17 percent of respondents) who had found little to no success when they reached out to 26

Information is the Currency of Online Networking Leveraging the network specifically for learning about an industry and conducting due diligence may provide an advantage for US-based founders and entrepreneurs. As the noted physicist and creator of the atom bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, said, “The best way to send information is to wrap it up in a person.” This is especially true for entrepreneurs. Much of the information they need isn’t published in a book or sitting on a website; it is in the head of someone who has expertise or experience. Data analyzed by the authors of the earlier-mentioned MIT research paper suggest that information exchange is the biggest benefit of online networking, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to actively build their networks to add and leverage information experts. The researchers find that having connections with information brokers such as lawyers correlated with future entrepreneurial success, whereas connections with resource providers such as venture capitalists, for example, did not. Another key value proposition of the alumni network identified by the researchers was an entrepreneur’s ability to connect with alumni who had reached senior levels of management in established companies, or who had had entrepreneurial success themselves and therefore had achieved a level of expertise. The net result of all this analysis? The project I was given and which we have now / Summer 2020

named the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network should, in fact, help advance our alumni’s startup success. As the authors of the MIT paper put it, “For a university this means that it should foster and encourage students to build up more and closer connections with alumni.” FOUNDERS’ AND INVESTORS’ USE OF THEIR NETWORKS Share of survey respondents reporting to what extent they had tapped their professional networks for business help

“More than 20 years of academic research has tied business networking to entrepreneurial success, demonstrating that networking is an important way to validate opportunities, connect to resources, and access information.”


29% 25%

35% 11%


Found help effectively Tried unsuccessfully

APPROACHES IN THE US VERSUS INTERNATIONALLY Share of survey respondents reporting to what extent they had tapped their networks

41% 20%


Had not yet tried


US founders


Had no need

36% 22%


36% 32%

Found help effectively


Tried unsuccessfully


Had not yet tried


Had no need

43% 22%

30% 5%



Found help effectively


Tried unsuccessfully

30% 25%

Had not yet tried


Numbers don’t add up to 100 percent due to rounding. / Summer 2020

Deutsch, 2020

Had no need


Tried unsuccessfully





International investors

Found help effectively Tried unsuccessfully

31% 22%


Had not yet tried


Had no need



Found help effectively



Tried unsuccessfully


23% 9%


Had not yet tried Had no need

29% 13% 50%


Had not yet tried



Had no need





Found help effectively

8% 33% 38%

Had not yet tried

Found help effectively


Had no need

Tried unsuccessfully




Found help effectively

US investors



International founders



Found help effectively

Tried unsuccessfully



Tried unsuccessfully

Had not yet tried


22% Had no need


30% 13%

Numbers don’t add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

Had not yet tried

6% 53%

Had no need


Deutsch, 2020 27

“Although the raw size of an entrepreneur’s network does not necessarily correlate with startup success, engagement with a tightly connected subset of that network does.”

Advice to Entrepreneurs Using the network means reaching out and asking people you don’t know well or have only a weak online link with to help you. Asking for help is one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can cultivate. There are plenty of blogs out there that will give you advice on getting the most out of your networking, but here are a few data-driven best practices to improve the chances that your network will come through with valuable information and resources for your company: Leverage LinkedIn. Venture capitalists, customers, and potential employees will use LinkedIn to check you out, and you should use it to do due diligence and for meeting preparation, as well. Make sure you keep your profile and company profiles up to date. This is a simple fix. According to LinkedIn’s data, profiles with professional headshots tend to get 14 times the number of views as those without. As the business-focused social network, LinkedIn generates 80 percent of B2B leads, so having endorsements from investors, advisors, and especially customers can help build credibility for your startup. Use LinkedIn to tell the story of your company. Highlight your milestones and learnings. The investors in our survey were very interested in being able to use their networks for sourcing great companies to fund. Activate Your Technologists’ Alumni Networks. Some 30 percent of our alumni founders were unsuccessful in tapping their networks as a source of talent. But research from Rowan University’s Lee Zane and Drexel University’s Donna De Carolis looked specifically at people who launched technology companies and finds that, for these founders, having a large alumni network correlated with an ability to recruit and hire technical talent. Make sure your top technology employees invest in building out and using their university and college networks.

Adopt Double Opt-In Procedures for Making and Asking for Introductions. Having contacts online is useless unless you connect with people. Asking for introductions to investors, potential customers, or experts is not impolite or invasive if you do it well. Put together a brief paragraph explaining why you want the introduction and how the other party will benefit from knowing you. Then ask your contact to check with the person to ensure she is open to the connection. That way, if the introduction is made, you know she is willing to talk to you. Do the same for the people in your network. Don’t surprise them with an introduction, tell them about the person you want to introduce and ask if you can make the connection. Diversify Your Network. Research by Arizona State University’s Christopher S. Hayter highlights the way in which tight academic networks are important for spurring and supporting startups but can constrain their growth if entrepreneurs don’t expand and evolve their professional networks as they scale their companies. Diversity provides advantages in the early stages of company creation, increasing the likelihood of finding the right information, resources, and skills needed; and it becomes more essential as the company grows. In the MIT study, the most successful entrepreneurs, those who had created large companies and received the most outside funding, had more links beyond the alumni network compared with founders of slightly less successful ventures.


Waverly Deutsch is clinical professor at Chicago Booth and the Polsky Director of the UChicago Global Entrepreneurs Network. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Courtesy of the Chicago Booth Review. 28 / Summer 2020

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“The way we learn, particularly in business education, needs to reflect the way we will work and the skills we will need to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.”



efore the global health crisis struck, we were already living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous) environment. We were facing the disruption and threat of climate change, challenges to the status quo from artificial intelligence and robotics, and a fluctuating global political environment (think Brexit), all of which were causing us to reassess the way we live and work. COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of change, pressing fast-forward on inevitable progress, such as the rise of remote or ‘tele’ working. In this period of global flux, a growth mindset is more important than ever. We need to “learn to learn”, as luxury Swiss watchmaking icon Jean-Claude Biver, NonExecutive President of LVMH Watch Division, Chairman of Hublot and Zenith Watches, recently shared in the Learning from Leaders conference series delivered by EU Business School. The way we work has changed, and the way our businesses function is shifting to accommodate these new circumstances. Combined with the challenges already facing society, this promises to be a prolonged period of reinvention and renewal that will require exceptional skills and leadership

from the brightest minds. It also signifies an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in starting their own enterprise. The way we learn, particularly in business education, needs to reflect the way we will work and the skills we will need to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape. In order to play an active role in shaping a better tomorrow, education is key. Accessing an Uncompromised Education The guidelines and regulations characterising the period we’re currently living through are continually shifting. Given these circumstances, it’s clear that business education, post-COVID-19, will require a degree of flexibility. Schools will need to demonstrate that they have options prepared and that student safety is their number one priority. Aside from strict campus cleaning regimens, schools will need to offer a range of flexible education options so that students are able to study online, on-campus or a combination of the two, depending on the regulations, global health situation and personal circumstances. / Summer 2020

A combination of synchronous and asynchronous components will also be required to facilitate real-time collaboration and anytime-study so that the learning experience can be adjusted to suit personal schedules and time zones. Students will need to be confident when committing to a programme that their education will still be of an outstanding quality. Online and in-person aspects of learning will be held to the same, high standards. Small class sizes will also be key. Both for in-person study, where limiting contact is vital, but also for digital education. This will enable students to forge deeper relationships with one another and with academic staff. Engagement, interaction and the opportunity to build a network are fundamental to effective business education. Course structure and content will also need to reflect the skills and priorities necessary to revive the economy, post pandemic. Skills for the New Normal Fast-paced change has been a feature of our society for some time; however, the global / Summer 2020

recovery will require rethinking across every industry to ensure businesses get back on their feet and begin, once again, to thrive. Leaders will need to keep their ears to the ground to recognise the new initiatives that are taking off in their field and others, in order to have the best possible chance of success. This ability to identify and analyse trends and patterns will also be essential for anyone looking to gain a useful business education. As Udemy’s president, Darren Shimku, has said: “The biggest challenge is for learners to figure out what skills are emerging, what they can do to compete best in the global market. We’re in a world that’s changing so quickly that skills that were valued just three or four years ago are no longer relevant.” While looking at where there is demand for work and determining the skills needed, it’s important to keep in mind that trends are constantly evolving. As a result, professionals must be agile, adaptable and astute, with an extensive skillset that can be deployed in perennially shifting business scenarios. Commenting on his MBA from EU Business School, General Manager of L'Oréal Morocco Consumer Products Division, Yassine Bakkari, said: “The experience gave me a 360-degree perspective of organisational

“Digital learning that employs the latest tools and platforms will more closely replicate the increasingly digital business world, enabling students to gain the expert skills that have become essential across all sectors.”


“It is precisely because the future is uncertain that now is the time to pursue higher education. More than ever, the world needs graduates prepared to design and build a better tomorrow.”

behaviour, management, leadership, strategy, commercial excellence, marketing, finance and accounting.” Upskilling with knowledge and techniques that have a broad application will allow business-education students to apply their learning across sectors and opportunities that arise. Already, certain key skills have emerged that will be essential to professionals aiming to become indispensable at work, or to anyone planning to start their own enterprise. Business modelling and scenario analysis will be vital to building strategy and maintaining agility, while risk management and contingency planning will become ever-more fundamental leadership skills. Creativity and the ability to think outside of the box will bolster the flexibility of a business and ensure it can adapt to, and survive, fluctuating markets. Finally, essentially human skills, including relationship management, negotiation, communication and empathy, will ensure that leaders are able to motivate teams and collaborate effectively with partners amidst changing priorities and regulations. These transferable skills will prove invaluable for leaders and entrepreneurs across sectors looking to make the most of new opportunities brought about, and accelerated, by the effects of the pandemic. Determining the End Goal Of course, business education is a means to an end. As enjoyable and enriching as the process often is, students are usually looking to secure a promotion, a change of career or a


better salary. Financial Times writer Laurent Ortmans reflected on FT data in 2018, noting that “MBA graduates always at least doubled their salaries within three years of completing their degree,” making it a worthwhile investment. And these factors will remain, while the specific roles and experience MBA students seek will likely be influenced by the pandemic. Alongside shifts related to COVID-19, when considering the goal of business education it’s fundamental to keep in mind other significant changes facing society, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and a growing emphasis on sustainability. Mckinsey recently reported that it’s essential to “stop thinking of environmental management as a compliance issue environmental management is a core management and financial issue,” which means an understanding of the complexity and nuance related to sustainability will be invaluable to any career. And there are already clear signs of business areas likely to grow or evolve in the immediate to mid-term future. For example, digital businesses such as eCommerce and eLearning are set to flourish having gained new audiences during lockdown. Large scale event experiences such as concerts and football games will need to be redesigned to work while social distancing measures remain in place. The contact-free economy will expand to provide the skills needed to adapt services and processes across industry to the standards of the new normal. Telemedicine and teleworking / Summer 2020

have become fundamental, and the economy of services around these areas will also grow considerably. Meanwhile, to improve the resilience of supply chains, sourcing will have to be brought closer to end-markets. We may also see a greater emphasis on purchasing local products from conscientious consumers. COVID-19 has also brought about a change to attitudes concerning technology at the cutting edge. It's clear, for example, that the efficiency and speed of AI enabled the development of vaccines in an astonishingly short period of time. This will hopefully increase appetite for rapid testing and pave the way for more futuristic technology, all of which signals opportunity for enterprising and imaginative businesspeople. The current desire for wide-scale change places greater importance on an education that imparts out-of-the-box creative thinking and agile problem-solving. Business Education to Shape Tomorrow Given these considerations, a business qualification geared to preparing the leaders of tomorrow needs to include certain core elements. In a fluctuating world with ever-changing markets, leaders must be able to act decisively. A practical programme that includes projectbased, active learning is essential to gaining the pragmatic skills necessary to thrive in business. Interactive and collaborative course content and an international peer group will enable leaders to develop the human skills essential for motivating teams and renegotiating contracts, while exposure to

diverse perspectives will foster creativity and lateral thinking. What’s more, digital learning that employs the latest tools and platforms will more closely replicate the increasingly digital business world, enabling students to gain the expert skills that have become essential across all sectors. A faculty that includes business professionals, consultants, and entrepreneurs will equip their students with the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to tackle challenges and build success in an uncertain world. Commenting on the MBA that secured his role at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, EU Business School alumnus, Zia Siddiqui, remarked: “The lecturers are actually working professionals who give you insights from the real business world, as opposed to lecturers at other universities who impart only theoretical knowledge.” Seeking schools with experienced professionals gives students a competitive advantage. EU Business School is more prepared than most to provide the dynamic, tailored learning experience that is essential in the current climate. With a faculty of experienced professionals, a methodology that prioritises pragmatic and experiential learning, an international community of students and alumni and a proven track record of offering highly ranked online courses, EU’s blended methodology is the perfect solution for leaders looking to accelerate their careers now. It is precisely because the future is uncertain that now is the time to pursue higher education. More than ever, the world needs graduates prepared to design and build a better tomorrow.

“The current appetite for wide-scale change places greater importance on an education that imparts out-ofthe-box creative thinking and agile problem-solving.”


Established in 1973, EU Business School (EU) is an international, professionally accredited, highranking business school with campuses in Barcelona, Geneva, Montreux, Munich and online. We offer English taught foundation, bachelor’s, master’s and MBA programmes. / Summer 2020


HOW COVID-19 CAUSED THE FUTURE OF WORK TO ARRIVE EARLY To what extent is the pandemicinduced regime of remote work, flexible hours and AI-enabled software here to stay? CYRIL BOUQUET


redicting the future of work is hard when you’re still in the midst of the catastrophe. It is clear, though, that “futuristic” trends are emerging, having been catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The big question is to what degree they will survive the crisis. Although the technology to facilitate remote work has been around for over a decade, COVID-19 has forced hundreds of millions of employers and employees worldwide to engage in a sudden, massive, real-time experiment with remote work arrangements.


In 2012, just 39% of US employees worked off-site at least some of the time. By 2016, that figure had risen to 43%. As of mid-April, however, 62% of US employees are working from home because of fears about the coronavirus. Similar remote work statistics are observed in other parts of the world. Because of the pandemic, millions more workers are discovering the joys (and hassles) that accompany working from home. On the plus side, there is more freedom, more flexible hours and more streamlined morning commutes. On the minus side, there are possibly more distractions and disruptions, and the lack of physical interaction with colleagues could lead to anxiety, grief and even depression. Humans are inherently social animals who are biologically hard-wired for spending quality time with each other, and who typically don’t fare well during prolonged periods of extreme isolation. Interestingly, though, and thanks to remote work, employers may be enjoying gains in worker productivity. A study found that 48% of remote workers exhibit more discretionary effort compared with 35% of non-remote workers. On the negative side, some managers are struggling to maintain high performance from / Summer 2020

workers who are no longer in close proximity. Managing a remote team usually requires changes in how managers communicate their expectations and instructions, as well as customized approaches for optimizing each employee’s productivity. Put bluntly: while many employees thrive in a less structured environment with minimal supervision, others require more frequent “intervention” to keep them focused and engaged. How “sticky” will remote work become? One theory holds that a significant number of companies will go entirely virtual. As German designer Konstantin Grcic argued “the office is everywhere I go to work.” A different theory posits that employers and employees starved of interpersonal connections will rebel against remote work. The truth is somewhere in between, but a greater proportion of organizations are clearly opting for the benefits of virtual offices.

over their hours could significantly reduce employee turnover, according to a Stanford University research paper. In addition, there is ample anecdotal evidence that hiring more workers to each work fewer hours increases individual productivity, making those companies more attractive to top talent Revenues at one South Korean online delivery company, Woowa Brothers, increased more than tenfold after it reduced working hours in 2015. Although it’s just a start-up, the company now competes with corporations like Samsung for engineering talent. During a recession in the late 1990s, Finland’s federal government sponsored a program called the “6+6 Plan,” under which municipal offices were open for 12 hours each day and staffed by civil servants on six-hour shifts. During the two years the program was in effect, public satisfaction with government services went up, and most employees reported improved work-life balance.

Fewer hours and more flexible work schedules From the 1840s to the 1950s, the length of the average American workweek (for manufacturing workers and nonsupervisory personnel) dropped from 70 hours to 40.5 hours. Despite predictions to the contrary and calls – especially among female employees – for even shorter workweeks and flexible schedules, little has changed in 70 years. In fact, among high-paid US white-collar workers, the trend toward 50-plus-hour workweeks has gained momentum since the 1970s. Outside the US, a big victory occurred in 2018, when Europe’s largest industrial labor union, IG Metall, negotiated the right to work as few as 28 hours per week for German metal workers. The goal of the union was, essentially, to provide workers with greater work-life balance. Although work-life balance has long concerned US workers, especially Millennials, only sporadic gains were achieved prior to the pandemic. But today – thanks in part to the ubiquity of the (now endangered) “open-office plan” – millions of workers have had their hours cut in order to maintain social distancing in the workplace. Some of these workers are, no doubt, enjoying the increased freedom that comes with working fewer hours and/or being able to adjust their schedules according to family needs. Many may resist returning to the 40-plus-hour workweek – with limited paid vacation and sick days – when the crisis passes. And some employers may adopt the same attitude. Giving employees more control

Software robots to infiltrate the workspace Also known as “digital workers”, AIenabled software programs will be “hired” in greater numbers to assist human employees (and sometimes replace them) by taking over certain administrative tasks, as well as “virusfriendly” customer-service interactions. Just before the pandemic, an IDC report forecast that software robots’ workforce contributions would increase by 50% over the next two years – a number that may now be too conservative. A new report from MIT Technology Review, which explored the extent to which different jobs could be supported by AI, found that “between 32 and 50 million US jobs could be increasingly assisted by technology to reduce health risks posted by human interaction and safeguard productivity in time of crisis.” In the longer term, “where AI assistance is currently less feasible […] roles such as cashiers, servers and drivers, whose constituent tasks can be fully automated, may be at risk as retailers and restaurants […] seek to operate with fewer staff.” Whereas a 2019 poll revealed that 27% of office workers would not delegate any work to AI, and a third (32%) believed that AI could not do a better job than them on any task, pandemic-fueled changes to working behavior seem to be allaying people’s fears that digital workers will steal their jobs. This attitude shift suggests that we will see many more software robots in the workforce after the current crisis subsides. These assessments, of course, assume that tomorrow’s reality will look like a modified version of today’s which is almost impossible to say. / Summer 2020

“Because of the pandemic, millions more workers are discovering the joys (and hassles) that accompany working from home.”


Cyril Bouquet, a professor at IMD Business School, helps organizations reinvent themselves by letting their top executives explore the future they want to create together. Cyril pioneered the mega dive approach to orchestrating discussions for big groups of executives, which has been successfully implemented on a number of programmes at IMD (such as EDF and Stora Enso). 37


38 / Summer 2020

The study, developed by Prof. Pablo Martin de Holan at HEC Paris and colleagues from University College Dublin, Ireland, draws on the experience of businesses and banks during the Irish banking crisis and offers practical advice on how business can overcome resistance to act when faced with those warning signals.


study released by HEC Paris Business School reveals why companies almost systematically fail to detect and act upon the early signs of imminent crises. The study was developed by Prof. Pablo Martin de Holan, Dean of the school’s Qatar campus, along with colleagues Prof. Federica Pazzaglia and Prof. Karan Sonpar from University College Dublin, and Ms. Maeve Farrell from Accenture. The study draws on extensive data and archival information gathered in the wake of the Irish Banking crisis and throws light on a phenomenon that recurrently affects millions of companies around the world. / Summer 2020


“Many companies prefer to focus on short term advantages instead of the potential long-term damage that could result from ignoring the signals.”


HEC Paris is an international business school established in 1881 and located in Jouy-en-Josas, France. Among the most selective French grandes écoles, HEC Paris offers its flagship Master in Management, MBA and EMBA programmes, specialised MSc programmes, a PhD programme, and executive education offerings. 40

As Prof. Martin de Holan explains: “Crises are generally preceded by a trail of early warning signals but often managers (and the companies they manage) overlook them, missing a ‘recovery window’ when things can get done to prevent the worst consequences of the crises. Yet, there are strong forces that prevent managers and companies from acting on these signals, even if they believe they represent real threats.” According to the study, early warning signs often indicate significant environmental changes that deviate from current trends, but which may not yet have reached a level requiring immediate action. The danger of dismissing these signs or underestimating their impact is that companies are left ‘off guard’ until it is too late for them to take meaningful action.

of these incomplete (and often incoherent) warning signals.

However, the report also concludes that managers and companies can overcome their instinct to overlook, disregard or underplay by adopting a mindset which considers unwelcome information, or which may even contradict someone’s individual world view. By adopting a more proactive approach, executives will be able to embrace uncertainty while making positive sense

The study was developed conducting a qualitative research study based on interviews with bankers, financial advisors, regulators and auditors; on archival records including annual reports from regulatory authorities, commissioned reports, and information shared via broadcast media and the press at the time of the crisis; and on data analysis following an interpretive approach.

In the report, the authors outline a threestep framework to act upon those early warning signs: n Recognise the attention traps which distract us from noticing the signals. This will help increase your chances of spotting emerging trends. Companies should try to resist the urge to prioritise urgent daily issues over long-term planning or to seek analogies and confirmatory patterns. In practical terms, this might mean organising meetings which encourage people to share their views regardless of how unlikely they might be. If outsiders (or people working with outsiders) are invited to join these discussions to share emerging trends from other firms or sectors, the positive effects will be magnified even further. The study identifies three main n Amplify the trends you have reasons why companies miss those identified by involving team early warning signs: members in scenario planning Overlook: Many people and “By adopting exercises where various businesses treat warning signs as situations are created ‘noise’ or simply overlook them a more proactive hypothetical and tested. This is a more delicate because the signs are not compatible step since it is not necessarily cost with their own previous experience. approach, effective to amplify and develop In the study, the authors point to one particular interview they did during executives will be every weak signal. However, by applying mindful attention to the research phase: “a bank manager able to embrace anomalies and reports, you can talked about risk as a function of uncertainty while build a ‘trending topics’ list of weak our memory; if you’ve never seen something happen before you don’t making positive signals. This can then be used to identify which of the warning signs foresee it as a risk.” appear most frequently, carry the Disregard: Sometimes we might sense of these risk or are the most interesting spot a warning sign but deliberately incomplete (and most to develop further. disregard it based on our own past or present experiences. According to often incoherent) n The final step would be to model the impact of these emerging trends the report, many companies prefer warning signals.” through simulations and other to focus on short term advantages modelling tools. This approach instead of the potential long-term allows the organisation to test its damage that could result from resilience to the potential scenarios ignoring the signals. that have been identified. In this Underplay: Even if stage, the ‘what-if’ becomes ‘how organisations do acknowledge the big’ and should allow managers to move from importance of these signals, they still often wondering whether something is even possible underplay the magnitude of the potential to actively evaluating the impact of these consequences and delay acting in the belief scenarios and defining the right actions to take that inaction will not result in any damage to should they become consolidated trends. their business. / Summer 2020






Q. The ISEG MBA has enjoyed great success over the years, as have your students; therefore, what prompted the redesign? The world faces constant change; the same is true for the business world, and of the skills needed to succeed in such a demanding environment. The ISEG MBA needed an update in order to prepare future leaders with the necessary thought-leadership skills, management content, and tools. The hands-on element of the programme was also reinforced to provide a complete learning experience. Q. You’ve introduced five new strategic learning streams: Global Futures, Digital Disruption, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Design & Agility, and Sustainability & Governance. What was thinking behind this? Nowadays, managers need a holistic vision of the company and the world. Functional skills are still important, but true leaders have to reach higher than that. In order to develop and nurture a purposeful vision, managers must be fully involved and master new business skills. The strategic streams provide such skills in partnership with top providers and renowned specialists. Q. Can you expand upon each of the aforementioned streams for our readers? The first stream, Global Futures, will focus on providing students with tools on how to, in a complex and uncertain environment, individually or in their company, keep up with new research and information and make knowledgeable decisions.

42 / Summer 2020

“The ISEG MBA aims to develop holistic leaders: technically competent, but also good humans with sound values who are purpose-driven and eager to serve and play their role in building a better world.� / Summer 2020


“The ISEG MBA doesn’t allow you to guess the future, but it does give you the necessary tools and framework to build scenarios and anticipate probable futures.”

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation stream will take the students from idea to actual startup and include the construction of the Business Model Canvas, the Lean concept, Building MVPs, and Product-Market Fit, or Venture Capital Funding. In Digital Disruption, they will learn how emergent technologies are impacting industries, societies, and our futures, the main challenges they face, and the opportunities they bring to new and, or, established businesses. Design and Agility will challenge the cohort to be transformative, and discover how they can encourage strategic and operational agility in their ecosystem or organisation. Sustainability and Governance will provide an overview of the main sustainability issues on the national and international agenda and explain how these impact the day-to-day business of an organisation. Q. Are students able to take all of the streams on offer? Yes, in fact, students have to. The five streams are part of the curriculum and are, therefore, not optional. However, each module offers complementary features that the students can access.


The ISEG MBA is based in Lisbon, Portugal, and provides a unique learning experience for leaders of the future – for leaders with purpose and vision who have a global and holistic perspective. 44

Q. You’ve partnered with a variety of organisations on the streams. Can you tell me a little about these institutions and what they bring to each stream? The strategic partners have been selected because of their track-record as quality providers. Each one brings something new and outstanding to the table. When visiting the Portuguese Air Force Academy, the participants will focus on teamwork, coordination, and improvisation activities. This is the moment they will get to test their limits as they develop their leadership, strategic skills, and timemanagement, as well as their sense of cooperation. In the Global Futures stream, the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and the World Economic Forum will help them to understand how, in today’s society, individuals and organisations can keep up with the latest trends and make sense of the countless transformations taking place around them, while also helping them to adapt their vision and providing insight on how to facilitate the decision-making process. The University of San Francisco and Startup Lisboa are our partners on the Entrepreneurship and Innovation stream, through which, participants will be able to explore two dynamic and entrepreneurial ecosystems: Silicon Valley and Lisbon. Técnico Lisboa represents a partnership

with one of the best engineering schools in Europe and will show how important it is to have an overview of cutting-edge technologies and the huge impact these technologies have on innovative businesses. Lastly, With Company will challenge the students to discover how they can encourage strategic and operational agility within an organisation. They will also learn and analyse how certain global companies based in Lisbon are quickly becoming agile and digital. Q. Have the streams reduced the emphasis that you’re now placing on traditional MBA building blocks, i.e., finance, marketing, operations, etc.? The streams complement the core skills of a traditional MBA. The idea is to go beyond that and prepare participants for the challenges that lie ahead in the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world we now inhabit. Q. You’ve introduced a leadership and personal development element to the programme which, as the name suggests, focuses on the development of one’s personal and professional toolkit. Can you walk our readers through each of these components? The leadership journey starts with selfawareness. You need to know yourself in order to identify your strengths and areas for development. The path continues with work on several soft skills, and by identifying where you want to go and who you want to be, both personally and professionally. This route provides the tools and support necessary for students to be able to turn their vision into a reality. Q. As mentioned, ISEG graduates have enjoyed much success over the years; therefore, what can students and applicants expect to take away from the new programme? The ISEG MBA aims to develop holistic leaders: technically competent, but also good humans with sound values who are purposedriven and eager to serve and play their role in building a better world. Q. Finally, in these uncertain times, would it be fair to say that the new programme offers an element of future-proofing? The ISEG MBA doesn’t allow you to guess the future, but it does give you the necessary tools and framework to build scenarios and anticipate probable futures. The participants won’t know what is coming, but they will be prepared for different outcomes and have rock-solid skills and clarity to overcome obstacles. / Summer 2020

Like a Diamond, an MBA is Forever Ensure it’s AMBA-accredited.


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Be in company MBA students on AMBA-accredited programmes are required to have at least 3 years prior management experience, making for quality networks and applied learning.

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AMBA-accredited schools have educated MBAs to AMBA standards for a minimum of 3 years and usually over 10 years.

AMBA-accredited MBA programmes require a minimum of 500 ‘contact’ hours, ensuring face-to-face learning and strong relationship-building. Access the

highest quality experts in academia and industry. Faculty at AMBA-accredited programmes are internationally diverse and at least 75% must have a relevant postgraduate qualification. / Summer 2020

AMBA is the world’s only MBA-specific Accreditation Organisation, accrediting just 2% of the world’s Business Schools. 45

PULLING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC: ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS Wharton’s Karl Ulrich speaks with Wharton Business Daily about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs during the pandemic.

46 / Summer 2020


or Karl Ulrich, vice dean of entrepreneurship and innovation at Wharton, the existential threat to small businesses struggling through the coronavirus pandemic isn’t just an academic exercise. Ulrich owns MakerStock and Xootr — two small businesses housed under the same roof in Scranton, Pennsylvania. MakerStock supplies plywood, acrylic and other materials to university labs, engineering and architecture schools, and individual buyers. Xootr makes foldable scooters, the kind often used to zip around city streets. / Summer 2020

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in late January, forcing many states to shut down nonessential business throughout March and April, the demand for MakerStock products flatlined. But the scooters were suddenly selling like crazy. “The MakerStock business basically went away [because] our customers literally closed their doors. And the Xootr business — everyone said, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to be on a subway,’ and went looking for alternative transportation,” Ulrich said. “So, in the same building, we’ve seen two business, one get boosted and one get crushed.”

“I think tempering optimism with a sense of there is going to be something, it’s going to be outside of your control, and being resilient and lean to navigate it is an important quality in entrepreneurs.”


“This is a socially legitimate period in which to retool and to work on projects, so I think it’s a good opportunity for young people.”


Republished with permission from Knowledge@Wharton (http://knowledge. wharton.upenn. edu), the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


On the micro-level, business leaders have myriad decisions to make, from staffing levels to product assortment to planning ahead if a second wave of the virus should shutter their doors again in the fall. Ulrich is no stranger to that particular stress. He’s been examining whether to increase staff at Xootr to meet the surge in demand; whether to reconfigure his supply chain because most of the scooter parts come from China, which has experienced manufacturing disruptions; or whether MakerStock should simply shut down or, instead, view the next six to twelve months as an opportunity to become very lean, and perhaps emerge from the pandemic even stronger. With plenty of unused mylar film on hand, the business pivoted to help create face shields for health care workers. But, Ulrich acknowledged, such a pivot isn’t possible for every business. He pointed to hospitality as an example. The tough decisions have Ulrich thinking about what he’s learned over time about managing through crises. “I’ve weathered a few downturns and a few recessions, and one lesson I’ve learned is you [must] cut deep and cut hard,” he said. “You know, deeper than you think you need to cut, when you face a crisis like this. I think probably the bigger pitfall I see is people who are basically burning cash somewhat overly optimistically at this point.” The VIDE Model Ulrich teaches the VIDE model to his students. The acronym holds that value, or V, in entrepreneurship is a function of three factors: the idea (I); your skills and capabilities, or what you do with the idea (D); and exogenous factors (E) that are out of your control. That could be a fire that destroys the physical store, a sudden collapse in demand because of a change in technology, or even a viral outbreak that changes daily life across the globe.

“My students have historically rolled their eyes at the E,” Ulrich said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, come on. What could that possibly be?’ They’re not rolling their eyes anymore. They’re realizing, ‘Wow, yeah, some little virus in a bat 8,000 miles away can crush my business, and it has nothing to do with me.’” While Ulrich doesn’t expect another disruption on the scale of the coronavirus pandemic during his lifetime, there is always something around the next corner. “We need to find a better way to communicate to young people that these things do happen and that there is tremendous value to being lean and flexible in the event that some disruption occurs,” he said. “I think tempering optimism with a sense of there is going to be something, it’s going to be outside of your control, and being resilient and lean to navigate it is an important quality in entrepreneurs.” Reevaluate and Redirect Some businesses will not make it to the other side of the pandemic, and neither will many jobs. Setbacks are hard, but they also provide an opportunity for firms and individuals to reevaluate and redirect. Ulrich mentioned that his son, who graduated from college about a year ago, was laid off last month. He is using the time to reflect on his long-term goals and explore his options. Ulrich urged others to do the same. “This is a socially legitimate period in which to retool and to work on projects, so I think it’s a good opportunity for young people,” he said. When asked for his best advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs, Ulrich simply said: “Do the work.” “Focus on what are your skills, and those skills better be tied to recognizing problems and solving those problems. Those are the skills that make you most useful in a crisis and that I think make you most useful in general in life,” he said. “We were in a period of a lot of irrational exuberance, a lot of capital available, a lot of people [getting] by on swagger. I think those times are gone.” / Summer 2020





re you ambitious enough to study for an MBA from one of the world’s leading Management Schools? If you believe you have the motivation and are up for the challenge, then this could be the time for you to join us.

Experiential learning is at the heart of The Sheffield MBA. Our programme is designed to provide intimate learning experiences that maximise the potential of each individual as part of a close-knit community. Here in Sheffield you are not viewed as a number but as an ambitious individual with unique attributes ready to take on the challenge of reaching your full potential. By focusing on entrepreneurship, leadership and consultancy, graduates of the Sheffield MBA exceed expectations in the workplace and beyond.

ANALYSE. INNOVATE. LEAD. For more information, or to arrange an informal visit to the school, contact Ian Proctor, MBA Programmes Manager at the Management School, on 0114 2223426 or email at / Summer 2020



Some governments, especially those led by women, have dealt with the pandemic better than others.


y now you will have seen, perhaps on a daily basis, statistics and charts tracing the state of the COVID-19 outbreak. Confirmed cases, recovered cases, active cases, deaths, the infection curve… the list goes on. The data provide a snapshot of how nations and regions are faring in the once-in-a century pandemic. A closer examination, however, throws up questions about how well the numbers reflect reality. Getting a better grasp of what the data do and don’t show would help us draw better conclusions and lessons. To the uninitiated, the sheer wealth of global data, collated and published daily by governments as well as institutions such as the World Health Organisation and Johns Hopkins University may lend itself credibility. But factor in administrative inadequacies and political exigencies and the credibility falters.

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Lack of Global Standards The data collected around the world also suffer from a lack of standardisation. Take the number of deaths. In several countries, like the United Kingdom in the first months of the outbreak, only patients who died in hospitals are included, while deaths in oldage care facilities or private homes are not. Determining whether a patient died from or with COVID-19 further complicates the interpretation of mortality figures, especially given that the majority of the deceased were elderly and suffered from pre-existing conditions. It is also difficult to gauge the level of infection based on the data, since the will to test, testing capabilities and testing criteria vary across countries. Limited testing inevitably uncovers fewer cases and, in turn, fewer reported deaths. This might explain why some lower-income countries with fewer tests done and less-equipped health systems show very low levels of infection compared to developed countries. National-level reporting of the outbreak, meanwhile, obscures the impact of the virus on densely-populated, cosmopolitan megacities such as New York and Wuhan, even as it leaves other regions in the same countries relatively unscathed. In Singapore, rampant spread of the virus in crowded dormitories for foreign workers has ballooned the city-state’s overall infection numbers even though the outbreak in the rest of the population has largely been brought under control. Distilling the Data Despite the inadequacies of the data, it is worth examining the reasons for the large variance in outcomes across different types of governments, using statistics on confirmed cases and deaths per million population. Many factors can be considered: the political system and social trust, recent history, geography and climate, population size and demographics, international connectedness, and so on. Take the type of government. China’s authoritarian regime was able to handle the crisis quickly and efficiently with a draconian lockdown. Similarly, Vietnam, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia look rather good so far in comparison with liberal Spain, Italy, UK, France and Switzerland. It does not necessarily follow though, that authoritarian governments are better at dealing with a pandemic. The democratic governments of South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand and Israel have done well in terms of number of cases and deaths. Trust in the government and society (“We are all in this together”) may be another underlying factor. Most of East Asia, including / Summer 2020



Hellmut Schütte is Emeritus Professor of International Management at INSEAD. He was also Distinguished Professor of Management and Dean at CEIBS in Shanghai, China, from 2009 to 2015. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This article is republished courtesy of INSEAD Knowledge (http://knowledge. Copyright INSEAD 2020. 52

below 100 deaths per million population. Taiwan and Hong Kong, have controlled the Sweden, in pursuit of the risky strategy of outbreak well. Entrenched Confucianism herd immunity, had almost six times the in this part of the world could account for number of deaths relative to country size. the people’s readiness to accept limitations Sweden has a male prime minister. The on many aspects of their life. Meanwhile in governments of the other four countries, all individualism-oriented New Zealand as well doing well, are led by women. as the Nordic and Baltic countries in Europe, By contrast, the US and UK have some of trust in corporate governance and political the highest numbers of confirmed cases and leaders likely contributed to widespread deaths per million people. They may soon cooperation with early, governmentbe joined or overtaken by Russia and Brazil, mandated lockdowns. going by the trajectory of the pandemic in China was the first country affected by those two countries. All four countries are the virus and took action. Other East Asian led by alpha males who, in the words of my countries followed almost immediately. The colleague Manfred Kets de Vries, are often laggards of the West missed the opportunity hard-headed, opinionated and abusive. to learn and act quickly when COVID-19 These are surprising findings. appeared on their doorstep. Any The analysis compares eight female epidemic or pandemic expands political leaders of successful exponentially, which means that countries with four male leaders any day lost makes it increasingly heading countries that have so difficult to slow down and stop the far mishandled the coronavirus spread. Speed became an important “The response threat. But the analysis suffers success factor. It requires an from the small size of the sample efficient and reliable information to COVID-19, and would not pass strict academic system, firm decision making, as requirements. And leadership is well as professional implementation the greatest only one criterion among several and control. Europe, let alone threat to humans other variables, although it appears the Americas, lost time. Higher to be a very important one. numbers of cases and deaths are the in our time, However, research has not result. requires complex found any robust evidence of real It is interesting that a major differences between male and 2019 study by the Johns Hopkins coordination female leadership. Only genderCentre for Health Security and specific expectations exist, based The Economist Intelligence Unit and multion stereotypes which in turn on governments’ preparedness dimensional influence leadership styles. Surveys in handling infectious disease of leadership styles have carefully outbreaks named the US and UK as actions.” avoided labelling a given behaviour the two best-prepared countries. as male or female. Aggressive China was ranked 51st. Even the individualism, for example, is most dispassionate observer must be differentiated from caring social stunned by that study now. responsiveness, but not necessarily linked with gender. In terms of risk Female vs. Male Leaders taking, however, women are perceived as The OECD defines government more risk-averse than men. The four alphacompetence as the capability to manage male leaders have proclaimed the virus as vertical and horizontal integration and either irrelevant or easy to stamp out, or both. implementation. This is a very administrative Such bravado may be successful in times of perspective, difficult to evaluate in general, war or natural disasters. Risk-averse leaders, and probably impossible internationally. And on the other hand, will explore the situation it leaves out leadership, perhaps the most carefully, seek advice, and build consensus important criterion of all. both within government and society. This So far, five governments stand out for results in a very different style of decision their overall effectiveness in dealing with the making and communication. COVID-19 crisis: New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong The response to COVID-19, the greatest Kong, Germany and Norway. As of 21 May, threat to humans in our time, requires all five had registered fewer than 100 deaths complex coordination and multi-dimensional per million population. What do they have in actions. Data show that female leaders common? All five are led by a woman. have done a better job. Or at least that the Norway, like Denmark, Finland, Iceland style ascribed to alpha males renders them and Sweden, belong to the group of Nordic unsuitable for the task. countries. Four of the five registered well / Summer 2020

SERIAL RECESSION SURVIVOR IDENTIFIES KEY PRINCIPLES FOR TODAY’S CHALLENGES Alan Lusty, CEO of adi Group, a multidisciplinary engineering business, reflects on the principles he believes helped his company emerge stronger from the three recessions since he founded the businesses 30 years ago.


ike many companies, adi Group had a very different vision for 2020. Before the pandemic, we had ambitious plans to add further divisions to our engineering business and strengthen our offering. / Summer 2020


We had the added prospect of celebrating adi’s 30th anniversary this month and I was looking forward to not only recognising our excellent teams’ contributions but also doing some reminiscing. Sadly though, the world was turned on its head by a microbe and our plans were shelved as we focused on meeting our customers’ evolving needs in a very fluid environment. It hasn’t been easy for any of us. The human toll is tragic and we have to buckle in for the long-haul with both this sickening virus and a gloomy economic outlook. But this whole saga has given me cause to reflect. It’s not quite the kind of reminiscing I’d anticipated but it has made me look back over my last 30 years in business.


“Inaction is laden with risk. Being tentative early in a recession often leads to subsequent overreaction, with businesses cutting costs too deeply and inadvertently hamstringing their capacity to recover.”

Change is Part of the Plan The first thing that strikes me is that 1990 was a world away from where we were before this whole nightmare began. You don’t need me to tell you how much technology has transformed society, but what it tells me is that change is constant and that we should incorporate it into our plans. A new crisis or the next recession is only ever just around the corner. Call it the business cycle or think of it as the circle of life, but we have to accept that these things happen. The trick, as a business, is to find a way out of the labyrinth. Through bitter experience, I can tell you that on three previous occasions, adi Group has been through an economic shock. / Summer 2020

We were founded during a recession but, after each downturn, managed to come out stronger. Now, you might ask whether that was more by luck than judgement, but each experience taught me lessons I believe remain relevant in the current climate. Today’s economic challenges might be unprecedented in their scale and nature but the same principles apply and, if we make the right calls, there is hope.

Nonetheless, sometimes the pressure to do something – anything – is intense. With clients, employees and suppliers asking what you’re going to do, it is easy to be rash. While appropriate steps will need to be taken, the onus here is on the word ‘appropriate’. There is no point in doing something for the sake of being seen to do it. Your actions need to target the right problems at the right time and for the right reasons, so go with facts rather than fear. During a recession, the most agile businesses are often the best equipped. Part of that could be a decentralised structure where people with specific areas of knowhow are empowered to make choices. Never rush to judgement. Be thorough in your decision-making, listen to the ideas of others and, when you cast the die, act with speed and commitment.

Understand the Realities It’s always a good idea for businesses to carry as little debt as possible heading into a downturn. Some are easier to predict than others, but we are where we are, so you need to understand your exposure as early as possible, and to do that, you need to understand your risk, which means asking ‘and answering’ the tough questions. Choose Difference Over Discount For example, how deep is this It is tempting during a crisis to hole and how long will it last? The “Your actions start discounting but you should contrast between a recession, in your quality. Stand by the defined as two consecutive quarters need to target the trust things that already differentiated of contraction, and the current you, as people will look to squeeze pandemic, which will define an right problems value out of every penny. era, is significant, so you need to at the right time Your people are part of the same understand scale. dynamic. Very often customers and The other questions I would ask and for the right clients buy into the expertise and are: How resilient are we? How long reasons, so go experience of your employees when will our cash reserves last in the worst case? Who owes us what and with facts rather they buy into your business. So, maintain and enhance their skills, how indebted are we? These are than fear.” where you can. Show them you value critical questions and the answers them and communicate as openly must be incorporated into all of your and as frequently as possible. The thought processes. more you give them a clear sense of And then there are your clients. purpose, the more they will pull in How exposed are they? Do one or the direction you want. two make up a disproportionate Without doubt there are amount of your revenue? Who might circumstances in which difficult struggle to pay you? decisions have to be made about people when Demand can fall across the board, but you are trying to safeguard the future of a some sectors are more affected than others, business. However, even at the best of times, commercial airlines and online businesses you need good people, at the worst, you need providing good examples at either end of the great staff, so base your choices on who is scale. going to be central in the battle ahead, rather than simply on cost. Hold Your Nerve History doesn’t quite repeat itself but The anxiety felt by many in these sometimes it rhymes. Every recession has its circumstances has two classic responses: own characteristics – 2008-09 looked very knee-jerk reaction and rabbit in the headlights different to 1990-91 – but there are principles paralysis. that apply to each. Inaction is laden with risk. Being tentative So, if we can keep our heads, trust in our early in a recession often leads to subsequent strengths and understand that this will pass, overreaction, with businesses cutting costs we can engineer businesses equipped for the too deeply and inadvertently hamstringing next crisis and a brighter future for us all. their capacity to recover. / Summer 2020


Alan Lusty is the CEO and founder of multidisciplinary engineering firm, adi Group. Having established the company in 1990, Alan has driven the expansion of the firm’s portfolio of services in the automotive, food and beverage, manufacturing, aerospace and defence, pharmaceutical, and petrochemical sectors. Designing, constructing, and self-delivering robust client solutions from over 30 specialist disciplines, adi Group takes a holistic approach to sustainability, skills, and partnership. Having navigated three recessions and introduced an accredited educational platform for apprentices and pre-apprentices, Alan is champion of the next generation of engineers. The company was recently rewarded platinum accreditation in the EcoVadis ratings, planting them in the world’s top one per cent for social responsibility in business.


n Waverly Deutsch n Warren Bingham n Alex Bolt n Univeristy of Chicago: Booth n Cyril Bouquet

n Adi Group n Yasmin King



n Alan Lusty

n Alon Rozen n EU Business School n Hellmut Schütte n Lan Snell

n Kennesaw State University n Macquarie University

n University of Pennsylvania - Wharton 56 / Summer 2020


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