Developing an International Brand

Joanne Hession

Joanne Hession is founder of QED Accreditation Advisors, an advisory company that has been successfully helping international business schools with their accreditation processes for almost 15 years.
www.QEDAccreditationAdvisors.com

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Most business schools will say they are international. Are they really? Andrew Crisp and Joanne Hession provide a checklist for both schools and potential students.

The recent CarringtonCrisp major study “See the Future” reported that 68% of respondent students are interested in studying abroad while 89% of all managers and directors agree that “good business education must develop understanding of business in different parts of the world”.

Clearly internationalisation should be part of any business school offer but the question raised is this: If every school wants to be international, how can a school develop a stronger international brand than its competitors?

Statements on business school websites telling potential students and stakeholders about how international, global, multicultural or multinational they are actually say very little. The task is to define what “international” actually means to, and at, your school.

Traditionally, “internationalisation” primarily meant either attracting international students or building strong international academic networks. Associate Deans were appointed to develop internationalisation strategies around these twin issues. However, this narrow view of internationalisation has become outmoded and no longer serves the best interests of a school, its faculty or, most importantly, its students.

Could international accreditation help to differentiate a school?

Accreditation can certainly have a significant impact on the development of a school’s international branding and reputation.

The major international business school accrediting bodies, led by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), AACSB International and the Association of MBAs (AMBA) have recognised an increasingly critical point: internationalisation is not about what a school can get, it is about what a school can be.

What this means is that institutions need to start seeing internationalisation as a culture that can become part of and drive every aspect of a school’s activities.

Internationalisation and accreditation

In developing its EQUIS and EPAS accreditations, EFMD sought to ensure that schools appreciated the importance of developing an international culture within all layers of activity.

EFMD made this clear by including internationalisation as a thread running through each standard. Thus, when describing their institutional context, schools should discuss their international strategy and international competitive position.

Schools also need to address research in terms of international collaborations and international research impact. And when discussing programme portfolios a school should outline how the curriculum is preparing students for careers that will inevitably have an international aspect.

For the full article, you can view the PDF or listen to the podcast.

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