Making innovation a global value

By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-09 07:02

One might be forgiven for assuming that business school professors are more business-like than businessmen. That is, until they meet Scott Koerwer.

The associate dean of the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland has a vivacious character. He is constantly laughing and talking, and is a self-proclaimed tech-junkie, always buying the latest and greatest in technology.

"But I often get frustrated when I break my gears," he said.

Koerwer is on a mission to China to promote his school among potential MBA students. And his tech-savvy lifestyle makes him a perfect representative of Robert H Smith, which is known for its technology-driven curriculum.

After education, having access to technology is the most important precondition for innovation and competition within a marketplace, said Koerwer.

These two are essential ingredients in the construction of an "innovative society," he said.

However, between the two, Koerwer rates education above technology.

He said education inspires people think about what a society, an organization or a nation needs, thereby promoting both competition and innovation.

The professor's view of the role of higher learning might strike some as unconventional. He said education is the second biggest industry in the United States, and that business schools should function as a "multi-national enterprise".

He said business schools will never be truly global if they restrict themselves to only recruiting international students. Instead, they should strive to exert their influence across the globe.

To this end, Koerwer has been driving Robert H Smith's global expansion ever since he joined the school in 2001. He took his current post after leaving the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where he was a senior director responsible for Executive MBA education. Under his direction, Robert H Smith now offers degrees in conjunction with partners in China, Europe, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, Israel, the Netherlands and France.

"China is critical to our school. There are more people who are eligible for MBA studies than the whole American population," he told China Daily. "The world has 300 million Americans, but 350 million Chinese who have the potential to become MBA students."

(China Daily 05/09/2007 page5)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours