Technion MBA program switches to English

Other universities likely to follow, dean says.

technion 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
technion 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Taking a step into the global village, the Technion's MBA program will be taught exclusively in English from now on. Program dean Prof. Boaz Golany hopes to achieve several aims by switching to English, he told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. The idea is to prepare students for the international business world and to encourage more foreign students to come here to study, he explained. "The decision came about as a result of a process of self-evaluation initiated by the Council for Higher Education in 2006-2007. They invited an international evaluation committee which looked at 14 MBA programs in Israel," Golany told the Post. "The conclusions of the Greenbaum committee were very harsh. One of their major recommendations was to switch the language of instruction to English as the global language of the business world," he said. The committee presented its recommendations in July 2007. The Technion debated the panel's suggestion and decided to make the change. As a result, the school's students would no longer be at a disadvantage in the international business world, he said. While some proficiency in English has always been required, Golany noted, the level has not been high enough. The Technion has required the GMAT entrance exam since 1996 and has offered communication courses in English as well. This was the second time that the university debated its language of instruction. Prior to its opening in 1924, the founders seriously considered whether courses should be taught in German. However, with the waning of Germany's power in the wake of World War I, the university decided to adopt Hebrew. The switch will also benefit the university, according to Golany. "The name of the game now is cooperation and collaboration between universities. Every major university is either creating or joining worldwide networks [of universities]. Roughly speaking, if you aren't part of one, then you don't exist. The networks facilitate student and faculty exchanges as well as remote learning. But all that is only possible if you have a common language - English," Golany explained. "We can't invite foreign students to our program and expect them to learn Hebrew. Moreover, the international business world is now multicultural and multilingual. By bringing foreign students, we can give our students a simulation while they study," he said. "What's more, connections made during studies turn into business partnerships in the future," he added. The entire faculty is prepared to teach in English, Golany said, as many of them have done sabbaticals in North America or Europe, where they taught in English - "though they might have an accent." Golany also hopes to bring home his colleagues who have foregone Israel for greener pastures. "My goal is to create a program that is competitive with the best in the world and then draw professors back to teach in it," Golany declared. He concurred that other universities were likely to follow the Technion's lead. "I believe the other universities will follow in our footsteps and make the change just as we did. There are already budding signs at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University and at IDC," Golany said.