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My New Year Resolution

Posted By Guy Pfeffermann, Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Updated: Friday, December 13, 2013

Guy Pfeffermann

GBSN was born of the conviction that better management at the level of organizations (companies, NGOs, and yes, governments) is conducive to economic progress – that economic and social development would get a boost if the shortage of local management talent were not as acute as it is today in most of the developing world. Hence, GBSN is positioned at the intersection of management education and development.

I say "conviction," because when we established GBSN a decade ago, there had been no research to underpin this intuition. Since then, thanks to one group of researchers, major advances were made in gathering empirical data which makes it possible to test the proposition that "management matters. Thanks to detailed information about some 15,000 firms in 30 countries, we can say now with certainty that the quality of management is strongly related to standards of living. Not only that, but research shows that improved management practices are a driver of national development. Altogether, differences in a country’s average management quality account for about 25 percent of productivity differences – a huge amount. You can find the surveys and analyses at

A big gap in our knowledge remains, however: there is virtually no empirical research to date about the impact of business education on the quality of management. Yet finding out what business school alumni contribute to society – meaning not only their levels of remuneration but also the jobs they create, the innovations they introduce, the firms they create and grow. Why does this knowledge gap exist, when it would be quite easy and inexpensive to conduct follow-up surveys of business school graduates? I asked an eminent faculty that question a few years ago, who said: "it is because management school faculty tend to believe that the positive impact of business education is obvious” and requires no research.

If the development community –funders, emerging markets governments themselves, philanthropists, etc. - are to embed management education, and especially building local capacity for management education, into their standard "development tool kit”, which they have not done to date, it is absolutely necessary to adduce evidence of positive impacts. My New Year resolution is to change this state of affairs, and find ways to encourage researchers to focus on the impact of business education in the developing world. If, as I expect, initial research shows the impact to be positive and substantial, it will then clearly be in the self-interest of business schools across the world to undertake such surveys as part and parcel of their own marketing efforts.

With that thought, and on behalf of Team GBSN, I extend my very best wishes for you and your families.


Guy Pfeffermann is the Founder & CEO of the Global Business School Network.

Tags:  Business Education  developing world  Impact  International Development  Management  Management Education  Management Quality  New Year Resolution 

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