The EFMD business magazine

The EFMD business magazine

The future of global business education in a new landscape

future of global business education in a new landscape - man walking a mountain trail
Wang Hong offers her insights into the new missions and new requirements for business education around the world, and shares her views about how CEIBS can set a new benchmark in the business education community.

Navigating the new landscape of global business education

While countries and regions around the world are grappling with a complex international landscape marked by growing instability, the looming risks of a lapse into “disorder” and an array of intertwined problems (both old and new), it is crucial for us to see through the fog of complexity and uncertainty in the global landscape and chart the course forward.

CEIBS from website - group photo

On the one hand, profound changes unseen in a century are posing tremendous challenges to the world. COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and food and oil shortages have escalated into global crises. High inflation, growing debt, monetary tightening, anti-globalisation, and disruptions to industrial and supply chains have led to sluggish global economic recovery. Trade frictions, geopolitical tensions, and the confrontation of values have put the world at risk of a relapse into fragmentation and even confrontation, and have led to the reshaping of regional security, ideological trends, and global governance.

On the other hand, a new round of industrial revolution and technological change has brought about profound changes and presented unprecedented development opportunities. An array of new concepts and technologies, such as Web3, the metaverse, blockchain and artificial intelligence, are upending existing business models. In order to grasp future industrial opportunities, the world’s major economies, including the US, China, the European Union, and Japan, have accelerated strategic planning to drive innovation in the fields of brain science, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum information science, and biotechnology.

In this context, the education sector is undergoing a significant and profound transformation.

I love CEIBS sign

First, with the tug-of-war between globalisation and anti-globalisation comes new requirements for business education. Business schools should cultivate sustainably-minded management talent with an international vision, cross-cultural communication skills and leadership, and a commitment to upholding shared values in a complex and volatile society.

Second, the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled new educational models. The internet, artificial intelligence, and digitalisation will reshape future learning as online education continues to gain traction around the world, making traditional classroom teaching no longer the only way to acquire knowledge. Emerging technologies will enable business schools to reshape talent cultivation, curriculum development and learning experience.

Last but not least, business schools should cultivate resilient business leaders. Amid growing uncertainty over global governance, business leaders will need to demonstrate stronger learning, communication and interpersonal abilities. Therefore, business schools should shift from knowledge-and-skills-based to capability-and-competency-based education.

Aligning with new requirements

Since China’s reform and opening-up, China’s business education has made a dramatic transition from elite education to popular education. Business schools have also shifted their focus from the ‘expansion of enrolments’ to high-quality, sustainable and international development.

Current social and economic development in China and the world has also imposed new requirements on business education. On the one hand, tremendous changes in the industrial modes, division of labour, and people’s worldviews have led to a fundamental shift from instructor-centred to student-centred education.

Given the impact of digitisation, globalisation, and the complex and ever-changing global landscape on social and economic development, the core competitiveness of future talent has shifted from traditional knowledge and skills to a full range of competencies, such as international vision, sustainable development awareness, cross-cultural communication skills, and the ability to think critically and digitally. New talent requirements call for both competency and literacy-oriented education.

CEIBS students

The “student-centred” education paradigm aims to improve students’ capabilities for problem-solving, cooperation and communication, and independent learning, while focusing on addressing real-life problems, restructuring the learning process, and updating learning scenarios. For example, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is committed to incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating a new breed of leaders; Stanford Graduate School of Business inspires students with the spirit of small business and improves their ability for organisational change; and INSEAD lays emphasis on innovation, freedom, international presence, global perspective, and cultural diversity in all aspects of its research and teaching.

Business education has become a primary engine for high-quality development of national – especially regional – economies. Looking around the world, regional economies and business schools are empowering each other to thrive. The New York City Area, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area, as well as the Yangtze River Delta, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Area, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, are all home to a large number of world-renowned schools.

Looking to the future, business schools should be highly aligned with national and regional economic and social strategies to drive independent innovation in key areas, whilst giving full play to their research prowess and influence as think tanks.

Seeking changes and fulfilling new missions

Through constant evolution, China’s management education focuses on more than the relationship between management and production. As business education moves into a new stage of high-quality development, a flurry of “new business disciplines” have emerged in response to the call of the times.

These “new business disciplines” will require a focus on nurturing business talent with versatile and hands-on skills, cultivating entrepreneurs who can ride the waves of the market economy, and fostering a business culture with a global impact.

CEIBS academic centre

As society progresses, there will be a need for talent in liberal arts and social sciences. As such, launching new business disciplines will become one of China’s strategic initiatives, defining the Chinese paradigm of higher education. The promotion of new disciplines and cultivation of economic management talent will make a huge difference to the development of liberal arts, science, engineering, agriculture and medicine, and even to the higher education landscape. Therefore, business schools should break new ground on the basis of past achievements by proactively following the macrotrends in global economic development, technological revolutions, and industrial transformation; identifying trends, responding promptly, and embracing changes; aligning with national and regional economic and social strategies; getting involved in market economy competition; and driving reform and innovation in global business education.

  1. Conduct interdisciplinary research
    Business schools should step up emerging interdisciplinary research and build collaborative education mechanisms across schools, industries and national borders. In addition, they should proactively keep abreast of scientific and technological advancement, improve knowledge creation, encourage interdisciplinary innovation, and adapt to the growth needs of businesses in order to contribute solutions to corporate transformation and industrial upgrading.
  2.  Foster business leaders versed in global governance
    Amid increasing global instability, the world has nevertheless reached an important consensus on issues such as climate change and carbon neutrality. Facing common challenges, business schools need to strengthen cooperation with global business, science and technology communities to nurture high-calibre business leaders who are familiar with the international rules of the game and who are capable of exercising global governance, and serve as platforms for international exchange and cooperation.
  3.  Launch new business majors and disciplines based on industry chains
    Business schools should launch programmes needed for future industrial development. To foster new business disciplines, they should promote the deep integration of industries, academia and research institutions by giving full play to their significant role in technological innovation. More effort should be put into developing cases and experiential learning bases, labs and think tanks. The deep integration of industries, academia and research institutions will make business schools a testing ground for the future.
  4. Step up efforts to cultivate innovative talent
    Business schools should cultivate innovative talent versed in both depth of regional expertise and global awareness. While keeping abreast of local business practices, they should step up international exchange and cooperation to provide students with an international vision so that they can better address global challenges.

In doing so, business schools should establish an innovative education system that aims to produce first-class academic achievements and cultivate world-class talent capable of making breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies. Efforts should be made to promote the deep integration of industries, academia and research institutions in order to facilitate the commercialisation of scientific and technological findings.

To cultivate talent versed in both industrial transformation and economic management, business schools should further optimise their existing disciplines and remove barriers to interdisciplinary research.

Setting a new benchmark

Guided by our vision of “becoming one of the most respected international business schools in the world by linking China and the rest of the world in teaching, research, and business practice,” CEIBS will advance innovation in terms of student development, faculty, research, teaching, ESG and alumni engagement. In doing so, we will strive to promote cutting-edge ideas, create a hub for China-focused case studies, spread Chinese business practices, and build a case library and a first-class think tank in line with our mission to educate responsible leaders versed in “China Depth, Global Breadth.”

CEIBS school gate

Developing a student-centric operation system

CEIBS will make full use of all opportunities inside and outside the classroom to bolster student growth, achievement and success. Students will be empowered to learn proactively, constructively, synergistically, situationally, introspectively and critically. They will be encouraged to construct their own knowledge and value systems in the learning process. The role of faculty will shift from a relayer of knowledge to an instructor, information provider, academic advisor, researcher and team player.

Building a team of world-renowned experts

We will continue to cement our status as a leading business school in terms of teaching and research, further expand our faculty team, step up efforts to recruit and cultivate excellent faculty members, and optimise faculty composition. Meanwhile, we will lay emphasis on teaching, research, and practice, and build a world-renowned faculty team who create and disseminate knowledge for industry professionals and policymakers from multiple perspectives while fostering signature research areas.

Fostering “2+4+2+X” interdisciplinary research areas

We will leverage our five campuses in China, Europe and Africa, and interdisciplinary research to play a leading role in the management education community, and develop its “2+4+2+X” interdisciplinary research areas. More efforts will be made in seeking breakthroughs in research on social security and elderly care, regional economies, and wealth management to build a top think tank that aligns with China’s national and regional strategic needs.

Reinforcing top-tier position in global management education

To sharpen our unique teaching strengths, we will deliver international teaching to meet diversified teaching and research needs, and build a platform for international exchange and cooperation; conduct case studies, strengthen cooperation with Harvard Business Publishing Education, Ivey Publishing, and ECCH, and build the world’s most influential China-themed case library; deliver our unique Real Situation Learning Method™ (RSLM) experience; create an ecosystem for integration of industries, academia and research institutions and establish a number of new RSLM bases.

Nurturing responsible leaders

We will also remain committed to educating responsible leaders versed in “China Depth, Global Breadth”; developing ESG-oriented curriculums and research output and integrating the ESG philosophy into teaching, research and operations.

Empowering alumni

Finally, CEIBS will continue to build a platform to provide alumni with more lifelong learning opportunities, establish a win-win ecosystem to facilitate multi-dimensional communication and interact with alumni.

At the same time, we will continue to optimise our internal management system by redesigning a flexible and effective organisational structure; stick to our global vision; motivate staff to enhance solidarity and cooperation; reshape digital leadership; and foster up-to-date cultural values.

Looking ahead, the CEIBS community will uphold our shared values and strategic goals, and make unremitting efforts to enhance the school’s role in leading knowledge creation and dissemination, so as to grow into one of the most respected international business school in the world.

 The future of global business education in a new landscape

Wang Hong is President and Professor of Management at CEIBS.

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