Impact is “the effective action of one thing or person upon another” (Oxford English Dictionary). Impact entails change by action.
While many scholars choose academic career because of the potential to make demonstrable contribution to society and economy, rarely are there moments when a scholar is confident that they have made a difference. It is true that most institutions emphasize research impact, but investment has gone into making a research look impactful rather than developing effective ways to enable scholars to act and cause change. Without impact, research remains a hidden treasure rather than timely and useful knowledge. Without the mechanisms to generate impact, scholars restrict their life-time’s influences to papers.
The Mainstreaming Impact in International Business (MIIB) Initiative precisely aims at developing means for international business (IB) scholars to generate impact. Launched in August 2021, MIIB has introduced five channels of participation, to enable IB scholars to reach the wider global audience, to guide actions in tackling urgent global issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and geopolitical uncertainties.
One of MIIB’s on-going activities is the Mainstreaming Impact in international Business Virtual Lecture Series (MIIB VLS). It is an outlet for AIB academics to showcase potential IB solutions and research evidence. Its innovative operation offers a means to cause actions to solve defined problems.
How do MIIB Virtual Lectures work?
Committing to sustainability, MIIB lectures operate virtually, using a suite of well-known online learning tools. In this virtual space, IB scholars and students share pre-recorded material, distribute reading lists, have live discussions, conduct group work, exchange feedback, and build a long-term network.
An MIIB lecture is not a stand-alone event; rather the MIIB VLS is a virtual international programme which synchronizes lectures from at least two higher education institutions (more in next section), using a standardized MIIB Lecture Framework. The Framework is developed based on the Theory of Change. The lectures thus have clearly defined objective of change and use specific mechanisms leading to change. The framework works as an intervention and aims to develop students’ global mindset and change mindset. It focuses on guiding student stakeholders to use latest IB knowledge and research to engender a Proposal of Change for a defined problem. Using techniques such as role assignment and trade-offs, it gives students the ownership of their proposals and make them visualise how they may lead the change.
The process of developing MIIB lectures is an AIB-led collaboration. IB Scholars, the MIIB Speakers, will get support and work closely with Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang, the founder and leader of the initiative. Lectures will be developed to the high standards of higher education accreditation such as those of the AACSB, making it a premium input to high quality undergraduate, postgraduate, and MBA programmes. In addition to receiving help in implementing the Framework and meeting accreditation criteria, MIIB speakers will benefit from tailored pre- and post-lecture surveys. The pre-lecture survey provides audience analysis, assists the lecture preparation, serves as a nudge to students to evaluate their knowledge of sustainable development and the relevant IB topic before the lecture. The post-lecture survey provides evidence of the impact, as well as opportunities for future development. Such process allows reflecting on own teaching skills and enhancing teaching practices adopted by the lecturer.
The MIIB lecture and the AIB is professionally promoted using Lecture Brochures, a Presidential introduction of the Academy via video, and polished Virtual Background and Presentation Template. Each lecture is complemented with pre-lecture reading list and post-lecture group work feedback. Each student receives a Certificate of Completion and is invited to join MIIB Student Society on LinkedIn as a way of community building. The current MIIB VLS covers 9 countries in 5 continents.
What are the benefits of MIIB VLS for participating institutions?
The benefits of MIIB VLS does not limit to a pair of institutions which see their students attending a joint virtual lecture; instead, the benefits are multiplied. If speaker A from institution A gives an MIIB Lecture to students of institutions A and B, speaker B from institutional B will in return give an MIIB lecture to both institutions’ students, and this lecture may also be offered to students in institution C, if a speaker from that institution will accordingly give an MIIB lecture. The multiplier effect means that participating universities and colleges will be able to access multiple lectures of the MIIB VLS, if only one scholar from the institution gives an MIIB lecture.
This means that participating institutions and lecturers from them involve in knowledge sharing and expertise exchanges. They can benchmark their student capabilities, methods used in teaching, and try new methods that might have not been yet adopted in the institution. MIIB serves as a medium for global learning on best IB teaching practices across the institutions. The MIIB VLS is an opportunity to increase reputation of participating institutions. This will be a direct result of their scholars’ promoting changes informed by scientific knowledge and research, and their students’ demonstrating ownership and skills of proposing changes to tackle grand challenges.
What are the benefits of MIIB VLS for participating IB scholars?
The MIIB VLS places you, the IB scholars, at the heart of the IB discipline’s impact agenda. The biggest benefit is to enhance your teaching practices and raise personal profile as an impact champion what increases your reputation across international institutions, accelerating career development. The lecturers can reach and impact truly international audience what is not always available when teaching within the home institution.
As MIIB VLS are meant to embed IB and Sustainable Development in current curriculums, MIIB lectures will bring the wealth of AIB’s IB expertise to your modules and programmes and enrich the learning experience of your students when they can work and interact with peers of other institutions. Your teaching outcome will be more international, more intellectually stimulating, more research-led, and has demonstrable impact in causing positive change.
Once complete their study, students will go into their professional worlds and take their proposals of change and IB-informed ideas with them. Your research will have long lasting effects on change agents and their associated societies and economies.
What is the impact of MIIB VLS so far?
Impact on IB scholars
To the AIB scholar who gave the MIIB lecture, the question about its impact is “How has participation in MIIB allowed me to reconsider my own teaching practices and improve them?”
To this, our inaugural MIIB lecture speaker Prof John Dilyard, St. Francis College, US, says:
“The positive reaction to the real life examples and the enthusiasm exhibited by the students in the breakout sessions to think about how to resolve the issues those examples raised has made me want to incorporate these kinds of examples in the classroom as complements to assigned readings. I also want to devote more time and energy to giving my students guided tasks that they will work on in groups and then share.”
Our second MIIB lecture speaker Dr Mohammad Faisal Ahammad of University of Leeds, UK says:
“I highly value the opportunity to deliver the MIIB virtual lecture. The participation in MIIB lecture allowed me to reconsider the method of Increasing student participation and engagement during a lesson. The small group activity created opportunity for students to interact with each other and share diverse opinion. As reflected in the post-lecture feedback, students really appreciated the opportunity to interact and share diverse opinions. I will continue designing small group activities for any further lectures.”
Following the MIIB lecture, MIIB speakers have continued to share follow up analysis and examples relating to the lecture topic to members of the MIIB Student Society on LinkedIn, and thus contributing to enhancing the awareness of the AIB’s impact to worldwide students and their associated institutions.
The collaborations among MIIB VLS contributors have resulted in the development of research ideas and ideas for future AIB events.
Impact on student stakeholders
To evaluate the impact of the MIIB lecture on the education of student participants, a post-lecture survey was distributed to registered students. Taking responses to the first MIIB Lecture, as an example:
1. Following the lecture, which of these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have you become more aware of? Choose all that apply.
Results: an average of 50% across 17 SDGs [min 37% – Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries, max 64.29% – Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all].
2. Has the MIIB lecture changed the way you think about the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of SDGs?
Results: 100% for the answer “Yes, it has changed the way I think” in each dimension.
3. Has the MIIB Lecture changed your planned actions on SDGs in these dimensions?
Results: an average of 82.94% across 3 dimensions for the answer “Yes, it has” in each dimension. 85.83% Economic, 81.89% Social, 81.10% Environmental.
4. Has the MIIB Lecture changed your ideas about conducting research in the area of international business and sustainable development?
Results: 84.13% for the answer “Yes, it has”.
5. How likely are you to recommend MIIB to a friend or colleague?
Results: 90% of responses suggesting likely recommendation.
Students are future practitioners and change agents. Within MIIB lectures, transformative change has taken place!
Additionally, students highlighted various of their favourite aspects of the lecture, e.g.,
The team of MIIB Impact Champions is growing and so are the opportunities from this network.
Are you an AIB member and interested in becoming an MIIB impact champion and speaker?
Please contact Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To subscribe to forthcoming MIIB lectures in 2022, please email MIIBContactUS@gmail.com.