The 2014 CEO Retreat in Cartagena marks the 25th major meeting since the Global Business Polilcy Council was established in 1992. While keeping with the traditions and format of the sessions as intimate, off-the-record discussions, a few A.T. Kearney leaders will be sharing insights about the key topics and themes throughout the event. Please register to add your comments to this discussion.

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Crisis and Change Are Human Constants—It’s Complacency That’s the Killer

​As our CEO Retreat in Cartagena winds down, I have found myself reviewing our discussions of the past couple of days. Though technological change is accelerating and becoming more "disruptive" (in every sense), change and crisis are no strangers to human affairs. In fact, they're the norm, and often a spur to new opportunity. It’s complacency (and bad policies) that are more likely to send companies, countries, and other institutions to the dustbin of history.

As Silicon Valley was frequently in our Cartagena conversations, I thought of our Chairman Emeritus Paul Laudicina’s 2012 book Beating the Global Odds, which showed two notional lists: the world's top 10 universities in 1912 and in 2012, which I reproduce below. Notice any differences?

The World’s Top 10 Universities, 2012 (alphabetical order)

California Institute of Technology

University of California (System)

University of Cambridge

University of Chicago

Harvard University 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University of Oxford

Princeton University

Stanford University

Yale University

The World’s Top 10 Universities, 1912 (alphabetical order)

University of Berlin

University of Bonn

University of Breslau

University of Cambridge

University of Göttingen

University of Halle

University of Heidelberg

University of Jena

University of Leipzig

University of Oxford 

In 1912, eight of the world's top research universities were German, mainly Prussian—and they were pumping out Nobel Prizes like there was no tomorrow. Such was the prestige of Prussia that the Colombian Army (and some neighboring ones) still wears Prussian dress uniforms, though the Prussian state, its army, and the greatness of its research universities are long gone.

What will the “Top 10” look like in 2112? Take nothing for granted.

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Contributors Contributors

Click here to learn more about our contributors.
Johan Aurik
Johan Aurik
Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board
Paul A. Laudicina
Paul A. Laudicina
Chairman Emeritus and Chairman of GBPC
Erik R. Peterson
Erik R. Peterson
Partner and GBPC Managing Director
Daniel Mahler
Daniel Mahler
Head of Americas
Maria Eugenia Fanjul
Maria Eugenia Fanjul
Head of Colombia
Xavier Mesnard
Xavier Mesnard
Partner
Alex Liu
Alex Liu
Partner