24EN Editor's Note：When Luis Cabral starts work in the impressive, six-story Landmark building opposite the Carnegie Hall concert venue in Manhattan this month, it will not be to the sound of audience applause or to the smell of greasepaint. An economist by trade, he will be the first professor to be based in Iese Business School's New York campus. But Prof Cabral will not be the last: a dozen faculty members from the Spanish business school will move there over the next few years.
This Spanish school is not the only business school pursuing expansionist dreams. Indeed, the argument that recession inhibits global expansion is one that seems lost on business schools, which are pursuing international growth with vigour. Even Harvard Business School – which has always argued that students should go to Harvard, not Harvard to students – has succumbed. For the first time in its 101-year history, HBS will this month open its first teaching facility outside Cambridge, Massachusetts, in Shanghai.
Many established schools have been willing to help – MIT Sloan set the trend for these ventures, helping schools in China in the 1990s and, more recently, in Portugal. Oxford's traditional rival, Cambridge University, has also joined the game. The Judge Business School is helping build academic capacity at fledgling business schools in Ahmedabad, Karachi and Abu Dhabi and has plans to do so in China, too.
Even in India, which has proven particularly idiosyncratic in its approach to management training, changes in the law have signalled a green light to international business schools to enter the market – Canada's Schulich school of business has been the first top-ranked school to set up a campus there.
Meanwhile, a growing number of students see China as the hot place to study. At Ceibs in Shanghai, 38 per cent of this year's incoming class are non-Chinese, says dean Rolf Cremer. Five years ago, the figure was just 19 per cent.
“They want to orientate their careers with China and the east,” says Prof Cremer, but he is concerned that their expectations are difficult to meet. “Some of them have the idea that this is a short cut to a fast expatriate package. This is not the case. We tell them that if they do not speak Chinese, they are at a competitive disadvantage.
Many in business schools will see this as a missed opportunity at best, and a damning indictment of business schools' inability to innovate at worst. Over the past year, most deans have opined on the need to change both the curriculum and the experience for MBA students, incorporating ethics, social responsibility and social enterprise in programmes, though hard evidence of these changes has often been difficult to find.