Howard Thomas, Ph.D. Named Boston University Questrom School Of Business Visiting Professor

Dr. Thomas To Advance Global Cross-Cultural Business Education

Boston University Questrom School of Business announced today that Howard Thomas, Ph.D., strategic management and management education author and scholar, will join the School as the inaugural Ahmass Fakahany Distinguished Visiting Professor later this summer. Dr. Thomas will lead initiatives to enhance and expand Questrom’s global education programs.

Throughout his nearly 50-year career in business education, Howard Thomas has held leading academic positions at institutions around the world, most recently as dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University. He concluded his term in January 2015 and has returned to that school’s faculty as Distinguished Term Professor of Strategic Management and Management Education.

Currently, he is conducting research on management education in Africa in an effort to foster Western understanding of business in the region. Prior to LKCS, he was dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick.

Dr. Thomas will be working with business schools in other parts of the world, including emerging economies, to build on the findings from the Business Education Jam, a global conversation on how to improve business education. Presented by the Questrom School of Business and other premier sponsors, the Jam crowdsourced ideas from thousands of participants in nearly 100 countries using IBM’s Innovation Jam technology.

“The Business Education Jam brought industry and academia together for the first time and has ignited a global movement toward a more innovative and collaborative future in business education. As we move forward, it is important to include underrepresented markets such as Africa, South and Central America, and parts of Asia in the conversation,” said Dr. Thomas. “It is absolutely crucial that human capital, economic development, and demographic aspects are taken into consideration when considering management approaches in different parts of the world. When business leaders plant a model based on Western culture into non-Western contexts and cultures, they are in danger of doing the wrong thing.”

“Howard is deeply interested in the need for a more robust cross-cultural approach to business education—an endeavor that is vital to yielding the future we have collectively envisioned,” said Ken Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean at the Questrom School of Business. “This will ensure that Questrom, and all business schools, will have the opportunity to advance and better prepare students to create value for the world.”

Initiatives underway include hosting focused Jam sessions within major global conferences and developing webinars to address specific Jam findings in collaboration with the Financial Times. Additionally, examples are being sourced from multiple continents on how deans have used the Jam as a springboard for discussing strategic options and taking action to close the gap between industry and academia at their own business schools. The next online global conversation to shape business education is anticipated in the first half of 2016.

Howard Thomas is a highly cited scholar, with fellowship awards from the Academy of Management, the British Academy of Management, the Strategic Management Society, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Institute of Directors. He was also awarded the Richard Whipp Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Academy of Management in 2013, and the Strategic Leadership Award from the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in 2014. He is a companion of the Association of Business Schools in the UK, and former chair of the board of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), AACSB, the Association of Business Schools (ABS), and the Global Foundation of Management Education (GFME). He is also an honorary life member and a board member of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). He served as president of the Strategic Management Society and has held visiting and permanent academic posts at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), the London Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the Kellogg School of Management, the European Institute for the Advanced Studies in Management, and the University of British Columbia. He is also the recipient of several honorary degrees.

Through a series of 10 discussion forums, including topics such as “Engaging New-Generation Students & Employees” and “Harnessing Digital Technology,” the Jam enabled participants to engage in a free-flowing convergence of ideas on how to transform business education. Over the course of 60 hours from September 30–October 2, 2014, participants used a variety of digital tools to prompt conversation including polls, word clouds, and real-time chats with featured VIP guests, who posted comments, responded to questions, offered insight, and sparked dialogue. Among the 99 VIPs were 17 CEOs, 18 higher education deans, and six of the Thinkers50 top management thinkers. A recently published report on Jam findings, “Reimagining Business Education,” synthesizes emerging themes, critical questions, and actionable solutions crowdsourced during the conversation for use by business schools and businesses in advancing management education.

In addition to Boston University Questrom School of Business, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and GMAC presented the Business Education Jam. The Financial Times was the designated global media sponsor.

Collaborators included IBM, Santander, AACSB, EFMD, and Boston University Human Resources Policy Institute. Ernst & Young, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Fidelity Investments provided additional support. For more information, visit

Founded in 1913, Boston University Questrom School of Business (Questrom) empowers leaders and innovators to impact society. Questrom’s distinctive approach to teaching and scholarship prepares students for leadership through a comprehensive knowledge of the management disciplines and major forces transforming the global economy, including digital technology, social enterprise and sustainability, and health and life sciences. Questrom offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, executive, and doctoral programs. Learn more at

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