3) Don’t assume that a U.S. model is right, good or appropriate anywhere else
Emphasis here is not that a U.S. model is bad, but rather why start with a generally settled model when the opportunity presents itself to get imaginative? We might end up at the same place but if we risk a little process we also might learn more than we now know. Could meet some intriguing new people too…
“The age of educating most of humanity has barely begun” claims Kevin Carey. He then lays out some background thoughts: 97 per cent of the world’s high school graduates live outside the U.S, trade barriers block the flow of capital, scholars and students, and many competitive countries aim at creating their own “world-class universities”. There’s more, so check it out, and don’t miss Ben Wildavsky’s new book.
Here’s Carey’s quote we’re working at today:
We didn’t just copy European institutions when we adopted the model of the German research university in the 19th century. We improved on them, welding their focus on scholarship to our egalitarian spirit. We can expect that our 21st-century competitors will be similarly adaptable. They’ll take what’s worked for us and do better.
How about we drill down to a specific challenge: Let’s take our “egalitarian spirit”, forget about sinking the competition, and co-generate or even hack some really splendid and quirky MBA models, that may or may not build on the success of the U.S. variety. Let’s assume that local outcomes drive everything and work backwards from there. Call it an MBA for now, understand that wealth creation and economic performance are fundamentally necessary, but set aside whether or not 18 semester units of core subjects must be completed before thinking about strategy, or some other equally-constraining requirement.
Thoughts for an initial design framework:
- Build on local motivation and momentum
- Replicable at no or low expense
- Creating both wealth and wellness in communities
Here’s more guidelines that I like from Prescott College:
- Sustainability – We follow three principles in determining sustainability: social, economic and ecological
- Carbon Neutral Programs – We offset course/program emissions through “green” service in the field
- Experiential Learning Programming – Our courses offer hands-on learning opportunities for all learning styles
- Stewardship – We serve as an ambassador of and champion for our world and everyone in it
- Service & Contribution – Our programs strive to make our community and the world a better place for all
- Diversity, Culture & History – Our programs share an appreciation for diverse perspectives, individuals, and communities
- Connection to Community – We strive to demonstrate our connections to and with the communities where our programs take place
What else? Whom should we ask?
Previous posts in this series:
- Re-orient your worldview
- Live with “the rest” for a while
- Don’t assume that a U.S. model is right, good or appropriate anywhere else
- Set up the teaching MBA that will equip practitioners actually to teach others, rather than create personal or corporate wealth
- Figure out functional management and apply it locally – this means that local business and management paradigms might create infinitely-customizable MBAs
- Trash current ideas about accreditation and start over
- Fear not new models
 There are some creative MBAs in the US and we should celebrate them – but we’re challenged by something for the rest of the world in this series.