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Future Shock

Growing the Next Bumper Crop of Global Business Entrepreneurs

University Business, December 2012

In the wake of a slow, mostly jobless recovery, volatile market conditions have chilled the appetite of multinational corporations for creating permanent, full-time employment opportunities with health benefits. Recent seismic tremors in international financial markets have exacerbated these market conditions, and importantly, established the critical need for preparing a new breed of global business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Indeed, worldwide, a growing segment of startup investment comes from uncollateralized capital, financing pledges, and sweat equity contributed by young entrepreneurs, especially in the small and middle business segments of the economy. These global go-getters are now choosing brand name American style business schools to learn entrepreneurial and intercultural leadership skills in the 21st-century worldwide economy.

Rated No. 1 by US News & World Report, the international network of business scholar entrepreneurs at Babson College (Mass.) distinguishes this school from old and venerable universities like business schools at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago. Over the past several years, Babson College has become a go-to expert for preparing global entrepreneurial business leaders.

At its epicenter, Babson Global was created to expand international business student and faculty horizons beyond the traditional domestic, residential bricks and mortar, undergraduate learning experience. In the view of its President Farhoud Kafi, what actually distinguishes Babson Global from the competition is its worldwide teaching and learning distribution network; nimbleness in responding to fast-changing global economic and political conditions; and Global’s intimate quality control through the accreditation process.

Funded by Goldman Sachs, Babson’s 10,000 Small Businesses program is predicated on the core value proposition that early-stage venture investment optimizes the development of human capital and social-entrepreneurship in economically disadvantaged and underserved communities. This innovative cohort of entrepreneurial thought leaders is at the forefront of job creation and workforce development. Significantly, the Goldman Sachs-Babson partnership has also created a new set of collaborations with community colleges. Babson Global sites are located in Chicago, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York—and beyond, in Abu Dhabi, China, Rwanda, and Latin America.

On the other side of the Charles River, MIT has stepped up its international education investment strategy by increasing its faculty’s global research, design interest, and engagement. Recently, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that foreign governments and foundations have opened their checkbooks to MIT because they believe the university’s brand of applied, innovation-driven education can help prepare a new cadre of scientists and engineers and produce world-class research.

In their seminal book, “The New Entrepreneurial Leader,” Babson Professors Greenberg, McKone-Sweet, and Wilson coin a new phrase—“cognitive ambidexterity”—read as business leaders who can respond to complicated business problems by moving easily between different ways of logic, providing solutions that are accountable to multiple bottom lines. This new kind of entrepreneurial business leader can quickly synthesize the relevance of the new data inputs and intuit ways of making mid-course adjustments in near-term business plans.

What Babson and MIT have in common is a highly focused enterprise investment in the global business, scientific and executive education market space. Most UB readers are too young to remember TV show host Arthur Godfrey’s simple wisdom, “If your ship does not come in, then swim out to it.” For business schools like Babson and MIT, the global waters of international business and science education feel just fine. Look for others to dip their toes in foreign waters in the year ahead.