A Status Update of Five Months of Effort, and a Concept Expansion Commentary
By Guntram Werther
1. Leveraging undergraduate international student relationships to build new Temple University international networks. This is perhaps the most innovative and potentially most useful initiative, and so far the least developed. Four agreements per four undergraduates asked is a hopeful sign.
An unknown number of Temple University undergraduate students have meaningful relationships in their home country university, business, and government communities, and with their families, that could be leveraged to mutual win-win outcomes. The payoff is that Temple University systematically builds an entrepreneurial and international reputation by helping its undergraduates create their own international careers, and simultaneously assisting Pennsylvania and the various source countries develop economically and otherwise. There are external funding sources for this, but my sense is that this is business development incubation that can make sense on its own terms.
Anyone rich enough to send their children to the USA for a university education may be willing to start an international business to help that child, and themselves. Temple University already has the international student infrastructure, a top-ranked innovation and entrepreneurship program, a top-ranked international business program, and both student and administrative interest. I spoke with IGMS’ Kim Cahill about managing this, if it goes forward, and they are willing.
My guess is that other schools could develop topically appropriate and linked programs quite cost effectively while simultaneously helping their students, faculty, and departments. My suggestion is that Temple University explore leveraging this idea into some ongoing regional and national entrepreneurship and business development efforts, surely partly through grant agencies, but more through business and professional organizations.
2. Leveraging cooperative corporate-university research agendas to build second-order networks to corporations. Several approaches were in this area, three with significant movement so far.
One corporate president has formally contacted a Temple/Fox Department Chair and wants to develop a long-term research relationship with this Temple/Fox department, the output being student internships and funded projects, and hopefully, a license agreement on an improved product. He has also offered to personally introduce Temple/Fox to his client companies for possible advanced management education seminars at the Fox School of Business. His client list includes over twenty multi-billion dollar firms, including some of the largest in the world. The potential is significant. The discussion status is active.
The Training Program Director of a major international telecommunications firm has agreed to three three-seminar series (a total of nine presentations), which will place Temple/Fox’s elite faculty, as consultants initially, before their “Critical Talent” managers throughout 2012. This agreement places Temple’s top scholars into extended contact with their top management talent, and one hopes that relationships will grow. I am trying to build long-standing management education links to this firm for Temple University. The program director herself brought up the possibility of research collaboration. I have worked in the industry (this group) since 1994. They do long-term relationships, properly done. The potential herein for Temple University is in forming second-order cross-departmental research and training/education links among faculty and operational units that are of the highest order, and globally robust (200 countries).
The King of a one million-member community in Africa has sent a proposal to Temple/Fox to do what can be a scalable and paradigm-shifting international rural development project through the joining of entrepreneurship and related in-country development. He also spent the summer - at my suggestion - building needed political links at legislative and ministry levels in his country. Three Temple/Fox faculty members and one faculty from Temple’s School of Medicine are now leveraged into this forming effort, and I have built a link to another major university due to the necessary dynamics of the effort: They have access to networks of diaspora Africans interested in international business. Potential payoff: rural underdevelopment in successfully developing coun-tries is a global problem. Solving it is cutting edge. Linking international entrepreneurship and trade development to Philadelphia helps Temple University at home, both politically and reputationally.
In addition to the above, there are also very high-potential communications ongoing where the possible partner has moved significantly, but where no actual Temple/Fox tie-in is yet firm.
These efforts listed below can be called ‘hopeful’ movements (at this stage).
--This next approach, as of this writing, seems moribund: perhaps dead. That said, most houses have more than one door. I retain the discussion here to highlight that making no calls, always results in no sales. A Vice President representing a leading mergers and acquisitions professional association whose members average $500 million per deal has taken the idea of building a relationship with Temple/Fox before her Board of Directors. This may, if it matures into an actual relationship, need to be shared with my prior university, since this is where the VP contact arose. It can, if this relationship matures, place Temple/Fox into the center of an elite globally networked group of professionals and firms who are currently very interested in answers to global events. We are a business school with some top-ranked global talent. The potentials are obvious. This one requires further thought.
More hopefully, a senior Sheikh, related to the governing family of a major Middle East country, has taken a similar proposal on holistic education to his firm’s Board of Directors. This firm is part of a global oil company, and he is also a top director of said country’s university advisory board. Last week, he sent material to the CEO, who I’ve lectured to twice, at corporate headquarters. Potential is obvious.
3. Leveraging government agency FUTURE needs to Temple’s advantage.
The program director of a major, and large, US military training program has approached Temple about certificate programs for their officers. The director has followed up twice, confirming earlier in November an interest in building the Temple relationship. This to be taken up in Spring 2012 The potential here is to work long-term with a major military branch to help their officers internally, many of which, given military downsizing, will want advanced degrees.
Management Information Systems is building an information security brand. I was asked in September to reach into my community, and a senior police officer has linked Temple/Fox to two other senior officers who are “connected.” Temple’s MIS is not ready yet, since they are only building the program. When they are, those networks are there.
These few examples on building new international bridges and relationships, large and small, as an entrepreneurship-driven way to enhance Temple University’s global brand will hopefully start a discussion; hopefully autonomous movement. I close therefore with a final point for faculty and student consideration.
4. Foreseeing the Future Business of University Education to Build Brand.
Leaders, whether in business or government, don’t want new information, new ideas, new insights, or new theories. They want solutions. More to the point, they want solutions to problems and opportunities they are going to have. If Temple University wants to be a world-class institution of global reach, build your international brand around that. •