Having witnessed the extraordinary development of information technology during the past 20 years qualifies us as dinosaurs, yet it also helps us to identify some systemic changes it triggered in business education, and to predict further trends that will affect business education in emerging economies.
As for dinosaur memories, I would recall these extraordinary years when Information Technology companies found themselves at the forefront of the opening of emerging markets, which were then closed economies: in 1980, IDG and its founder Patrick J.
McGovern started the first US-Sino joint venture with the creation of China Computerworld, a venture I was privileged to serve as a director in Beijing from1985 till 1991. Similarly, we entered the Hungarian market in 1985 and the then USSR in 1987, creating the first Western-owned publishing ventures beyond the iron curtain.
Meanwhile, our fellow pioneering colleagues in the lobby of the National Hotel in Moscow or the Forum in Budapest were executives from companies such as Intel, IBM or Microsoft. Around the world, governments from Moscow to Delhi and Beijing were realizing the urgency to adopt information technology if they did not want to be left behind. This in turn led these governments to support the entry of major IT companies on their markets, and to allow local software entrepreneurs to operate private ventures. Major reforms on international investments, copyrights law, international trade and commercial law followed in the 80’s in this context.
Years later, these pioneering years have been forgotten, yet another interesting legacy of information technology is the profound influence it had on the rapid adoption by emerging economies of contemporary business processes. With foreign direct investment and privatization accelerating, basic applications became a given in most organizations from an accounting, communications, operational and marketing stand point. In fact, PCbased
personal productivity tools, enterprise software applications and electronic communications did more to spread best business practices than any other factor. This positively impacted emerging economies businesses, from the affiliates of multinational companies to small businesses discovering the benefits of productivity tools. Today, the
job market in emerging economies emphasizes computer skills and the knowledge of common applications as much as it does in developed, mature economies.