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With globalization now a reality, business schools and MBA programs are doing their bit to help executives and managers think globally as well. One which is doing just that is the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
The school recently celebrated the launch of its Global Executive MBA program. This is a 20-month program designed for executives who need to be "ready on day one to do business in any market around the globe", says Robert F. Bruner, the school's dean.
Darden's faculty is recognized as the world's best by the Financial Times for its executive education, and ranked in the top two in the US by The Princeton Review.
Management education has to go further than teaching students about management techniques, Bruner says. "Business is about balance sheets and cash flows, but it shouldn't be just about that. Good business education should stretch a student's experience," he says, giving them a global mindset.
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The program, which will accept 40 executives from diverse industries and backgrounds, consists of six modules on topics such as "leading the global enterprise". It will also offer two-week residencies in different countries, including China.
"You have to know who you are competing with," says Bruner, adding that "a business education has to engage the whole person."
And although it is nearly impossible to change the character of students when most of them are already either in their 30s or late 20s, it is possible to remind them of things that they already know but may have forgotten. Ideas such as "business should always start from the heart, not the paycheck".
For many people, a well-paid job is almost a byword for a MBA qualification. Bruner says that this is natural as it comes from a basic human impulse to better oneself.
But the dean hastens to add that for business education to count for something, there must be other important reasons as well, such as allowing students to move more quickly along their career paths.
And a business program is only good, the dean says, if it gives students a chance to pursue different routes in life.