Albers is accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. As of July 2015, less than five percent of the world’s business schools and less than one third of U.S. business schools have achieved business accreditation from AACSB.
The International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) held its 17th annual world Forum in Lima, Peru July 17-20. Hosted by the Universidad del Pacifico (UP), the meeting brought together representatives from 35 universities (mostly Jesuit) from six continents around the world. The meeting had the theme of “Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusive Business,” and panels and workshops had that theme. Two Albers faculty gave paper presentations consistent with those themes, Bill Weis and Meena Rishi (along with former student Samantha Galvin).
The conference took place at the UP campus. The campus is small, but they have cleverly intertwined their buildings, like a 3-d puzzle, to create open space for what is a very urban campus. The conference is an opportunity to meet deans from other universities and learn about their programs and interest in collaboration. Some of the schools that I talked to about collaboration were from such countries as Belgium, Uruguay, Colombia, and the US.
There was a presentation made on the Jesuit African Initiative, which is an effort to establish business schools in four African nations – Kenya, the Congo, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda/Burundi. African Jesuits have identified this as one of their greatest needs, and according to AACSB there are only 781business schools on the continent (none Jesuit) out of more than 13,000 worldwide. The initiative is just getting off the ground, with Fr. Ron Anton, SJ, the Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, taking the lead in organizing it.
This seems like an important project for us to get involved in. The initiative is seeking a lead school for each of the four projects and a group of supporting schools, as well. I am thinking we want to go the supporting school route, and the one that makes the most sense to me initially is the Rwanda/Burundi project. It requires instruction in French (for Burundi) and English (for Rwanda), and the lead school has been identified as the University of Namur in Belgium. SU has been doing some exploration of work in Rwanda, and this may be a good vehicle for pushing this along. Of course, we need to look at all four projects, but because the language of instruction will be French in Ivory Coast and the Congo, Kenya is another option for us.
As the conference ended, I was elected to the IAJBS Board of Directors. I guess they are running out of people to ask. There are five members from four geographic areas – North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. I was assured that the board only meets face-to-face at the annual meeting (which is in Barcelona next year) and otherwise meets by teleconference. I’m not interested in a lot more out of town meetings!
After the conference, my wife and I flew to Cuzco to see Machu Picchu and other sites in the Sacred Valley. No disrespect to IAJBS and the host school, UP, but this was the highlight of the trip. Plus, the sun was out in Cuzco, while this time of year Lima is covered in a perpetual blanket of clouds.
We came to Peru and Machu Picchu 25 years ago for our honeymoon, so it was interesting to see how things have changed. The country is much stronger from an economic and political standpoint, and the biggest disappointment was the amount of traffic in Lima and Cuzco. That seems to be a negative that comes with economic progress. Consistent with the conference theme of sustainability, we need to solve that problem, not just in Seattle, but in urban areas around the world!
I recently was appointed to AACSB’s Initial Accreditation Committee (IAC). The first meeting was this week in Tampa. The IAC makes recommendations on granting initial AACSB accreditation to business schools from around the world.
As you might guess, many more schools in candidacy are from outside the US, since the US is somewhat saturated with accredited schools. As I anticipated, serving on this committee really allows you to learn a lot about business schools outside the US. Just the first meeting was enough to verify that. Nearly half the committee members come from outside the US, and of course their insights are very valuable and necessary.
This committee is a committee that has a lot of work on its plate. There were plenty of reports to read for this meeting (about 50 were on the agenda!), and I was told that the load was on the light side! Reports vary in scope depending on where the school is in the accreditation process, but some are several hundred pages long.
I was struck by the rigorous standards the committee holds schools to. If anyone thinks that initial accreditation comes easy or that different schools receive different treatment, think again. This group is committed to quality!
This trip to Tampa was long and quick. Leave Seattle on Thursday at 8:00 AM. Get to the hotel in Tampa at 7:30 PM (EDT). Meeting starts at 8:00 AM Friday morning. Head to the airport at 2:30 PM. Get back to Seattle at 10:00 PM (PDT), in time to get up in the morning for an 8:30 AM flight to Peru. More on that in another blog!
It turns out the committee plans to hold its March, 2012 meeting in Seattle, which was quite a surprise to me. Since it will be on the Friday of finals week, we should be able to host the meeting on campus. A number of committee members come from European schools, so I hope they will be able to take advantage of Seattle's non-stop flights from London, Paris, and Amsterdam.
I learned that each year the committee holds a meeting outside the US. Last year the location was Istanbul. But this year, in light of the sluggish economic recovery, they decided to be conservative and keep all the meetings in the US, with one in Tampa, one in Boston, and one in Seattle. No exotic trips abroad for me! At least not this year – I’m serving a three year term. :}
The Summer Business Institute (SBI) is taking place this week. SBI is a program designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to attend college. African American, Hispanic, and Native students who have just finished their junior year in high school participate in the program. They spend the week on campus taking classes taught by Albers faculty, living in the dorms, navigating campus, and doing company visits.
This is the ninth year of the program. The 25 students in this year’s class come from 20 different high schools in the Seattle area. Carl Marino, a former high school teaching, directs the program, and Barb Hauke, our marketing director, provides logistical support. Six Albers students are serving as counselors. It turns out that having our students as counselors is one of the most important and compelling parts of the student experience. With the students serving as roll-models, they provide the participating students with important advice on how to navigate the college admissions process and how to be successful once they are on campus.
Over the years, we have been fortunate to have a number of firms support the program, including Costco Wholesale, Washington Mutual, BECU, Wells Fargo, and Qwest. Still, we struggle to raise money for the program, and it is such a great program it should be an easier sell! While the program is targeted at students in the Seattle metro area, we have had participants from such places as Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California. Somehow they manage to find us!
One important part of the experience is the company visits we do. Here, the students get to see inside various organizations, usually one of the sponsoring companies, and hear from firm leaders. Another part of the experience is a group project that draws on the classes taken and the outside visits. Students end the program with a presentation of their project results. This is always an inspiring part of the program when we get to see how much the students have learned.
A few years ago we started inviting parents to the closing luncheon. We had not anticipated what an important change this would prove to be, because it allowed us to provide them with information on the college admissions process and the possibilities for financial aid. Most of these students would be first generation college students, so the family is not familiar with how these processes work, and frequently they do not have places to turn to find this information. Especially important is to make sure that families know they should not look at the sticker price of SU and conclude they cannot afford to attend. They need to know that programs such as the Costco Scholarship Program can make SU affordable.
There are many SBI success stories. One is Jonathan Bryant, who participated in SBI after his junior year at Kennedy High School. He ultimately enrolled as a freshman at SU and went on to graduate from Albers with a finance degree. Upon graduating from Albers, Jon took a position with a private equity firm in Bellevue.
Another great story is Sandra Amolo. Sandra was a student at Shorecrest High School when she participated in SBI. She enrolled in Albers as a marketing major, and has been a counselor for SBI for the last three years. She has taken advantage of many programs at SU, including an internship in Belize, and earlier this year took first place in the Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition. After she completed her SBI work this week, she had to rush off to Washington, DC for a summer internship at the Smithsonian Institute.
SBI has been a very valuable program for the many students who have participated over the years. Congratulations to Carl, Barb, our counselors and the participating faculty for delivering another excellent program to this year’s 25 students!