An earlier version of the article was published as an in-house impact paper as a part of the ESCP Impact Papers 2020 project.
Professor Mercado’s article highlights that the Pandemic has caused disruption in international student mobility, with its consequences likely to have impact on business schools and higher education sectors worldwide. The article predicts a bounce back in ISM flows but a transition towards a “responsible mobility future” in which traditional physical mobility coexists with virtual mobility. Such a future he argues would make international experiences more impactful and accessible. The next era says Mercado, should capitalise on digital acceleration and help to address some of the concerns about traditional international student mobility, including its carbon footprint. It should not however see an abandonment of physical mobility options which deliver tangible personal and economic benefits.
Sharing various research findings, Professor Mercado supports the reasons for maintaining study abroad opportunities and experiences, which help students to develop a number of skills essential to business success. These include:
- Problem solving and autonomous decision making
- Adaptation and agility
- Multiculturalism or cosmopolitanism through exposure to foreign cultures
- Language skills and cross cultural awareness
Professor Mercado, who is the newly elected Chair of the International Committee of the Chartered Association of U.K. Business Schools (CABS), adds that promoting, diversifying and quality-assuring international student mobility is one of the biggest issues facing higher education providers.
Evidence shows that universities and business schools rely heavily on inbound and outbound mobility, which takes different forms. CABS has long campaigned to create the right conditions for international student mobility including access to the U.K. for international students seeking to study and work here. More information on its work can be found here.