28 Mar 2017 19:40 IST

Brexit and Trump will weaken US, UK universities: US B-school prof John Delaney

US govt budget cuts for higher education will make it grim for schools

Despite the challenges being faced by higher education for the past decade — high and rising tuition, new technology disruption, increasing regulation and growing competition — observers of the management education scene thought the US and British universities would continue as before.

But, as John T Delaney, dean and professor of management, Kogod School of Business, American University, Washington, says, “Everything changed in the second half of 2016.”

Delivering the keynote address at the International Business Schools Meeting on Education at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME), Bengaluru, Delaney says two events of 2016 will shake things up: Brexit and Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the US Presidency. “Whether these votes were a rejection of globalism or a narrower expression of discontent, the results will substantially change higher education. The situation will weaken British and American universities and provide opportunity to those in the rest of the world,” he said.

Trump effect

Speaking on the theme ‘Management Education: Coping with the Emerging Trends in a Globalised World’, Delaney said the change results from three interrelated forces.

First, an integrated global economy is a fact of life and efforts to create barriers to trade will fail. Universities will be hurt by government decisions to limit the hiring of scholars because of their birth or citizenship.

Second, he said, the most critical problems faced by mankind are global in scope. Even if temporary barriers are constructed to interrupt global markets, they will not resolve problems. Efforts by the Trump administration to soften environmental regulations will worsen global climate change.

Third, the rejection of facts and truth in favour of ‘alternate facts’ and a focus only on what the US administration tweets as correct, will undermine a core value of higher education in the US. “In combination with the budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration to higher education and related areas, the situation is grim for American colleges.”

Looking East

Delivering the second keynote address, Rajiv Lochan, MD & CEO, The Hindu, said the centre of gravity in the world has shifted eastwards to China and India. In the next 15-20 years, India will generate more wealth than in the past many decades, he said.

The compelling drivers of prosperity is a young population, more affluent and willing to take more risks. “Unlike an earlier generation, this generation has seen only prosperity, so the mindset is different. Add technology to the mix of affluence and risk taking and this will give rise to unbridled prosperity. This bodes well for India,” he said. However, the disturbing trends are that India ranks low on many indices: health, gender and hunger.

Lochan said in the future, practitioners of management education have to operate as ‘triathletes’. No longer will there be a fine line between the public, private, and social sectors; and one will have to learn to straddle all three and interact with people across sectors. “Management education should equip students also on how to give voice to values and help in value-based decisions,” he said.

A global mindset

Delivering the welcome address, Prof J Philip, President, XIME, said that globalisation as a dominant movement cannot be stopped. The need for the global manager will be the same: a global mindset, the ability to work with diverse work forces, a long-range perspective, the ability to manage change and transition and accomplished negotiating skills is a distinct feature of the globalised world and creating managers who are equipped to cope with its challenges will remain the prime task of management education. The MBA will need constant renewal and value enhancement to balance global learning and local adaptation and drawing on experiential knowledge being generated across the world.

The two-day meet has academics from the US, Singapore, China, and Malayasia, apart from Indian academics, participating.

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