Saturday, February 05, 2011

Western dean for Chinese B-school

John Quelch, a former dean of the London Business School, is set to take over as dean of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the Economist reports. Quelch is a former faculty of HBS, where he was a 'star professor' of marketing. CEIBS is said to be a partnership between the European Commission and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The news is interesting for several reasons. For one thing, China appears to have opened its higher education doors to foreigners, even if it requires a partnership with a local entity. Secondly, it is willing to import a dean for one of its top institutions. This is not just a matter of paying top dollar. It is a matter of being open to a foreigner as a leader. Is there a single institution in India that has a foreigner as dean or director? For that matter, is it possible even for an NRI to become the director of any of the IIMs?

The IIMs preach the virtues of an open economy and globalisation to their students but they operate a closed shop when it comes to manning leadership positions. For the older IIMs, it is inconceivable that there can be a director from outside the IIM system. At IIMA, it is inconceivable that the director can be anybody from outside IIMA itself!

Until recently, IIM directors were chosen by their boards and through a process of nomination by eminent persons, a process that restricted the pool of talent to choose from. Lately, the ministry has required the positions to be advertised but even the top IIMs do not advertise internationally.

Education in China, like other spheres, is still controlled. Business schools are still in their infancy. Yet, when it comes to getting talent for leadership positions, China seems capable of greater boldness than an open society such as India. Makes you wonder whether democracy necessarily scores on every count. You can have a democratic society with some of the most closed minds.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its only a matter of time. We have foreign coaches in cricket, foreign ceos and we have ISB with nri board members, so its only a step away.

Abi said...

Way back in 2002, the government picked Prof. Shobo Bhattacharya from the US to lead TIFR. It was a controversial decision -- see this article in Science, in which the leading lights of Indian science establishment make all kinds of silly and self-serving statements.

T T Ram Mohan said...

Abi, Thanks for the reference. What happened at TIFR is interesting. But, at least, the people there can claim to be innocent of market economics unlike those at B-schools!

-TTR

Anonymous said...

Dear Professor,

I love reading your blog and I admire your courage; I completely agree with your statements on operating a closed shop...when I was a student at wimwi, I enjoyed and observed quality interaction only with a fraction of the professors*: now that I'm working I also realize how disconnected a lot of faculty was and I assume it remains the same. Most of them living in false sense of pride, unreceptive to open discussions and shamelessly using ability to play with grades if you happen to disagree with them (not that I suffered at their hands)

* I always enjoyed attending your classes (esp. examples shared by you from your experience at Bears Stearns and your views on the Industry)

T T Ram Mohan said...

Anonymous, Thanks for your generous sentiments about the blog. I'm just winding up the MFI course, so it's nice to know that somebody liked it.

-TTR

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Photo Recovery said...

This steps taken by China will certainly help to chinese and other foreign countries student to complete higher education.