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Faculty from Africa learn Sloan management lessons

Building upon the success of a nearly decade-old program that has already brought more than 100 professors from four Chinese universities to Cambridge to help them teach business and management at home, the MIT Sloan School is now offering similar opportunities to faculty from other developed and developing nations.

Management schools in Mexico and Korea began sending faculty members to Sloan a year ago. A professor from Ghana's leading management school is an International Faculty Fellow this semester, the second one to come from his university to see firsthand how business is taught at MIT. In the process, the visiting professors offer important lessons to MIT Sloan faculty about how management students are trained in Africa.

"In Ghana and most African educational institutions, we tend to place more emphasis on the theoretical aspects," said Emmanuel Dugbenoo, a senior lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). "Here at MIT Sloan, I have seen that faculty link the theoretical with real-life cases in a way that is much more effective. I also find that more time is given to discussion and contributions from students than is the case at GIMPA." He added, "I am anxious to share my experience with my colleagues and to integrate it into my own teaching program." Dugbenoo teaches human resources and general management as well as organizational behavior in Ghana.

And that, says MIT Sloan Senior Associate Dean Alan White, is precisely the purpose of the International Fellows Program, which is supported by the Washington-based International Finance Corporation. While some universities send their faculty to spend time at foreign institutions, White feels it is more effective for foreign faculty to come here, where they can be fully immersed in MIT Sloan's environment.

"We find that having faculty come here, where they can take classes, sit in on faculty meetings and fully participate with students, is a much better way to assist another university in its institution building," said White, who leads the China Management Education Program as well as the International Fellows Program at Sloan. "The more international faculty we can get to come to American management schools for training, the better they will be able to do their important job at home."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 9, 2005 (download PDF).

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