AACSB Sr. VP on Global Engagement and Changes in Management Education

Dr. Timothy S. Mescon is the fourth president of Columbus State University. He assumed that responsibility in August 2008. Previously, for 18 years, Dr. Mescon was Dean at the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, where he held the Tony and Jack Dinos Eminent Scholar Chair of Entrepreneurship. Dr. Mescon is the author of more than 200 articles and cases and has co-authored four books, his latest, Entrepreneurship: Venture Initiation, Management and Development. Additionally, he has co-authored an audiotape series entitled Management Excellence. Dr. Mescon received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, MBA from Southern Methodist University and B.A. from Tulane University. In September 2014 he was named as the inaugural Senior Vice President and Chief Officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for AACSB International, a position he will formally begin January 2015.
How exciting it is for me to be directly involved in the launch of AACSB International’s upcoming headquarters in Amsterdam, created to serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This venture follows an exceptionally successful five-year run of a greenfield office in Singapore, which was established to serve the Asia Pacific region.
With these initiatives in mind it is incredibly important to acknowledge that a core premise, which underlies AACSB’s Accreditation Standards, emphasizes the importance of innovation, impact and engagement. Likewise, it is essential to note that over the past quarter century, AACSB (founded in 1916) has modified its standards in 1991, 2003 and most recently in 2013. Quite simply, these evolving standards are reflective of an organization and a membership that embodies an ethos committed to reinvention, connectivity and a pervasive influence on world-class quality business and management education across the globe.
All of this is within a context of a rapidly changing business environment. Globally, there are massive fluctuations in population, technology and socioeconomics. Concurrent to this, increasing pressure calls for more active community engagement, accountability for actions, and environmental stewardship by both business and management education providers. In turn, AACSB recognizes that today’s business schools must respond to these ever changing conditions by providing distinctive knowledge and skills to students, to allow for graduates to successfully meet the various needs of the publics they will operate.
In order to do this effectively, business schools must mirror the societies in which they function, and constantly evolve curricula, content and programs to meet such needs. As a component to this, the impact on business practice must be assessed by all business programs to better develop the nexus between course and program composition, and bearing on practice and business success.
One of the great attributes of AACSB is how the organization embraces the management concept of equifinality. In the accreditation world this means there are many, many paths that might be followed that would lead to best-of-class academic instruction. In AACSB’s sphere, this includes world class educators delivering business education that provides students with the multifaceted tools required to lead organizations in tough, ever-changing, global environments. This overarching concept encourages diversity in management education. This principle also fully recognizes there are business school differences, cultural idiosyncrasies and national distinctions, and that innovation, impact and engagement look very different in different parts of the world.
To this end, in 2008 the AACSB Board of Directors elected to open an office in Singapore to serve the Asia Pacific region. Since, there has been an explosive growth in business schools both pursuing and reaching AACSB’s accreditation requirements in this vast part of the globe. Predicated on the success in Asia Pacific, the AACSB Board moved to replicate the physical expansion model and open an office to serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The hard work, diligence and true passion for service to the AACSB membership that Eileen Peacock, (Senior Vice President and Chief Officer of Asia), and her entire team in Singapore have displayed is a benchmark of excellence that I will endeavor to replicate and instill within the EMEA headquarters.
Today EMEA is host to more than 3,700 institutions that award business degrees, which for perspective purposes, is more than double the current number in the US. Currently, AACSB already has a significant presence in the EMEA region. Nearly half of AACSB’s 1,430 member institutions, and fifty percent of its 716 accredited institutions outside of North America are located in EMEA. Among the same demographics of schools, 48 percent of institutions are in various stages of the accreditation process, and in the past two and a half years, more than 40 percent of non-US applications for AACSB membership have come from the EMEA region. Such numbers only reinforce AACSB’s compelling efforts to help business schools in both these developed and developing economies improve their economic impact on the regions they serve, to continue to advance management education, and to promote leading-edge knowledge and thought leadership.
I look forward to the many steps this new and exciting venture will provide. One of my first efforts will be to get reacquainted with my b-school colleagues at AACSB’s 2014 European Annual Conference, to be held October 9-11 in Grenoble. There, more than 200 attendees, across 25+ countries, will explore management education trends specific to Europe and will focus on concepts of ‘Education and Learning for Innovation’. Just as exciting, AACSB’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Accreditation Conference will be held in Istanbul, May 31-June 02, 2015. There we expect more than 200 attendees from some 20+ countries to attend this conference, embracing the opportunities that diversity and differentiation provide. Both will serve as a great jump start on a more focused approach to working aggressively and extensively with Business Schools in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.