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Open Season Similarly, traditional business schools include two main activi- ties for which the costs have to be covered: teaching and research. Faculty-led research is an integral part of the mission for most tradi- tional schools. Although traditional schools' financial statements rarely specify all of the direct and indirect costs of faculty research, it's clear that the activity is an expensive one that occupies a significant portion of faculty time. While some profes- sors generate external funding for research, the majority of the cost of their research is covered by tuition collected from students. This dedi- cation to research makes most tra- ditional universities faculty-centric organizations, where research activities are cross-subsidized by students' tuition fees. By contrast, for-profits are learner-centric. They have "unbun- dled" teaching and research ini- tiatives to focus on their primary mission, which is teaching students. Both the research mission and the teaching mission have value. One way traditional universities earn aca- demic esteem is by their faculty creat- ing new knowledge and devising new theories. The primary way for-profit schools earn esteem is by pursuing excellence and gaining new insights in teaching the practice of manage- ment. For example, at JWMI, the curriculum is infused with the experi- ence of Jack Welch and the knowl- edge of other business leaders. There are two reasons I find the for-profit setting to be exciting and compelling. First, by being learner-centric, for-profit schools can be more nimble as they design new programs and adapt existing programs to meet the evolving needs of managers in a chang- 30 September/October 2012 BizEd ing global workplace. Second, by uncoupling research subsidies from program fees, for-profit insti- tutions can offer more affordable tuition to participants. A Scorecard to Tell the Players Apart? Despite the differences between the two types of institutions, for-profit and traditional business schools are starting to see their models converge. Both kinds of schools are seeking to grow their tuition revenue base to fuel strategic plans and adopt innovative technology that will enhance accessibility. The inevitable outcome of this trend will be to provide learners with more choices, more formats, and more opportunities to identify the path or program best suited to their needs. It isn't clear what fac- tors—such as cost, reputation, and accessibility—will influence stu- dents most as they choose among programs. What is clear is that schools must follow that "inno- vate or die" mandate if they want to remain among the most viable options for students seeking busi- ness education. I'll add another warning: Differ- entiate or wither. I predict that, in a space that will be defined by provid- ing choice, the new touchstones for a successful business school will be agility and relevance. That's why I moved to a setting that embraces those characteristics—a setting that I believe will be increasingly com- pelling for the future of manage- ment education. In June, Daniel Szpiro took his post as dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University in Herndon, Virginia. As traditional business schools face increasing competition from for- profit and online providers, they also sometimes look to those providers for ways to revamp their own programs. One of the most successful online management education programs is run by The Open University Business School (OUBS). While headquar- tered in the U.K., it boasts students from more than 100 countries. The Open University was founded by royal charter in 1969 with the mission of making university educa- tion available to everyone through progressive technology. The Business School was launched in 1983 and the MBA program five years later. Currently, one out of five MBA stu- dents in the U.K. studies at OUBS. In January, Rebecca Taylor took over as dean of OUBS after spend- ing five years as head of economics and one year as associate dean at Nottingham Business School in the U.K. She is also an associate director of the Economic p for the Committee of Heads of University Departments of Economics. The move to The Open Uni- versity appealed to her, she says, partly because she was inspired by its mission of making higher educa- tion accessible to all—and partly because she relished the challenge of leading one of the biggest busi- ness schools in Europe. Many in the traditional academic community are skeptical about the quality and content of online delivery models. What would you tell them about OUBS? We believe that OUBS is the only school that specializes in online learning that also has been accredited by AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA. These hallmarks, and our commitment to delivering excep-

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