|Please don't take offense if
your alma mater or favorite university isn't featured here. This isn't
intended to be a guide to all of the business schools. There are many
better sources for such knowledge, but we also welcome suggestions for
additions to this list.
The purpose of this section is to highlight a few top schools related to
this community (global direct investment, corporate development, economic
development, professional services, corporate real estate, etc.) which may be
executives or students interested in this niche market, and explain why they may be of special interest.
The famous schools need no such introduction for their capabilities, and
their general reputations may not be as meaningful in this specific niche.
|The intent of this section
will be add relevant feedback from corporate executives, based on direct
knowledge of schools such as these, and especially for the smaller or less
prominent schools, including valuable resources in other countries and
insights into their specialties.
For example, US executives may be unaware
of schools such as the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São
Paulo, or the university in Campinas, or others which might be relevant to
business interests in Brazil. The same may be true of the growing
linkages between leading business schools in the US and Europe with
universities in China, India, and other major markets.
As another example, students interested in economic
development might be unaware of relevant programs in Oklahoma, North
Carolina, and Belgium or elsewhere in Europe related to this specialty. This section can serve as a shortcut to
South Carolina, Columbia SC - Darla Moore School of Business,
International MBA program (IMBA, formerly known as MIBS),
Alumni Opinion (Bruce
Donnelly) : Forget what any of the rankings say (newspapers, magazines,
surveys, etc.), although for many years this has been a top-rated program.
Look into it. In fact, I found it because other "top name" schools
kept comparing themselves to MIBS, and copying ideas from the program.
It has continued to improve, while the others are still trying to catch up
or pretend that their programs are comparable.
To some extent, many other schools still don't "get it". They may
still treat global business as a small subset of traditional functional
specialties, such as one or two chapters in a textbook with a few lectures
about how it is different. Not surprisingly, the result is that
students from top US universities still emerge with a low reputation among
executives for their international skills, and rarely have meaningful
experience in that regard unless they already had it before they even
arrived at the school. The universities may be developing branch
campuses or special training programs in cooperation with international
universities, but that still doesn't mean that their US students or faculty
are well prepared for international business.
I am a former diplomat and have specialized in global direct
investment projects for more than a decade. I went through the
MIBS program after leaving the Foreign Service. My "track"
through MIBS included an internship at Touche Ross in Brazil after intensive
Portuguese language training which was as good as the Foreign Service
Institute, where I learned German before working in Frankfurt. I later
set up a "Big Four" consulting practice in Brazil, and led consulting sales
for another "Big Four" consulting group in Belgium after five years of work
for a British industrial development agency.
This is a fine international MBA program. To find anything with a comparable
international focus, one would probably have to go to universities in Europe
or perhaps Canada. "Thunderbird" is perhaps the closest competitor in
the US, but there is still no substitute for living and working in another
country after studying the language and culture.
The program offers intensive foreign language training and cross-cultural
studies leading into six month internships at businesses in a variety of
countries around the world, in addition to the usual full program of study
of any MBA program in functional disciplines (finance, marketing, etc.) with
a focus on each from the international business perspective.
The languages and internships aren't limited to Europe, either.
The program is global in scope, including "hard" languages like
Japanese before internships there, or Arabic before internships in Egypt. How many other business
schools produce a steady flow of MBA's who speak Brazilian Portuguese, and
understand from direct experience what it is like to live and work in Brazil? How many
produce graduates with similar direct experience working elsewhere in South and
Central America or Asia? Clearly that is a relevant resource for many
businesses, aside from the usual European connections.
In other words, it isn't just the usual MBA courses with a textbook
chapter and a professor talking theoretically in a classroom setting here
about how global business is somehow "different" from business in the US.
The students learn to actually live and work effectively in another culture,
while doing business in the US is just another leading country to study.
There are also many foreign students in the program from all
over the world who learn through a US internship about doing "foreign"
business here. That adds greatly to the perspective of everyone, and
also creates an interesting alumni network around the world (i.e., not just
foreign alumni who studied at a US university, or US alumni working
overseas, but rather people from other cultures who have directly studied
and experienced through their internships how to work for US companies and
do business with them). That's a very relevant resource network for global
executives who may need to hire local talent, rather than US expatriates.
The faculty has strong, practical international business and research
experience, and the entire program is built around a focus on global
business needs. The functional disciplines are taught within the
global context, rather than the other way around. It makes all the
difference. They aren't teaching about US business, and then
commenting on how it may be different in other countries, without much real
Instead, they are teaching about global business, and frequently have
direct international experience and relevant research, so that all the US
business issues are taught in the context of a wider global perspective, as
one might find at a foreign university, with the exception that here they
better understand how US business operates in practice, too.
The internship program also reinforces the practical focus through the
many links with business operations around the world (not just for job
placement support at the end of the program), and the feedback from all
these internships adds greatly to the value of the program for everyone.
For nearly 30 years, long before it became fashionable, this program has
been focused on global business, instead of treating it as though it were a
sideshow. It doesn't always get the recognition it deserves.
|"Thunderbird" - The
American Graduate School of International Management, Glendale AZ -
Although well-known among many international executives, especially given
the strong network of Thunderbird graduates worldwide, this highly
specialized program is another one which is sometimes overlooked by the
various general business school rankings, despite long-standing leadership
in this niche. For those unfamiliar with it, look into it.
As at South Carolina (Moore), top universities still often compare their
international MBA programs to Thunderbird, rather than vice versa, even
though they still like to insist that they are better. That says it
all. If not already familiar, it is a program well worth
Although justifiably proud of their program and alumni network, T-Birds
also don't seem to have as much of an "attitude" or ego problem.
There is a specialization program in International Development, as well
as opportunities for internships or overseas study in the program.
Pennsylvania, "Wharton School"
Like Harvard, Columbia, or Stanford, this school
obviously doesn't have a visibility problem among top executives, but the
higher level of international enrollment and growing focus on international
business may easily be overlooked because of the more familiar reputation as
a finance school.
All four schools have developed strong international programs to be
responsive to business expectations, but Wharton would seem to have
relatively more students from other countries.
The Executive MBA programs, however, may be of more interest for their
international components or special seminars and networking value than the
recruiting of new graduates from the regular MBA programs. The
executive programs necessarily have a more practical focus because of the
involvement of leaders who may already have significant international
business knowledge and experience to contribute.
Of course, Harvard professors such as Michael Porter have done some
excellent research and books on topics related to this field in the past,
such as global competitiveness and the development of industry clusters in
regions. There are many good resources at such universities.
Note Wharton's alliance with INSEAD and other global
linkages for executive education.
Their MBA Resource Guide described related programs such
as Business and Public Policy
There are also programs related to Real Estate