Global Business School Network Tunisia Conference Addresses Education, Employment And Entrepreneurship
The Advisor Mag-Tunis
Leading international business school deans and faculty met in Tunis, Tunisia June 10 - 12 to discuss the role of business schools in impacting employment and entrepreneurship in developing countries.
The Global Business School Network (GBSN) Annual Conference, co-hosted in 2013 by the Mediterranean School of Business (MSB) and Babson College, is a premier international forum on management education for the developing world. The conference, which was titled "Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship," was GBSN's first in the MENA Region and marked the organization's 10th anniversary.
The Global Business School Network was established in 2003 as a program at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank to address the lack of management talent that severely hinders economic and social development around the world. Today GBSN is an independent nonprofit organization with 60 leading business school members that work together to improve management education for the developing world.
At the 2013 conference, delegates from over 30 countries discussed the role of business education, technology and the global community in improving access to high quality, locally relevant business education, with a particular focus on the critical unemployment levels in the MENA region.
"The last three days have been extraordinary," said Guy Pfeffermann, CEO and founder of GBSN. "More than 160 women and men of good will, most of them deans and senior business school faculty, came together to discuss how management education can generate jobs and lift people, especially young people, out of poverty. We talked about innovations in technology and education, about the impact that business education can have, and about how to grow local management schools that answer pressing problems of unemployment in the developing world. Seeing participants from five continents working together to address these challenges gave me renewed optimism about the future."
"Babson is the global leader in entrepreneurship education and we believe that the GBSN Conference was held at the right time and in the right place," said Dennis Hanno, Vice Provost and Graduate School Dean of Babson College. "Tunisia and the MENA region need entrepreneurial leaders to drive change. Working with our partners at MSB and GBSN, the conference provided a forum for educations and policy makers to create new models to empower youth through employment and Entrepreneurship."
Representatives from industry and international development joined educators to discuss how business education can be made more effective and accessible. Guy Pfeffermann, MSB Dean Mahmoud Triki and Tawfik Jelassi, Dean of the School of International Management of Ecole Nationale des Pons des Chaussees Paris and Chairman of Tunisiana insisted that education management should not only train efficient managers, but also entrepreneurs with innovative ideas would start small businesses to quickly demand for skilled employees. "In many places the education system is based on exam success, but not at all on the actual needs of the labor market," said Guy Pfeffermann. "We must reverse this trend and create new education programs that actually address the concrete needs of businesses so they can immediately incorporate new graduates into their ranks."
Considerable discussion surrounded the potential of technology to help schools collaborate internationally to strengthen their faculty and programs, and also to help them deliver educational programs in new ways. A GBSN initiative discussed extensively during the conference is a collaborative Ph.D. training program that would leverage the expertise of its broad network of business faculty and the power of online courses to increase the number of doctoral level faculty at developing world business schools.
In addition to the conference sessions, event sponsor Microsoft partnered with GBSN to offer a Student App Development Contest where 20 Tunisian "Microsoft Student Partners" were challenged to develop Windows 8 applications that modernize education, employment and entrepreneurship. The students had only two days to develop their applications, which were judged by an international panel of conference participants. The winning app is a tool for teaching children basic literacy in French, English and Arabic through a playful platform.