By Colin Nelson
In an increasingly interconnected world, many business schools have come to the realization that they cannot effectively train the managers and business leaders of the future without providing opportunities for their students (and by extension, their faculty and staff) to engage in international activities, which contribute to their understanding of that world. In AACSB’s annual Collaborations Survey, responding schools can report on a variety of such opportunities that they make available to students, faculty, and/or staff:
Figure 1. Opportunities for Internationalization in Use at Business Schools
Among the 308 total schools that contributed data to the latest iteration of the Collaborations Survey, strong majorities affirm offering all ten of the internationalization opportunities asked about in the survey, which I see as a positive indication that business schools are taking seriously the need to prepare their students for business leadership in a globalized world. Still, it is evident that some means are more broadly considered useful than others to this endeavor.
For example, approximately 89% of respondents reported offering short-term trips abroad for academic credit, while only 59% reported offering them in a non-credit capacity. Clearly then, the business schools who responded to the survey more strongly favor giving credit for the educational experience inherent in short-term trips abroad.
Study abroad opportunities for students were easily the most popular of the ten types, with 95% of respondents reporting that such opportunities were available at their school. This makes sense, given that such opportunities are relatively easy to arrange and execute compared to other types. Indeed, study abroad/student exchange was an element of 88% of the 5,513 total reported collaborative agreements in the survey, and the sole element of nearly 66% of all reported collaborations.
Internships abroad and (seemingly despite the attention that such programs typically receive) joint/dual degree programs were among the least commonly reported opportunities in the survey, with 72% and 62% of respondents affirming their use, respectively. This, too, makes sense, given that these types of international opportunities require much more in the way of resources, logistics, and long-term commitment than many of the others above.
Nevertheless, this represents a rise of nearly 5% (in the case of internships) and 7% (in the case of joint/dual degree programs) from the results of the 2009-10 Collaborations Survey. Other evidence also suggests that growth in collaborative degree programs may be a trend worth watching.