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WORLD BUSINESS

Schools look to expand resources

Institutions see need to meet demand for qualified managers

By Ian Grayson for CNN

story.tunisia.baccalaureat2005afp.jpg
The battle for schools to attract top-notch teachers is on-going.

FACT BOX

FT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Kellogg, U.S.
3. Chicago GSB, U.S.
4. Stern, NY, U.S.
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Hong Kong UST, China
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
9. London Business School, UK
10. Tanaka, Imperial College, UK
Source: Financial Times 2005

FACT BOX

EMBA SNAPSHOT

Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.

A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.

A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.

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Schools

(CNN) -- Top-flight U.S. and European business schools face a constant battle to attract and retain quality teachers, but in developing economies the problem is even more acute.

Faced with growing demand for executive education, schools in regions such as Asia, China and South America are searching for ways to expand their teaching resources.

The schools are trying desperately to meet demand for qualified managers from companies experiencing dramatic growth rates. Some fear a lack of talent could become one of the biggest impediments to future economic prosperity.

Because tempting top professors away from high-profile schools is an unlikely prospect, many institutions are looking for ways to develop the staff they have.

To help with this challenge, two of the world's most recognized business schools are offering courses aimed specifically at faculty members from developing countries.

The MIT Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School have developed training courses covering topics such as course design, teaching techniques and the case study method.

Harvard has been a strong proponent of using business cases in its MBA degree courses for years and believes the technique can be used by others to improve the quality of their academic offerings.

Cases are thoroughly researched summaries of how real-world companies have approached and overcome a particular problem or challenge. By studying and discussing cases, students are encouraged to form their own ideas about which management approaches work -- and which don't.

In September, Harvard played host to more than 70 academics from major business schools in Taiwan and China who took part in the school's Program on Case Method and Participant-Centered Learning (PCMPCL).

Harvard professor and chair of the program Thomas Piper says the 10-day PCMPCL program comprised six classes each day as well as out-of-hours preparation and study. Participants learned how to design a course, write cases and conduct student discussion sessions.

"PCMPCL is now an important part of our international outreach," Professor Piper says. "We look forward to greeting many more participants from the region in the years ahead."

Professor Piper says a key goal of the sessions is to equip academics with the skills needed to generate their own cases for use within their business courses. While Harvard provides cases for use at other institutions, having solid examples based on local companies can make a big difference to student learnings.

Participants are instructed in how to identify potential case examples, summarize their key points and package them as student-ready materials that can be introduced into classes.

Meanwhile, at MIT's Sloan School, a similar program has been operating for the past eight years. The China Management Education Project brings faculty members to work with MIT staff and participate in MBA courses.

Visiting professors are then encouraged to return to their business schools and use their newly acquired knowledge to improve the standard of courses being offered.

MIT senior associate dean Alan White says bringing Chinese faculty members to the US for training is a concept that works because it removes them from their usually heavy workloads and provides them with an opportunity to experience a new atmosphere and teaching culture.

"Our model is a very effective one, contributing to faculty development and it is faculty that will make a great institution," he says.

Initiatives such as those being conducted by Harvard and MIT are not purely one-way streets. Both business schools report the outreach programs have also served to foster stronger relationships between institutions. These have led to other projects such as joint research and development programs.

Because of these successes and the benefits that flow from the professional ties with schools in rapidly developing areas, other U.S. business schools are expected to follow a similar path in the future.

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