Executive DEVELOPMENT 36 | Developing Leaders Issue 27: 2017 In 2013 a report from EY identified that “In Asia alone, 525 million people can already count themselves middle class – more than the European Union’s total population. Over the next two decades, the middle class is expected to expand by another three billion, coming almost exclusively from the emerging world. By 2030, we believe two-thirds of the global middle class will live in the Asia-Pacific region, up from just under one-third in 2009.” The demand for international executive education is likely to grow with this surge in middle classes, with teaching taking place in business schools around the world and online. Yet global is a much over used word among business schools as referenced earlier in this article and on its own is not a differentiator. However, meaningful global awareness and understanding is increasingly important to businesses, whether that’s in commerce, culture or politics. For a business school, finding a way to authentically illustrate its global reach is challenging, but if done successfully has considerable benefit. Part of the solution means being clear about the regions you serve, tightly defining the school’s range of operations and marketing accordingly. Part is about using stories, be those client case studies or alumni profiles, such as the example of a Leeds University Business School story of a British MBA graduate who set up a Japanese ski holiday business. And part, will be about the faculty delivering programmes – do they have true international experience, can they communicate effectively in different cultures? Differentiating a business school will rarely be straightforward, but a strong, clear identity has considerable benefit for a school and its success. Twenty years ago, Tom Peters wrote a book titled The Brand Called You . For this article, it might have been called ‘A Brand Called U(niversity)’. In the book, Peters says “Ask yourself ‘What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Give yourself the traditional 15-word-or-less contest challenge. Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it. Several times.” He goes on to explain what those 15 words need to do. For the purposes of this article, it might say something along these lines, “If your answer wouldn’t light up the eyes of a prospective student, command a vote of confidence from an alum or excite a Learning and Development Director, or – worst of all – if it doesn’t grab you, then you’ve got a big problem.” Andrew Crisp is director and co-founder of CarringtonCrisp, a specialist higher education consultancy.