This is an exciting time to prepare for a career in business management. There are many changes in how business is being conducted around the world. Clearly, this is a time of great transition in the creation and distribution of goods and services globally.

While times of transition often look chaotic, new patterns will emerge that establish the new order. Men and women entering business careers in the coming decade will be a part of creating the new patterns in the new order.

One of the most exciting features of the current transition is the globalization of business. Creation and exchange of goods and services involves an increasing portion of the world's population. Every year, the scope of participation is greater. More countries, more cultures, more people are involved in interactive economic trade. Labor, goods, and services are exchanged more broadly, and only a relatively small portion of the world's population is left out of the global economy - a portion that continues to shrink. This globalization has made fundamental changes in business outlook and practices.

Equally dramatic changes are taking place in technology. Manufacturing, communications, and transportation technologies are all producing innovation on a scale and at a rate unimaginable only a few years ago. This means the old mind sets about how things are done, and with whom transaction are made, are obsolete. Men and women entering business management careers in the next decade will literally be changing lives throughout the world through techniques and transactions not yet imagined.

All of these changes make this a particularly propitious time to be acquiring a business education. With so much change taking place, persons acquiring a business management education now can learn the techniques on the leading edge of change. They can prepare themselves to participate in the new patterns of business. They will enter business careers as new patterns are emerging, and they will participate in building the operational practices twenty-first century businesses.

With this amazing opportunity available to them, it is especially important that persons planning business careers get an education that is reliable, current, and relevant. They need to be certain that they experience educational programs capable of preparing them for the excitement ahead. Those programs must be in touch with the latest techniques and practices. They must combine the theoretical understanding of global economic developments with a practical understanding of how things get done. A student who invests his or her time, effort, and opportunity in an educational experience must be sure that the return on that investment will be great. The best educational experience will not just inform students, it will transform them. At the end of the educational experience they will see the world in ways they had not seen it before, and they will behave differently than they behaved before.

In this situation of opportunity, the good new and the bad news comes from the same phenomenon. There are more educational opportunities for students wishing to enter into business management careers than ever before. The bad news is that the demand for business education is so great that it has encouraged institutions of dubious merit to enter the market.

Not all management education programs are the same. Some do not have the resources to assure that their education is current and relevant. A shortage of qualified faculty and the expense of maintaining current technology push costs up for institutions offering business education.

Some do not have the will to use their resources to make the education they offer current and relevant. With high demand in the market, some institutions can operate at lower costs and higher profit margins by skimping on needed personnel and technology. Students need information as they make choices among education providers.

AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business - has been evaluating and accrediting educational quality of business education since 1916. It provides a rigorous peer review process for determining those schools that offer quality business management education. Worldwide, 424 schools have achieved AACSB International accreditation, which assures not only that they have achieved quality but that they have mechanisms in place for continuous improvement of their educational offerings. In making its accreditation evaluations, AACSB looks at the educational outcomes, processes that produce those outcomes, and the processes that manage schools' resources toward achievement.

The ultimate criteria for decision-making within the AACSB accreditation process is a judgment of overall high quality. Through the professional judgment of the business school administrators and corporate executives who comprise the peer review teams, an overall quality judgment results from the careful and detailed evaluation of this school on AACSB's accreditation standards. Students entering an AACSB-accredited business management program can be assured that accreditation is earned only after a careful and searching review process.

The coming decade will see a great need for emerging leaders in business. These must be people with vision and with values. They will be needed in every industry and at every level of business activity. The excitement of the current business transitions will evolve into economic activity and participation of a scope the world has never seen. Today's students will be its creators and leaders.

Author: Milton Blood, Managing Director, AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)



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