When you sit down to discuss global business education with Mason’s School of Business dean, Jorge Haddock, the last things you expect him to bring up are Christopher Columbus and Jamestown.
“The term global business is redundant,” Haddock says, and perhaps it always has been. “Columbus was sailing the globe looking for better trade routes, and Jamestown was a business venture,” he offers as examples.
And while business continues to take people to the far reaches of the globe, what has changed over the centuries is technology.
“Technology has enabled business to move at an accelerated pace not only in the movement of the goods, but in the innovation of new products and services,” says Haddock, who has been the school’s dean since 2009. “The whole world has become a small village because of technology, and that’s what makes business exciting. At the same time, it poses challenges to companies to stay competitive.”
That’s where business education and the School of Business come in.
“We have to be global. Business is global,” says Alison S. O’Brien, MA ’97, PhD ’01, associate dean of undergraduate programs at the school. “So we have to prepare students at all levels to work in this global marketplace when they leave us.”
Unusual but Not Unique
How does one prepare students to succeed in such a dynamic environment? According to Haddock and O’Brien, international elements are worked into the curriculum both purposefully and organically.
Oftentimes, the global aspects of a business topic are introduced purposefully into a course through case studies and textbooks, but Haddock believes it is the international experiences of the students and the faculty (the organic means, in his mind) and how they bring these experiences into the classroom that really set Mason apart.
“Any activity I have with undergraduates, whether it is an honor society induction or student reception, is like the United Nations. Our students are coming from all over the world,” says Haddock, who was born in Puerto Rico and is bilingual. “We also have many first-generation college students who were born here but speak another language at home. And they aren’t captured in the [international student] statistics because they are U.S. citizens.”
Business degrees are hot, especially among international students. The Institute for International Education continues to rank business and management as the top fields of study pursued by international students. Running a near second is engineering.
Mason’s dual degree programs have proven this finding to be true. Nearly 40 percent of the students in the China 1+2+1 program major in management, finance, or marketing. The majority of students enrolled in the new Moscow State University dual program seeks degrees in business or economics. These two programs add to the school’s international demographics.
While such diversity at the undergraduate level isn’t unique among business programs, according to the dean, it is unusual.
“[Internationally, diversity] is much more common in graduate programs,” Haddock says. “For example, if you were to check out a graduate program in Spain, you would find that most students come from other countries.”
Haddock knows business schools. Since 2005, he has conducted accreditation visits around the world for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (see sidebar), the same organization that accredited the School of Business in 1991. In fact, Haddock is known for his strong network of business school deans around the world.