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The month of May saw the establishment of two university networks: the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) and AsiaEngage. Both new networks have coincidentally made a claim to defy the norms imposed by global university rankings through the formation of ‘meaningful partnerships’. GNAM, driven by the Yale School of Management, claimed that it is special in the way that it has dropped the typical partnership approach of partnering only with the best schools from a limited set of countries or partnering with a focus on the “promising tuition markets”. Instead, the 21-member network seeks to bring together a broad set of business schools (currently from some 20 different countries) to work on their shared interest in emerging global business issues. Primarily, the network will offer an infrastructure for the members to exchange global business cases and curriculum content and for their students and faculties to connect among themselves and/or with allied enterprises. In principle, each member school can initiate programmes with other participants. Nevertheless, the Yale School of Management clearly stands out in the forefront of this initiative and the diversity of contributions from the other members is yet to be seen.
The other network—AsiaEngage—also claims to defy the research-orientated norm of rankings by setting its focus on the university–community–industry partnership. The network, initiated and driven by The National University of Malaysia and supported by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education, will serve as a ‘branded’ regional platform that is to maximise the strengths of the Asia-Talloires Network of Industry and Community Engaged Universities (ATNEU), the ASEAN University Network’s Thematic Network on University Social Responsibility and Sustainability (AUN-USR&S) and the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme. It is therefore a ‘network of networks’ that automatically draws members from ATNEU and AUN-USR&S.