Ding: The teaching method and curriculums of business schools in the world seem no significant change even we have gone into the information society from the industrial society during the recent 100 years, what aspects do you think should the reform on business school's own start with?
Deighton：Curricula have not changed since the start of the Information Age? Spea** for the Harvard Business School, I disagree. Let’s say that the Information Age began around 1994 with the launch of the Mosaic browser that let people use the World Wide Web. Almost immediately Professor Jeffrey Rayport launched his course, “Managing in the Marketspace,” which soon became the most popular course in Harvard’s elective curriculum. Until the collapse of the dot com bubble in 2001, students flocked to course that would teach them Internet marketing, technology, and entrepreneurship.
戴腾：自从进入信息时代后课程设置上就没有改变过吗？如以哈佛商学院为例，我不同意这一说法。约1994年，Mosaic浏览器的出现使全球人民进入使用万维网的信息时代，几乎在同一时间，杰弗里•雷波特（Jeffrey Rayport）教授推出他的新课程——“市场空间的管理”（Managing in the Marketspace），这门课很快成为哈佛的热门选修课。直到2001年互联网泡沫破裂之前，学生都还在争前恐后地去学习互联网营销、科技和企业家精神的课程。
It is true that when the bubble collapsed, many of these courses were quietly closed down for a few years. But as soon as the Internet economy picked up again, market demand drove professors to design courses. Today we have such courses as:
The Online Economy: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Power and Glory in Turbulent Times: The History of Leadership from Henry V to Mark Zuckerberg
Digital Marketing Strategy
Launching Technology Ventures
Introduction to Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Competing with Social Networks
Strategy and Technology
Distributed Innovation Systems and Open Source Software
These courses directly teach topics that are relevant to the Information Age. Many other courses use case studies that allow students to debate about and learn from successful Internet businesses alongside non-Internet firms. If a course is titled Entrepreneurial Finance, for example, it inevitably studies online as well as offline business.
What does it take to ensure that all business schools teach about the Information Age economy? The answer, I believe, is to have all business schools teach by means of case studies first, and lectures second. When professors have an incentive to find and investigate contemporary business stories and bring them into the classroom, they have no choice but to stay up to date.
A professor who teaches by lecturing has a strong incentive to deliver the same lectures every year. The attitude develops among the professors and the students that the professor is the expert and the students must sit quietly and learn. A professor who teaches by leading discussion of contemporary business cases has a strong incentive to change the cases regularly as the world changes. The attitude develops that the professor and the students learn together. The professor may be wiser, but the students have more facts. The combination is better than wisdom or facts alone.
The Information Age is introducing one new opportunity, and that is online education. Some schools, such as MIT, make all their lectures available for free to anyone with a computer. I don’t think this is exactly the future of education, because, a should be clear, I don’t think lectures are the right way to study the dynamic field of emerging business principles. But if it is good to run cases with students in a classroom, perhaps it is good to run cases with students all over the world in online forums. The process is not yet as effective as class discussion, but the learning has only just begun.
Ding: What differences and similarities does brand building have between business schools' own and normal enterprises?
Deighton：A brand is just a word around which meanings accumulate. If those meanings are good, and in particular if they connote trust and prestige, then the brand stands for something valuable. But it is vital to remember that it is the thing itself, not the brand, which has value. If the Stanford Graduate School of Business sold its name to a low quality university, very soon the meanings that began to accumulate around the name would be different from those that exist today. The university that bought the name would quickly find it had bought nothing, or at least nothing of permanent value.
In that respect a business school brand is just like a brand on a normal enterprise. It is only as good as the quality of what it refers to. The particular meanings, however are often different.
The particular meanings of business schools are of two kinds: a promise to students that they will get a good education, and an assurance to employers that they are hiring a graduate who will perform well. Of course each meaning depends on the other: good education is necessary for good work performance, and demand by employers for graduates creates demand by students to become graduates. So Business schools are two-sided platforms. To be successful both sides of the platform – students and employers - must value the platform. The platform must have a strong brand in the minds of both sides.
Ding: The main teaching language is Chinese in China, How do Chinese business schools build global brands?
Deighton：To have a global brand as a business school you must attract employers from non-China companies who want to recruit students to work for them throughout the world. You must also attract students from beyond China who want to work in China for part of their careers. You must also produce graduates who go out into the world and spread your good name. You must have professors on your faculty who publish and build reputations in other countries. To do all of these things, instruction in the English language in at least some courses is a good idea.
The necessity of English-language instruction is a problem that many European business schools faced years ago. INSEAD, a business school located in France, solved it by ma** English the language of instruction, which was not popular with French authorities, but INSEAD was not part of a university with the power to stop it. The strategy worked, and INSEAD is today one of the top business schools I the world. CEIBS, a business school located in Shanghai, used the same solution, and may eventually be successful. Other business schools, such as IESE in Spain, offer courses in both English and Spanish. It is an unfortunate fact that business schools that instruct only in the language of their country, such as some of the very fine schools in the universities of Germany, Italy, and Portugal, do not have global brands.
The first step for Chinese business schools to become better known globally is through research. If they invest in translation services, then their scholars can publish in the premier journals of the business disciplines. Already Pe** University in Beijing has begun to make its scholar known globally through their admired publications.