It’s important for business schools to have international links no matter where they call home

Many within business schools appreciate the importance of international connections, Stephanie Mullins – Associate Director at specialist communications consultancy BlueSky Education – and colleague Olivia Nieberg explore some specific examples within the industry. 

There are prestigious business schools based all over the world, with beautiful, innovative campuses and large, multi-cultural communities. However, despite many having flourishing environments where they are originally based, it is just as important for business schools to have international links for a variety of reasons.

Below, we look at just a few examples of how some top business schools are expanding all over the world in various ways, extending their impact and building their reputations from all corners of the globe.

NEOMA Business School

A renowned institution in France, NEOMA Business School opened a brand-new office in Colombia in January 2020 to facilitate the recruitment of students from Latin America. With the benefit of its historic partnerships with the universities of Latin America, by opening this office, NEOMA plans to double the number of Latin American students over the next four years by focusing its recruitment strategy on the principal markets of that continent, welcoming students to the various different programmes of the school – the post-baccalaureate and Grande Ecole programmes, as well as Executive Education.

Having already established an office in India in 2018, NEOMA continues to lay fresh foundations in key parts of the world, subsequently developing its international links for the long term.

Aalto University Executive Education

International partnerships are also a brilliant way for Business Schools to have a positive impact in other parts of the world. Aalto University Executive Education in Finland has, for the past four years, cooperated with the UONGOZI Institute, an independent agency established by the Government of Tanzania in 2010 to strengthen leadership that fosters sustainable development in the African country.

Finland has supported the Institute from the very beginning. This includes core support to the Institute’s basic operations as well as leadership training programmes, such as the one run in cooperation with Aalto EE, Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership (PDG).

Now in its fifth year, the PDG programme is a huge success. The participants have ranged from public sector officials to leaders of non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, and private companies, representing a wide-ranging cross-section of Tanzanian upper management.

Ultimately, support to the UONGOZI Institute continues to be an important channel in achieving Finland’s development policy objectives in Tanzania. This includes implementing the country’s own Development Plan and becoming a middle-income country by 2025.

Indeed, this is a brilliant example of how Business Schools can have an invaluable influence far beyond the realms of their campuses.

Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

The opportunity for students to study abroad is also a brilliant way for business schools to expand their influence beyond their own countries. With Erasmus+ – the EU’s program to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe – at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, students have the chance to study abroad in another European country and widen their social and cultural experiences. By doing this, they familiarize themselves with the academic system of a foreign university and benefit from their teaching and learning methods.

Ultimately, Erasmus+ supports work placements for students so that they can gain work experience in an international environment and develop key qualities such as communication and cooperation skills, and broaden their minds and knowledge in respect of other cultures and markets.

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business

This is also true for Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business. NU GSB has launched a new MSc in HR Management (MHRM) programme also developed under the umbrella of the Erasmus+ framework.

Being part of the Erasmus+ framework has allowed the school to tap into the resources and experiences of European partners in the consortium. The programme also provides a two-week international residency in Europe to gain global business experience.

On top of this, NU GSB also has a strategic partnership with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, one of the top business schools in the US, as all NU’s schools have specially tailored partnerships with international schools. NU GSB benefits from advice and insight into best practices on classroom design, admission standards, faculty recruitment, and curriculum development.

These strategic partnerships are very important for business schools to not only enhance their institution’s development but also help in recruiting faculty and in shaping programmes.

MIP Politecnico di Milano

This is wonderfully similar to the case for MBA participants on the International Full-Time MBA programme at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Milan. This programme is now offered in official partnership with international and national companies offering key involvement through project works, company sponsorships and placement opportunities, and those on the course are able to participate in a number of exchange programmes with management schools and universities around Europe and the rest of the world.

The experience is truly international thanks to the many short- and long-term exchange opportunities in France, Mexico, China, India, USA, UK, Russia, Netherlands, Uruguay and Australia, and each exchange may last from one week to three months in duration.

Alliance Manchester Business School

It’s easy to see parallels here with Alliance Manchester Business School, where participants can study for an international MBA from anywhere in the world while also working full-time. This means they can apply the skills and knowledge they learn immediately to solve business challenges.

The Manchester Global Part-time MBA is for professionals from all industries with at least three years of experience and strong career progression. What makes this institution even more unique, is that for elective courses, participants can attend workshops at any of the school’s global centres in Dubai, Hong Kong, Manchester, Säo Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore. The school also runs MBA workshops in additional locations, currently including Tokyo. During the pandemic, these have all been held online but will resume once foreign travel recommences.

BI Norwegian Business School

Last and by no means least, BI Norwegian Business School have long-standing roots across the world as they have the longest-running MBA programme in China with a foreign business school. With most of the course being taught in Shanghai at School of Management, Fudan University, and the last module taught in Oslo, Norway, the aim is to help students succeed in a more Chinese-dominated business world combined with the Nordic business culture of egalitarianism, collaboration, and transparency.

Students who successfully complete the MBA programme will receive a joint degree diploma from BI Norwegian Business School and School of Management, and Fudan University, signifying that they have obtained a truly international MBA degree.

The MBA degree is issued from BI Norwegian Business School and is approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education, and highlights that despite being based in Europe, the Norwegian business school has solid, long-standing routes in China, proving invaluable to those who undertake the MBA programme.

International links across the world are extremely beneficial

Ultimately, having international links is massively beneficial for business schools, especially as the market continues to expand and become ever more competitive. Partnering with other international business schools and companies, as well as offering study and placement options for students at institutions far beyond the realms of their original campuses, are just a few ways business schools can extend their reach and reputation across borders.

Of course, once students can finally return to the campus and the classroom without restrictions, options to study and work internationally as part of their programme can give students the option to immerse themselves in key industries and geographies, in turn representing their institution and taking the values of their business school into other higher education communities across the globe.