Blog: The Power of a Network

January 30, 2020

Nick Wailes, deputy dean and director, AGSM, UNSW Business School, reflects on the recent Global Network for Advanced Management deans and directors meeting.

group of professionoals

By Nick Wailes, deputy dean and director, AGSM

The Global Network for Advanced Management is a network of 31 of the world’s leading business schools that all share a global mindset. As a network it is more than just a series of activities or programs; it’s also a forum for sparking innovative ideas and collaborating on new initiatives. I had firsthand experience of this at the recent Global Network deans and directors meeting hosted by the University of Cape Town.

One of the key activities of the Network are Global Network Weeks (GNW). These are one-week intensive courses run by member schools that are open to students from across the network. GNWs are hugely popular with our MBA students, and a great educational and social experience.

Many of the schools in the network don’t just have MBA programs; they also have undergraduate programs. Over coffee a few of us talked about how great it would be if we could give our undergraduate students a similar experience, and I casually asked if anyone would be interested in talking about this in more detail at our next break. Fourteen member schools jumped at this opportunity, and within 30 minutes we had broad agreement on what an undergraduate Global Network Week program might look like and a clear set of follow-up actions.

A shared mindset and high levels of trust meant that an initiative that wasn’t on the formal agenda, and might have taken months (or even years) to set up outside of the network, was well advanced in less than an hour and should be operational within six months. For me, it demonstrated the power of being in a network. I’m delighted that our undergraduates are going to have access to outstanding global experiences, but even more excited about what else the Global Network schools will be able to do together. I can’t wait to see where the next coffee break might take us.