Making the good even better

Johan Roos explains how Jönköping International Business School in Sweden is being reformed and reinvigorated.

You are probably not very familiar with Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) or its Swedish name Internationella Handelshögskolan but our goal is that within five years you will be.

Having become its Dean two years ago, I have been working with my management team and faculty to put us on the path to having a global footprint far beyond our small size and remote setting in central Sweden. What we are doing at JIBS makes an interesting case for any business school leader who seeks to transform his or her organisation.

Happy 20th anniversary

JIBS is among the world’s youngest business schools yet has achieved quite a lot in its 20-year history. Founded in 1994, the pioneering faculty made good use of the freedom that came with having been set up as a limited company owned by a foundation.

Capitalising on an entrepreneurial and international spirit, JIBS quickly established a strong research reputation, attracted PhD candidates from around the world and developed networks in entrepreneurship, family business and regional economics.

Today JIBS has become one of the most international business schools in Scandinavia, attracting some 45% of its 1,800 students and 35% of its 140 faculty and PhD candidates from outside Sweden.

Our research groups in family business and regional economics are world renowned. Our undergraduate business education is among the top-rated programmes in Sweden. With as many PhD candidates as faculty members, JIBS has become a noted research centre, a fact mirrored in its culture of generous allocation of research time.

No resting on laurels

When I took office, JIBS had just come through several turbulent years. The school’s financial resources were strained since it had worked up a large debt to its owner, the Jönköping University Foundation (JUF). The business model that made JIBS what it was had reached its limits.

JIBS faced significant challenges. From a strategic perspective, JIBS’ pioneering focus on internationalisation and entrepreneurship that had formerly set it apart no longer did so and this was not accounted for in the school’s strategic planning.

The school’s regional stakeholders were increasingly asking for more engagement and more contributions at home.

For the full article, please read the PDF or listen to the Podcast to learn about : Developing a focused and do-able strategy; A transparent organisation led by a small team; Giving culture a friendly nudge; So far, so good.

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See more articles from Vol.08 Issue 01 – ’14.