Changing Landscape of Management Education

Dr. Dan LeClair
Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer
AACSB International

As vice president and chief knowledge officer of AACSB International (AACSB), Dan LeClair is responsible for AACSB’s efforts to advance quality management education worldwide through thought leadership. He was the principal architect of Knowledge Services, which assists business school leaders to plan and make decisions using comparable data and information about trends and effective practices. Dan leads the research teams of AACSB and the Global Foundation for Management Education, a think tank joint venture of AACSB and the European Foundation for Management Development. He has served on numerous industry-wide committees and task forces (for organizations such as GMAC®, EMBA Council, and Aspen Institute Business & Society Program) and is an internationally recognized expert, author, and frequent presenter on business education topics. Prior to joining AACSB, Dan was an associate professor in The University of Tampa’s business school, where he also served as associate dean. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida.

Rahul- What are the top two trends in you are witnessing in the field of accreditation for management education?
Dan- First, more schools have been aiming for higher quality for many reasons, including mounting awareness that better management education can be an engine of development and innovation.  Second, participants (students, faculty, and staff) in management education are becoming more internationally mobile, while the information available to them about the quality of schools has been rather limited. Because accreditation provides a framework and mechanism for quality improvement and is a signal to stakeholders that the school will deliver on its promises, it is easy to understand why the demand for international accreditation, such as that offered by AACSB, has been rising.

Rahul- Indian management education has expanded very fast over last decade and has nearly 2,000 management institutions. However, this expansion has come at the expense of quality. What are your views on how accreditation approach and AACSB could help infuse quality in Indian management education?
Dan- Intellectual capital is the foundation for excellent management education, but is often hardest to develop in emerging economies such as India’s where qualified faculty are in extremely short supply. So for AACSB to achieve its mission to advance quality management education worldwide, it must not only offer transparent standards that challenge schools to achieve higher levels of quality, it must also find innovative ways to help schools develop faculty talent and scholarly cultures. AACSB must help schools to collaborate internationally on doctoral education and explore how intellectual capital also can be created through deep engagement with management practice and meaningful interaction with students—and not just through refereed journal articles.

Rahul- What advice do you have for Indian management institutions who may be exploring to apply for AACSB accreditation in next couple of years, so that they are better prepared and make the best use of their resources for accreditation process?
Dan- Begin with a visioning exercise and deep strategic assessment. Among other things, this exercise will help to determine whether it makes sense for the school to pursue AACSB accreditation. The point is to decide on a set of long term goals, and then determine whether AACSB accreditation can help the school to achieve those goals. Next, get involved with the global management education community. One route is to join AACSB’s network, which is the world’s largest, consisting of nearly 1,200 schools across more than 70 countries. But don’t just join; participate in the events, conversations, and governance of AACSB. Finally, start the formal Pre-Accreditation process, which is designed to assist the schools in a journey of quality improvement that leads to accreditation.

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