During fall break the Robins School of Business hosted the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) Conference on Undergraduate Programmes.

EFMD, based in Brussels, Belgium, is the premier international association for management development with over 40 years of history. Christian Delporte, director of business school services at EFMD, shared, “The organization began as a European network, but over time it has grown to include over 800 members reaching over 25,000 management development professionals from academia, business, public service and consultancy across 80 countries worldwide. We have become a global network.”

He added, “The Robins School worked with the EFMD steering committee to define the content and programming of the conference, which consisted of presentations and workshops covering many themes and issues that face administrations. This is the second time the conference has been held in the U.S., and it was a great success because the participants were deeply engaged in sharing ideas, making connections and learning new things.”

Pascal Ameye, associate director of international relations at IÉSEG School of Management in France, explained, “The conference allows managers of business schools to reflect on their programs and discuss best practices and opportunities for innovation. This year’s theme focused on preparing our millennial students for the rest of their undergraduate careers into their postgraduate lives. We looked at their behavior and learning styles compared to other generations.  As the student population grows more diverse we must adapt in order to provide the best education and tailored guidance we can. We all have projects in the pipeline, and even though we might be competitors, we work together to address our very similar challenges.”

Patricia Grant, senior assistant dean at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, who gave a presentation on challenges linked to diverse student populations and resultant diversity and inclusion programs, shared, “I hope attendees think broadly about the educational and professional development opportunities we can offer our diverse student bodies. There is so much to learn outside the classroom, and we can work to provide a seamless co-curriculum that combines academics and professional development.”

Konstantin Krotov, associate professor of operations management and director of the master in management programs at Saint Petersburg University in Russia, led the session on feedback with steering committee members role-playing as teachers and students. “I hope the audience understands the importance of responsive feedback and careful assessment. This new generation of students demands adapted methods of teaching and evaluation, and I hope the group has gained insight into addressing this challenge. I was also glad to visit such an internationalized school as the Robins School. It’s a great example of a globally focused school in the U.S.”

Nils Oby, director of academic affairs for the bachelor’s programmes administration at BI Norwegian Business School, shared, “Being able to talk with colleagues from all over the world inspires me to think about our often similar challenges in new ways.”

Monika Kukar-Kinney, associate professor of marketing at the Robins School, added, “The very first night we did an activity where we brought postcards from our respective countries, and then discussed and wrote our challenges on them to share with everyone. It is amazing how the key themes are very similar among all of these different universities’ challenges. This effectively set the collaborative and open atmosphere for the rest of the conference.”

Thomas Cossé, associate dean of international business programs, said, “We welcomed over 60 attendees from Europe, Asia and the Americas to the Robins School. It was wonderful to see everyone come together so easily despite political barriers to collaborate with each other for the betterment of management education.”