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Five minutes with Dan LeClair

Dan LeClair is CEO of the Global Business School Network, which improves access to quality, locally-relevant management education for the developing world.

Dan, in your positions with AACSB, the University of Tampa and now GBSN, what role has the case method played in your career?

My career has allowed me to appreciate the case method from a variety of perspectives. As a professor cases were a tool for both discovery and teaching. At AACSB I often defended case development as a form of scholarship. Since starting at GBSN, I have become an advocate for cases as a way to advance our understanding of business and management in the developing world.

casesWhat is it you like about cases, and why do you believe in them?

What I love about cases is that a well-written one can capture the imagination of an individual and challenge them to 'connect the dots' - to bring together all of their experiences to discover new ideas. When properly facilitated, a case can spark passionate debate and reveal our most and least favourable traits, as well as help us to sharpen our critical thinking and communication skills. At the same time, it can inspire and enable a group of diverse professionals to find common ground.

Where do you see cases fitting in global business education, and specifically in developing countries?

While there are many concepts that are portable globally, business and the practice of management will always be contextual. Borders matter. Cases are essential as a consequence - as a way, for example, of translating global content to local application. With cases it is not only about isolating and addressing a particular issue, learners must also explore and keep in mind the organizational, industrial, and societal contexts. This is especially important when educating managers for the developing world, where circumstances can be quite different and more variable. What’s really cool is that business business classes are often very diverse internationally, enriching case discussion with perspectives from all over the world.

urbanIf you could be transported into another profession for one week, which would you choose, and why?

I always wanted to gain more insights about urban design. Cities are the most important economic and social organizing units of our time. They bring people together with organizations and jobs, and are engines of growth especially in emerging economies. Universities and business schools are often anchor institutions in our cities. Urban planning/design always seemed to me the ultimate interdisciplinary field. For example, it requires knowledge about the social interactions and movement of people as well as the aesthetics and engineering of structures..

How do you relax?

I like to read to relax, preferably something besides business and management. And ideally on the deck of an oceanfront cottage with my family. I wish I had time to read more. Okay, it’s settled, I’m boring.

mulanDo you have a favourite quote or guiding principle?

This may seem silly, but I love this little line from the Disney movie Mulan…

Threatened by invaders and talking about building his army, the Emperor says to an advisor that “a single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man may be the difference between victory and defeat.”

I love that line for two reasons: because it illustrates the power of courage and leadership – and because that one 'man' turns out to be a woman.

About Dan

Dan was appointed CEO of GBSN in February 2019, after serving in various leadership positions at AASCB International for 19 years.

Dan is a widely recognised expert on business education. For over 30 years, he has dedicated his career to supporting higher education organisations to innovate and achieve growth in core programme and services.

Prior to AACSB International, Dan was an associate dean and an academic economist at the University of Tampa College of Business.

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