As I look forward to
celebrating another Smith School commencement in May, I am reminded of the
remarkable school year that is coming to a close. February’s announcement of
yet another generous gift from alumnus and longtime supporter Bob Smith
certainly stands out as a transformational moment for the Smith School. The
gift will provide tremendous support to our continuing efforts to advance
the quality of the school and expand our reach across the globe.
No business – or business school – can last for very long as an
isolationist. Competitors are everywhere. Organizations of every size must
think globally or they will not survive. But you don’t become global by
sitting in your backyard or reading a book about China. You must actually be
global. Fortunately, pursuing global strategies is easier than it has ever
been. Information technology enables firms to collaborate along
international boundaries and share intellectual capital. Vast networks make
it easy to move capital, whether for lower-cost labor or specialized
expertise. Information is exchanged across the globe at light speed, and
real-time supply chains enable goods to move nearly as fast.
Still, if organizations are to succeed globally, they need our help. True
leaders for the digital economy are leaders who know how to manage in the
complex global environment. Any business school graduate without a global
orientation is doomed to be obsolete. So at Smith we explore and seize
opportunities that provide students and executives with the skills they need
to understand and manage cross-cultural issues and challenges.
The Smith School’s expansion in China and Europe over the past year is part
of our strategy to build innovative global alliances that help us meet the
rapidly changing needs of the world’s business education marketplace.
Experts predict China will need tens of thousands of additional MBA
graduates ever year for the next several years, in order to keep up with
economic development. The Smith School is helping China meet this challenge
by delivering Executive MBA and other business programs in Beijing and
Shanghai. And our unique partnership with ChinaCast Communications Holdings
allows us to deliver executive programs well beyond China’s largest cities
via satellite technology.
The Smith School’s international moves over this
past year are aligned with our mission to ascend to a position as one of the
top global business schools. They expand our influence on business across
the globe and enable us to provide students with the skills they need to
lead global companies. And, as we actively engage in the creation of
world-class management education on three continents, we are growing our
international network. We now have more than a dozen international members
on our Board of Visitors, and the school’s first China chapter of the Alumni
Association boasts nearly 100 members.
If business schools are to adequately prepare their students to succeed
and adapt to the dynamic global marketplace, then they must also think and
act globally. With the continued support of our alumni and other friends,
such as Bob Smith, we are meeting this challenge.
Dean Howard Frank