- Top European b-schools continue making the same mistake: First, in 2008 London Business School ousted their new dean, Robin Buchanan, for being too much of a businessman and not enough of an academic dean. Now IMD's president, John Wells, is stepping down due to similar criticism. Finally, Frank Brown, Insead's current dean, also plans to step down in 2011 because of similar accusations. Each of these three b-school leaders will have held their posts for just a few years. According to a Financial Times article on the subject, Professor Wells "ruffled faculty feathers at IMD from the start, principally by introducing an Anglo-American management team"—while there are several French or Belgian professors at IMD, none were appointed to any of the five senior positions. IMD and Insead were both hit hard by the economic crisis since both rely heavily on revenue earned through running short executive programs, which took a serious toll these last few years. IMD faces other challenges, including the fact that its former president, Peter Lorange, recently established another business school close by in Zurich. Like IMD, the Lorange Institute focuses on executive education.
- Another recent Financial Times article, "Shift to international standards happening, but slowly," reports on some of the challenges b-schools have been facing in the area of global business harmonization, particularly with regards to accounting. The rules of accounting have traditionally varied by jurisdiction, yet the EU has been attempting to include accounting in its international financial reporting standards (IFRS) since 2005. The U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, however, have confirmed that they will not meet the June 2011 deadline, creating educational limits for providers who are seeking to standardize and internationalize their accounting programs. Accounting professors must juggle both American and international standards until the two merge following what may be many more years of debate and planning. According to the FT article, soon, localized accountancy training will disappear with the "globalization of accounting practices and the eventual adoption of IFRS."
- Big GMAT test prep books have gone the way of bulky dictionaries and encyclopedias—they've gone digital. Future MBA hopefuls will no longer need to tote oversized paper GMAT books, but will be able to download easily accessible GMAT apps for their smart phones, reports a Businessweek blog post. iPhone apps include Kaplan GMAT Flashcards, GMAT ToolKit, and the new GMAT Pill, a month-long study plan developed by GMAT high-scorer, Zeke Lee. The benefit of such programs—besides for the amount of space they'll save in your bag—is that they implement more visual explanations through video tutorials. As Lee explains, "What's special about these videos is they are really helping students change the way they think." Android and BlackBerry users will also have GMAT options at their fingertips, for affordable, on-the-go GMAT prep.
- Rising college costs are a source of anxiety and anger for many students and their families. According to a recent Businessweek blog, tuition and fees for private nonprofit universities and colleges has increased by about 4.5%, about 0.2% greater an increase than last year. While these increases may wreck havoc on your bank account and retirement plans, it is interesting to note that these tuition hikes (last year's and this year's) are actually the two lowest increases since the 1972-1973 academic year. 4.5% may seem unmanageable, but it beats the pre-recession increase average of 6% per year. Another silver lining: Grant and scholarship programs received a 6.8% average increase this year.
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