Zahir Irani Calls for the De-Americanization of the European Management School

20 10 2014

Inside a HBS Classroom

Dean Zahir Irani of Brunel University’s business school here in the UK has published a thoughtful piece on the rankings of MBA programmes. He points out that these rankings are highly US-centric and that the ranking system incentivizes European business schools to adopt US curriculum materials and research approaches.

The latest ranking of business schools has just been released by the Princeton Review and a certain type of business school continues to dominate—American ones. Having earned their reputation over the years by producing some of the world’s top business leaders, their influence stretches far beyond the lecture theater into the business world and society more widely…Following the US model and working to build recognition and favor within the US system has implications: changing the role of business schools, their nature and the basic idea of what their function is and embedding a greater sense of needing to serve society as a whole…In the UK, we benefit from looking beyond our borders and testing ourselves against competition for space in respected international publications. Why don’t the US schools do the same?

Irani points out that the way to get ahead in any business school in the world is currently to publish research that is recognized by US business school academics. This argument is true for the UK, where I work and it’s especially true in Canada, where management and economics researchers are penalised for publishing on Canadian, as opposed to US, topics. Irani argues that this incentive structure for academic researchers short changes the taxpayers who fund management research is most countries. He calls for management research to be more response to local conditions and the needs of practitioners.

You can read the whole thing here.