For the first time ever, AACSB International, the largest business school accreditation agency, has reached outside the United States for a chairman of its board of directors. The organization yesterday (July 11) announced that the iconoclastic dean of IE Business School in Madrid, Santiago Iñiguez, began a one-year term on July 1.
For the past dozen years, the 54-year-old Iñiguez has transformed Instituto de Empresa into one of the most innovative business schools in the world and one of the most responsive to market changes. Under his leadership, the school was among the first to offer an online MBA degree, to launch a European undergraduate business program, and to partner with a wide variety of non-Spanish schools, including Brown University, to give IE true global heft.
In the process, the charismatic Iñiguez has also established himself as an outspoken thought leader on business education and a champion of the value of it. It is likely that AACSB International, often considered something of a bureaucratic gatekeeper for business education, has never had as iconoclastic a dean as Iñiguez as the chair of its board. He succeeds William Glick, former dean of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University.
“Santiago is a thoughtful and influential leader, author, and speaker on the subject of the current and potential future states of business education,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International, in a statement. “We are thrilled that he will chair the board at a key inflection point for business schools as they confront challenges and serve opportunities in a rapidly changing environment.”
A FORMER LAWYER WHO BECAME A BUSINESS SCHOOL DEAN
Though he joined IE in 1994 as a professor of strategic management, Iñiguez quickly assumed roles out of the classroom. He is probably the only business school administrator to have made the leap from being director of external relations, a job he held from 1996 to 2004, to dean. Iñiguez was named dean in 2004 and then rector of IE University four years later.
His resume is a collection of degrees, including an MBA from the school he leads, along with a degree in law and a Ph.D. in moral philosophy. He was a Recognized Student at the University of Oxford, UK. He has co-authored several books on moral and political philosophy as well as articles and case studies on business management, and is also a LinkedIn Influencer. His book, The Learning Curve: How Business Schools Are Reinventing Education, deals with the future challenges of management education and was published by Palgrave McMillan in November 2011.
In naming him board chair, the accreditation group noted that Iñiguez’s volunteer work with it has spanned over eight years. He was elected to the AACSB Board of Directors in 2013 as a member, and as vice chair-chair elect in 2015. Over the years, Iñiguez has served as a prominent advocate and leader within the business education industry. Such efforts have included serving as chair and/or member of more than 10 different committees, councils, or advisory groups, including the European Advisory Counsel and the Committee on Issues in Management Education (CIME). CIME focuses on identifying emerging issues and challenges in management education on a global basis and under Iñiguez’s leadership issued the recent “Collective Vision” which looks at the future of business schools.
‘BUSINESS SCHOOLS ARE THE ICEBREAKERS OF HIGHER EDUCATION’
Iñiguez has played an active role in the AACSB Accreditation process by serving as a member of several peer review teams and accreditation committees. He is a prominent speaker, and since 2005 has presented at more than 20 AACSB conferences around the world. His passion for amplifying the impact of global business education is demonstrated through his active participation in thought leadership groups and his prolific writings on the subject.
“Management has the potential to be among the most noble of professions,” Iñiguez says. “It can create growth, wealth, and development in society, as well as catalyze innovation and improve living conditions. Business schools are the icebreakers of the very dynamic sector that is higher education, and AACSB helps business schools reach not only their individual missions but make the best contributions to society as a whole.”
Iñiguez also serves on the boards of Renmin University Business School (China), CENTRUM (Universidad Católica, Perú), Antai Business School (Jiao Tong University, China), Mazars University (France) the Russian Presidential Academy-RANEPA (Russia) and FGV-EASP Fundaçao Getulio Vargas (Brazil). He has been portrayed by the Financial Times as “one of the most significant figures in promoting European business schools internationally.”