Linda Livingstone, current Chair at AACSB

Linda Livingstone, current Chair at AACSB

As new elected Chair at AACSB, Livingstone share her perspectives and ideas regarding current and future challenges faced by leaders -both corporate and academic- as well as the Business Schools’ role in improving the quality of education.

This is the original, unedited English version of the interview to Linda Livingstone published on AméricaEconomía on August 7, 2014. 

You are assuming as Chair of AACSB in a time when B-schools from all over the world are competing even more to attract the best candidates and faculty. But there’s also a need to foster collaboration in order to give students exposure to various cultural and business environments. How will the AACSB balance its relationships with individual schools, and its role in improving management standards in different regions of the world?

We see those two issues as really working together. As we work with individual schools to help them improve and get better and to advance what they are doing, it obviously has an impact on the quality of management education in whatever region of the world that they are part of. In addition to working with individual schools and with schools within a region of the world, we are also working hard to find better ways to connect schools across regions of the world. We see how a lot of that has already happened. The more we can do about that, the more we can learn from each other, because in different places of the world, people think differently, have different challenges and different opportunities.

So it is about working at those three levels, individual schools, schools within a region, and connecting schools across different regions.

There are a lot of new concepts and notions claiming what the best management standards or strategies are. Looking at the bottom line and seeking efficiency is neck to neck with the need to take risks fostering innovation and creativity. How are the AACSB standards assessing the new programs that schools create to tackle new needs and concepts?

The way standards are written in AACSB, they very much focus on schools’ missions, wanting to ensure that any new program, anything the school is doing, is driving that condition as an institution. That’s at the upper level.

We are really trying to apply those across all process at the school, whether it’s existing programs they had for many years or its new programs, to ensure that they are really seeking to provide high quality at any program they are providing.

And they have standards for the kind of faculty they have in the classroom and the kind of services of support they provide to students. The standards are really applicable to all programs.

It’s all about helping the school to think about its mission and how it’s playing out in the different programs.

In terms of keeping up with new developments, we have conferences and seminars we give around the world, where deans and faculty and staff of business schools come together and share with one another what they are doing, what’s working, what the challenges are. What we are really trying to do is creating learning communities of business schools professionals to share and learn from each other.

It’s about the standards but also about other things business schools are doing. As we all think differently, we spend a lot of time learning from each other. Learning best practices of others.

Other thing that has been discussed about it’s this issue of efficiency kind of versus fostering innovation and creativity, which is a great issue we are all dealing with. I do think that the need for efficiency and finding the most cost effective ways to do things in business, as opposed to creativity and innovation and making think differently on how we do things, I think often they can work together. They may seem to be mutually exclusive and working against one another but I think in reality in many cases is the need to be more envisioned as to think differently helps us to be more creative and to be more innovative as business schools.

There has been a polemic around MOOCs. Despite different visions, opinions and implementations carried out by different B-Schools, it seems that online courses are here to stay and will impact even more the management education worldwide. Where is AACSB standing in this regard? Is there any debate, or consideration towards creating standards, or offering accreditation to some MOOCs?

The way accreditation works with AACSB is that we accredit institutions or business school units. We don’t accredit individual programs. When the business school unit is accredited, all of the programs within that institution are looked at. If the institution is accredited, then all programs are accredited.

When we revised the standards in 2013, we had a pretty significant discussion whether we should have a separate set of standards for online courses or online programs, meant for more traditional online programs, and we made a decision that we would not do that. We would have a set of standards that would apply regardless of the delivery mode, the location of the program.

We try to determine always if schools are delivering programs in a high quality way, regardless of the delivery mode.

The standards look across all kinds of delivery systems in a school.

What happens when a school creates an alliance with another school, which maybe not be accredited? Would that affect the initial accreditation received?

A school is reviewed every five years, taking the standards into account for that revision. As such, the school would maintain accreditation through that whole period. If it adds new programs during that five years period, then it would fall under the review of the next revision on schedule. Unless something very unusual happens, we would not go back to review a school that had received accreditation after one or two years.

If the school is partnering with another school that is not accredited, the program in which they are partnering has to meet the accreditation standards, even if the other school is not.

Today female leaders are under the spotlight -both in the public and private sectors. As female leader, what do you think will be the most important challenges that a woman in a leading position faces now and will be facing in the near future?

I don’t really think that the challenges women leaders are going to be facing in the future are going to be much different from the challenges male leaders will be facing. I do think sometimes society is expecting women to respond differently to those, which may or may not be the case. But I think in general, whether it’s in higher education or other areas, being able to drive innovation and change, and help lead an organization through change, it’s critically important.

Technology is having such an impact, also education reforms around the world is a bigger issue, we are getting a lot of pressure on pricing and cost of higher education. There’s also increasing competition and increasing quality of higher education around the world. Being able to manage in this ever changing environment, being able to innovate in it, in the middle of resource-constrains circumstances, it is a true challenge for anybody leading an organization, particularly in higher education.

As emerging economies, especially in Latin America, keep developing and attracting FDI, it is crucial to produce professionals with management skills able to perform at global levels. From the AACSB perspective, is there a perceivable evolution in the quality and competences of business graduates in Latin America? Is there any strategy or initiative or actions that AACSB will be supporting, or leading or contributing to within the next years?

We have already seen a significant growth and development in the quality of management education in Latin America. There are some outstanding schools in Latin America that are producing exceptional graduates. We are seeing an increasing number of schools in that region desiring to participate in the AACSB activities and seminars and conferences because they want to continuously improve what they are doing. I believe we will continue to see the enhancement of quality of programs and graduates.

In terms of strategies or initiatives from the AACSB, we have a task force now looking at how we can best serve management education around the world. We spend a lot of time in focus groups with different leaders from different regions of the world including Latin America. From what we learn, I think we will be seeing more and more tailor offering, based on the specific needs of that region. An example is a seminar we did, our first seminar in Spanish in Latin America. It was very well received, great attendance.

I think we will see a development of the quality, if in a somewhat different way than in other regions of the world.

Brené Brown

Brené Brown

I made a mistake this week. A rookie mistake, to be honest. I was assigned with an article for a specialized news outlet I managed to get in touch with some weeks ago. This was my second publication and, admittedly, I’ve been as at edge about it as a recent graduate could be. I messed up by not scrolling down enough the initial mail my editor sent me, so I didn’t see the report that was supposed to substantiate my research and writing. Instead, I went on reaching out to sources and writing my analysis based on the main idea the editor pointed me to.

When I received his mail asking why wasn’t there any mention on my text about that report he had shared with me, I checked the mail and… horror! There it was. I didn’t know what to do, what to say that could make me sound at least just a bit smarter. But there was no honest excuse so I opted for the truth: I hadn’t scrolled down enough to see the complete content of his email.

During some hours I feared the worst, while waiting his feedback. What do you want me to do? I had asked -do you want me to rewrite some parts to include relevant content from the report? I’m happy to fix this anyway you see it better…I’m so sorry! I Apologize!1000w-1

This afternoon, I’ve found an amazing TED Talk by Brené Brown which at this point I may believe is the best TED Talk ever as I felt it talked straight ahead to me. Brown summarizes how she spent years trying to find out what makes us, Humans, happy or unhappy. She found that it’s all a matter of connections. People’s need to connect is universally shared, so basically our joy or misery is pretty much originated in the same way, whether you live in Denmark or Mozambique. It turns out that those who can connect more effectively are those who feel they are worthy; they feel there’s beauty on their imperfections, so they are not afraid to be vulnerable.

Later at midday I got a new email from the editor. He appreciated my honesty and told me what to do next. It was such a relief. My piece is published by now. I’m expecting now for the next week to complete my next assignment, hopefully, no more rookie mistakes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Posted: August 29, 2014 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Photography, Travels

This week’s photo challenge, as posted by The Daily Post, is “Dialogue”. And a great one indeed!

(c)jennroig, Parque del Retiro, Madrid, Spain, 2010

(c)jennroig, Parque del Retiro, Madrid, Spain, 2010

This shot was taken on the spring of 2010 in Madrid, Spain. There’s this big park in the heart of the city -Parque del Retiro- where I found this particular frame. I liked it because it was a harmonic ensemble of nature and human work; because it was an obvious evidence of the human need to control chaos, and still chaos hits us back; and because it was a breeze of color in an otherwise quite gray day.

Today, I believe it fits perfectly in that definition of dialogue: “When it comes to photography, dialogue can be perceived as a consensual interaction between two images.”

Texture is the theme for this week’s photo challenge.

I took this shot on Mount Etna, Sicily, on June 2010. Over that field of solidified magma, where I was having a hard time walking, trying to keep the guide’s pace, I found that fragment of broken mirror, sharply reflecting the sunlight. I remember I wondered why was that mirror there, of all places, in the middle of a field of dry volcanic lava. It also created a sharp contrast of textures.

(c)jennroig. Mount Etna, Sicily, 2010

(c) jennroig. Mount Etna, Sicily, 2010

Not all the times, and definitely not at first sight, but from certain angles and under a sort of nostalgic mood, Catania did remind me of Havana.

(c) jennroig, Catania, Sicily, June 2010

(c) jennroig, Catania, Sicily, June 2010

The choice of Catania was a matter of time and budget constraints, but it was also about dreams and good luck. I was in Europe at the beginning of the summer of 2010, to kick-start that long vacation of three months, a break between the sprint that was the winter semester in Amsterdam and what it would be my German marathon to complete my master’s research project. Still in Amsterdam, I knew that I wanted to feel some southern European warm before embracing the German weather. When I told about it to a very good friend, we dreamed of a longer journey that would take us from Rome to Sicily and then to the Greek Islands. But then the Euro crisis was starting, and as I can actually communicate in Italian but neither of us knew a word in Greek, we ended up deciding to spend our four days in Sicily.

catania plaza

Catania, Piazza Duomo

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, after Palermo, the island’s capital. We could have picked Palermo and it would have probably made a great experience as well. But Palermo is over the North Western Coast while Catania is located in the middle of the Eastern coast, so maybe we stuck with it because of the original thought of Greece… maybe that mood stayed with us… or maybe it was because it’s closer to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe… or maybe it was just cheaper. I can’t really remember now.

We arrived there early in the morning, after a night journey that took us from from Rome to Sicily by train. Note: The Strait of Messina separates Italy from Sicily. As much as I can tell, there is no bridge yet connecting both sides of the country, and for sure there wasn’t any by then. But we didn’t need to leave our seats to board any ship, which makes me think there might be pretty gigantic ferries there. Or they separate the wagons… Any case, the mystery still haunts me today.

We arrived early, still hours away from the time when we could take over our beds on the B&B we had booked. But the owner was nice enough as to receive us, store our luggage and recommend us a great place to have a Sicilian breakfast.

When in Sicily, no matter at what time, make sure you’ll have a granita. And you can’t miss the oranges.

Roman, Arabic and Spanish heritage

catania 2

At different times in History, Catania has been dominated by culturally diverse powers. It was a Greek colony, part of the Roman empire, known as Medinat-Al-Fil during the emirate of Sicily and a member of the Crown of Aragon before the Spanish Empire would unified and claimed it as part of its territories. Only by the early 19th century Sicily -thus Catania- started to push toward the Italian unification, but it had to wait until 1960 when Garibaldi finally came to make it happen. Then Sicily joined the rest of the country.

aldabaDue to its proximity to Mount Etna, the volcanic eruptions have caused wreckage in the area on many occasions, so not every cultural legacy is as visible on the architecture and arts. Though the Spanish, the Arabic and the Roman influences are easy to notice in the streets and buildings of the city.

Maniglie in Italian; Aldabas in Havana

Maniglie in Italian; Aldabas in Havana

Besides the sculpture of the elephant -made of lava- that is part of the monument in Piazza Duomo and was supposed to protect the city against calamities, a visible Arabic influence is the “Aldabas“, as Cubans call it. Italians call it “maniglie” to those handlers for front doors, but if it’s ornamented with some human or animal figure, it is a legacy from the period of Islamic domain over Southern Italy and the Iberian peninsula.

On the other hand, to put it mildly, the Roman remains are in your face, once you are walking around the streets of the city. The biggest testimony is the amphitheater and the ruins of the town that Catania used to be on ancient Roman and maybe Greek times. It is such a pity that the ruins are not taken care of as they should be.


Obviously Catholicism makes up for another huge part of the cultural influences in Catania. There are many churches representing different periods in time and styles. As in the rest of Italy, just turning around a corner can make you find a building centuries old with a great story inside, and a storyteller eager to tell it.


My favorite, in fact, wasn’t the cathedral at Piazza Duomo. It was a smaller one, that I found so similar to the church that I used to visit back in my hometown.


Now that I see it better, and I actually think about it, maybe it’s no similar at all. Maybe there’s little to no relation between this arty church in Catania and that old church in my memory. But that’s the thing with memory, right? It starts losing shapes and tones with years, it gets selective and irrational and it takes the most unexpected paths to bring feelings along.

If ever in Sicily, I recommend paying a visit to Catania. It is so close to wonders – both Human and natural – such as Mount Etna and the beaches of Taormina, and Syracuse, with many choices of public transport to do those short trips. The food is great, the people are endearing, the colors are awesome. And from the harbor there are ferries going to the Greek Islands, so you could make that Greek Dream to come true.

I confess it, I have some unresolved issues with Amsterdam. Although I lived there for a semester in 2010, from January to June, I didn’t manage to figure out my feelings for the city. So let’s try to break this down.

The landscape

(c) Giulio Cesaroni. Dam Square, Amsterdam, 2010

(c) Giulio Cesaroni. Dam Square, Amsterdam, 2010

Yes, Amsterdam is massive. It’s a mix of history, modernity, great architecture and engineering. A great evidence of how much mankind can accomplish. Have you heard the saying that “God created the Earth but the Dutch created the Netherlands”? Well, Amsterdam would be the exact embodiment of that statement. adam (6)

adam (5)As soon as you are there, before you’ll actually get to the Red District, the canals will be the first thing that catches your eyes. The second will be the bridges, especially the older ones that still work and are elevated to grant pass to the boats. I found interesting that, for a society that seemed to be in a hurry almost all the time, no one seemed upset waiting for the bridge to come down again.

Amsterdam is below the sea level, a city stolen from Poseidon. There has to be persistent supervision to all the infrastructure of bridges, canals, dams, harbors and the port. I guess this could be a reason why so many Dutch I met were so organized and good at planning.

In general, the infrastructure is great. From technology to public transport, everything seemed state of the art. Everything except for the architecture. The city is packed with these tall, skinny buildings that clearly show a sort of Lutheran style -beautiful but solemn and sober. The structures are so old that need that metallic reinforcement between stores. Some buildings are leaning over the next one, because the foundations are not strong and have changed with time. A clear evidence that is a city build over the water.

adam (9)

Even if buildings are leaning, and corpses of dead people need to be taken out through the windows because there’s no way to carry them down the stairs, rents in Amsterdam are easily among the most expensive in Europe, which is a lot to say in a continent that also includes Copenhagen, Paris, London and Hamburg…

If you are dreaming with a season living on one of those lovely boat-houses, I’ll recommend you to make sure you’ll dispose of a deep pocket.

adam (2)

What to do

Once in Amsterdam, there are of course some must-go places. The Van Gogh Museum comes to mind and the branch of the Hermitage; the “Bloemenmarkt” or Flower Market; The Anna Frank House if interested on the topic and the suffering; the local Chinatown is over Zeedijk Street, close to the train station, though there is a lot of Thai, Korean and other Asian cultures mixed there, not just Chinese; for shopping I’d recommend Kalvertoren; the Red District is over both Oudezijds Streets.

Oh! For a surrealist experience, don’t miss Paradiso, an ex church building turned into “sanctuary for the creatures of the night”.queen day (1)

Another “healthier” choice is heading to the city parks, in case you are simply a daylight person.

queen dayQueen’s Day used to be on April, celebrating Queen Beatrix birthday. You will have to check whether the Dutch keep the holiday or moved it match the current King’s B-day. Either way, there are no other days like those to party hard in the city.

Amsterdam is actually a really overcrowded city with over 780,000 inhabitants in a very small area. On Queen’s Night and following Day everybody goes out to parade, dance, smoke, drink, and eventually lay around under the sun or drunk in an alley or rather by the side of a canal.


The public transportation system includes a metro system that covers a limited area -very narrow space where there are no canals-, buses and trams inside the city and trains that connect to suburbia and neighboring towns such as Hilversum or cities such as Haarlem. Everything runs punctual. But the farther you are from downtown, the less convenient it is to use it.

Imagine Amsterdam as a series of rings sharing the same center: the port that is close to the train station. That’s also the main spot to catch buses and trams. The different routs tend to follow lines that are like radius of the rings: so the wider the arch connecting the radius, the wider the distance between routes and stations. That is why, if you are planning to visit, you should consider renting a bicycle instead of a car or resorting to public transport.

Seasonal amusement park at Dam Square, the heart of the city, to celebrate the spring

Seasonal amusement park at Dam Square, the heart of the city, to celebrate the spring

I loved that it is a city made for boats, bikes and pedestrians. Going around in a car gets to be not only impractical, but a real nightmare. But I hated its very humid weather, the constant rain in the winter.

But I admit, when eventually the sun decides to shine, outside is the place to be.

Amsterdam, March, 2010.

Amsterdam, March, 2010.

I also hated the city’s double standards. Prostitution is legal, but you would probably have a hard time finding any Dutch prostitute. The Red District feeds from human traffic, and those are the bodies in display behind the glasses. If you haven’t yet seen this ad for Stop the Traffik, do it now. A sharp irony is that the Red district is located one block away from the University van Amsterdam’s building where I attended my second semester as visiting MA student. UvA is among the most important centers of knowledge in Europe and probably the world. I can’t decide if this is real open mindedness or simple double standards.

Marihuana is sold legally in coffee shops and “soft drugs” are allowed to be consumed in student dorms, but the authorities aren’t granting any new licenses to open new coffee shops and they are actually using any pretext to shutdown the existing ones. In the surface is beautifully diverse, a cosmopolitan dream, but underground xenophobic feelings are polluting the air, water and soil. The name of Geert Wilders and the Party of Freedom comes to mind.

adam (7)Historically and culturally, The Netherlands are very influenced, and a lot can be explained and understood, by something called “Pillarisation“.

The pillars are four, segmenting people according ideology or religion. Catholics, Protestants, Social-Democratics and then Socialists. Back in time, a catholic would only read a catholic newspaper, purchase from a catholic business and employ catholic services. The same pattern would repeat in the rest of the groups. That explains a lot today’s political system and media in The Netherlands, to mention very visible elements.

According Wikipedia: “The development of pillarisation in the Netherlands was favoured by the emancipation of working and lower-middle classes on the one hand, and the execution of elite control on the other hand. The emancipation of the working class led to the establishment of socialist parties, trade unions, media, cooperative shops and collectively organised leisure activities. This “full care” of the socialist movement for its members existed similarly in other European countries. The emancipation of the conservative and often strongly religious lower-middle class fostered the emergence of the Protestant pillar. While the Dutch bourgeoisie was rather liberal and adhered to “enlightened” Protestantism, a large part of the lower middle class embraced a more orthodox Calvinist theology taught by preacher and politician Abraham Kuyper.”

Don’t get me wrong. I can see the wonders, peculiarities and greatness of Amsterdam. Still, I am not its advocate. Maybe it’s the best choice for a sudden, quick visit, but spending time there leaves a certain sense of otherness. There are so many people there, so many tourists in the way of locals, so many newcomers from so many corners of the world, that somehow the city has become a hostile playground where everyone could fit, but it is difficult to belong. adam (10)

Luego de meses con la tarjeta verde (green card) o residencia permanente legal (Legal Permanent Resident Card) descansando entre mis documentos, ya va siendo hora que me anime a subir este post, en plan de servicio público.

Este post está dirigido a todos los cubanos que a partir de ahora necesiten llenar estas planillas, juntar los documentos, y están aturdidos y mareados porque todos los quieren mandar a lugares, aconsejar, y ya los tienen al borde del ataque histérico. Este es el camino que hay que seguir, en tanto funcionó bien para mí, y ojo que lo preparé por mi cuenta, no le pagué a nadie y todo me fluyó perfectamente.

Lo primero es la planilla: la I-485

Siga el link, descargue el documento a su computadora, y puede llenarlo digitalmente, sin necesidad de imprimirlo hasta el final cuando sólo precisa firmarlo, en tinta negra, y con suerte su firma queda en ese rectángulo minúsculo.

Llenar el contenido honestamente no tiene ciencia. En internet hay mil foros con toda la información necesaria, si tiene dudas con el inglés use Google translator, y si tiene dudas en alguna casilla, siéntase libre de contactarme en Twitter, le doy permiso: @jennroig

Por cierto, la planilla viene con sus propias instrucciones, que lo dejan absolutamente todo claro: son estas.

(Guarde la planilla llena, le servirá luego si quiere seguir el proceso de naturalización).

Va a necesitar 1070 dólares para enviar con su aplicación, eso o aplicar por bajos recursos para lo cual no puedo ayudarle, porque no viví la experiencia. El dinero lo puede pasar por cheques o los llamados money orders, lo cual es probablemente su alternativa más viable. En USPS se consiguen a mejor precio que en Western Union, si es que no vive cerca de ningún Amscot.

Los documentos:

- Examen Médico: asegúrese que es un médico registrado, y no un estafador. El gobierno provee un servicio para localizar a los doctores apropiados con oficina en las inmediaciones de su código postal: es este link.

- Dos fotos con determinadas características, pero en cualquier CVS o Walgreen puede ir, y explicar al fotógrafo para qué necesita las fotos, ellos saben los detalles.

- Prueba de su nacimiento en Cuba: acá las instrucciones se abren a interpretaciones. Y el documento que use usted, variará según la forma en que llegó a EEUU. Pero mi consejo es que proporcione de cuanta evidencia disponga: certificado de nacimiento, copia del pasaporte, documento de viaje que pueda tener.

- Traducción: No escuche las anécdotas de quién pueda sugerirle que no hace falta traducir nada. El mundo es grande, las historias de cubanos muy variadas, y puede haber quien efectivamente haya hecho sus trámites sin necesitar las traducciones, por lo menos del certificado de nacimiento. Pero no tome el riesgo, no vale la pena. Consiga un servicio de traducción decente, que de paso incluya servicios notariales. Los documentos son caros, no arriesgue atrasos.

- Police clearance o background check: es básicamente lo mismo, un documento que debe conseguir en la policía de acá, no pierda el tiempo pidiendo nada a sus familiares en Cuba. No cuesta casi nada, y es una hoja que sencillamente dice que usted no tiene delitos ni cuentas pendientes -en tanto este sea el caso. Una vez más, busque en Google qué estación es la que ofrece esos servicios, porque no todas los brindan.

- Debe también llenar la G-325

Ya está. No hay más misterios. Asegúrese de que su dirección sea estable, de confianza, y no la cambie hasta tener la residencia.

Cuando envíe sus documentos, verifique la dirección donde los debe enviar en este link. Verifique, no copie de una la misma dirección a la cual la mandó alguien más. Las cosas cambian, las oficinas se pueden relocalizar. Asegúrese de que está siguiendo un procedimiento en vigencia.

Pasados algunos días le enviarán cartas oficiales con unas numeraciones. Puede usar esos números que hasta ahora comienzan con MSC para chequear el estatus de su caso en este link.

Le mandarán a seguido una citación para sus huellas digitales. Asegúrese de no perderla, sólo entonces la aplicación se considera completa. A partir de entonces será cuestión de esperar.