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Tom Robinson: Business education has a higher return on investment

Specific features of the present-day business education were the subject of an interview which Tom Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, gave to Invest Foresight, a main media partner of Gaidar Forum which took place at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Business Administration.

As Mr Robinson explained, “AACSB is a global organization, we accredit 800 business schools around the world in over 50 countries and so we are familiar with worldwide education. Right now there are a number of member schools in Russia that are working on accreditation, but we have just started working on accrediting them and so they should be finishing in the next year or two.” Giving his personal opinion, he noted, “Russian students are very strong. I have been very impressed with how well they present themselves and their knowledge of business.”

Within AACSB, “The schools independently determine based on their local context,what they are training their students for, what curriculum, what types of programs they have. What we do, is we bring them together to meet, to share ideas on what’s working, what’s not working, how they can improve. Our schools have student exchange programs and faculty exchange programs, they work collaboratively on research projects.”

AACSB’s institutions around the world currently have about four million students. Though costs of business education may seem rather high, “The actual typical undergraduate business education is actually quite affordable. Business education has a higher return on investment.” That is why t he number of schools keeps growing. According to Mr Robinson, “There are some 15000 business schools in the world and about half of those are in Asia-Pacific Region.”

Nowadays, business education is very practical, as “Typically, only one in five new businesses and new products are successful. One advantage of going to a business school today is they have a lot of programs for entrepreneurs so you have an opportunity while you are a student to try out your ideas, to pitch them.”

Given the accelerating technological changes, “Today, we have to expose students to a variety of technologies and we have to teach them how to continue to learn when new technologies come about, which is what is going to happen every year. So it is in general how to deal with changing technology and learn to use the changing technology effectively,” Mr Robinson concluded.

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