The Deans’ Forum on Innovation in Management Education with theme of “Dare to Change, the Will to Lead” was held on October 23, 2014 at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM), as part of the series of events of the 2014 Advisory Board Meeting. Four deans including Geoffrey Garrett, Advisory Board member and Dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Garth Saloner, Advisory Board member and Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business, David Schmittlein, Advisory Board member and John C Head III Dean of MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM, discussed the innovative reforms of education management under new circumstances. The Forum was hosted by Professor YANG Bin of Tsinghua SEM.
Professor YANG Bin (left) hosted the Deans’ Forum on Innovation in Management Education
The Forum commenced with the topic of management innovation and education reform. Dean Garrett first expressed his views that the globalization and the development of technology have brought both challenges and opportunities to business schools, over and above its traditional roles. He mentioned that with the swift rise of societal demand, private enterprises play an increasingly important role, a role which is experiencing a horizontal expansion in the field of infrastructural projects. Business Schools including Wharton need to act as a strong catalyst to maximize the application value of innovation in public and private enterprises.
Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Dean Saloner then led the discussion to the more practical aspects of education reform - fine-tuning course design through adaptation to new corporate models. He advocated for business schools to contribute greater value in areas of application and help reform the industry. An example cited was the 28% renewal rate of Stanford GSB's elective courses this year. Dean Saloner also said that with the technological improvements spurring new breakthroughs in MOOCs and core courses in finance and marketing gaining footholds in online education, business schools would experience huge changes in its overall structure.
Garth Saloner, Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business
Dean Schmittlein was of similar opinion and expressed that globalization and rapid transfer of skills lowered the barriers of entry into business schools, producing students of equal caliber and greater homogeneity. As Sloan has always capitalized on the School's strong engineering base and its effective unification of financial management and engineering fields to realize its aim of developing distinctive and unique talents, this would also mean that the relevant ideas and content involved would fundamentally transform management styles in the business school.
David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean of MIT Sloan School of Management
Dean QIAN observed that Tsinghua SEM is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, which means it is still young as compared to the other three business schools. On the other hand, China's rapid rise to the second largest economy in the world has also provided the School with abundant opportunities and thus there is an urgent need for SEM to learn quickly from the experience of others. Dean QIAN also raised examples of innovation in education in Tsinghua SEM. For instance, Tsinghua x-Lab is an innovation and entrepreneurship education platform, which saw the collaboration of Tsinghua SEM with 14 other faculties on Tsinghua campus and aims to transform student's innovative ideas into reality.
QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management
The four deans then commenced discussion with regards to the outlook of business schools in the new era. When faced with the question of whether "Business Schools would no longer be around by 2030", Dean Saloner was of the belief that an excellent business school, by enrolling the best students was to bear the responsibility of fostering excellent enterprising qualities in these students, and this could only be achieved through face to face interaction amongst students and professors. As a key medium for knowledge dissemination, the influence that business schools would hold would not diminish, but to the contrary expand further. Dean Garrett also commented on the issue of online courses that online resources rarely matched with those in traditional classes and were inconsistent with the branding of business schools. What would keep business schools alive and competitive were precisely the quality of education as well as their strong branding and reputation. Dean QIAN believed that while many universities faced challenges from online courses and education, business schools should make appropriate adjustments to the new challenges. Another strength of the traditional classroom approach brought up by Dean Schmittlein were the opportunities for extracurricular expansion, as observed from the myriad of research projects conducted by business school students on a global scale. That was something that online courses simply could not offer.
Q&A Session at the Deans’ Forum on Innovation in Management Education
Professor YANG Bin then raised questions pertaining to the phenomenon of the decreasing proportions of MBA students entering the finance and investment banking industries to the four deans. More specifically, he probed on how students could be encouraged to bear higher risks and provide more support to non-profit organizations. Dean Saloner raised that of all graduate students of Stanford GSB, a quarter would become entrepreneurs, and another quarter would go into the finance industry. However work in the finance industry is going through certain transformation, which is seeing less investment banking and more venture capital and private equities. Dean Schmittlein gave an example of the Sloan enrollment assessment procedure, which not only took into account the student's education background but more importantly the student's performance and contribution under different scenarios and circumstances. According to Dean Garrett, students of Wharton were more concerned about innovation, and were playing their part in bearing risk by working towards innovations in finance and hedge funds. Dean Qian took into account the practical environment of China in his reply - that because China was in a different stage of development from other countries and that the finance industry is undergoing rapid growth, there is still a large proportion of students seeking employment in financial firms, but nevertheless there is also an increasing number turning towards innovation and entrepreneurship.
From the left: Professor YANG Bin of Tsinghua University SEM, Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua University SEM, Garth Saloner, Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business and David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean of MIT Sloan School of Management
The Forum saw a thorough discussion of the rising trends in education management innovation and saw the exchange of valuable experiences and views between the top local and international business schools. Tsinghua SEM's innovation efforts were also given high appraisal and global recognition by business schools from abroad.
Deans’ Forum on Innovation in Management Education
Reuters, Xinhua News Agency, China News Service, China Education Daily, China Youth Daily, Guangming Daily, China Daily, People.cn, CCTV, China Education Television and up to 30 other media companies provided live coverage of the Forum.