The survey, taken in March, included chief executives and other top officers from many industries such as information technology and telecom, business services and finance. They were allowed to choose just one country.
McKinsey says smaller American companies tend to see faster growth in the U.S., but larger U.S. companies see faster growth in China. Of the respondents from companies with revenues of less than $250 million, 30 percent chose the U.S. But 41 percent of companies with more than $5 billion in revenues picked China.
Another part of the explanation for why respondents picked the U.S. as their biggest sales target was that non-American companies expect to expand here. “Chinese and Indian companies are the ones that actually said the United States was going to be their biggest growth market,” says Lenny Mendonca, a director at McKinsey who helped conduct the survey. “A lot of the big American companies said China or India.”
It is hardly surprising that Europe fared so poorly in view of its perennially slow growth and overall Euro malaise. But it is noteworthy that Britain came in third. “It’s a relatively open country,” says Mendonca. “It was on the list for Indian companies.”
And which industry do business leaders see as offering the highest growth rates in the entire global economy? Health care and pharmaceutical, reflecting the aging of populations throughout the industrialized world.
CEO CONFIDENCE INDEX
Some 259 out of 477 respondents, or 54.3 percent, said they had used business schools in one of those ways (see story, page 34). Presented with Business Week’s top 25 business schools, they chose the 10 best for CEOs to use (below left). But they also nominated a sampling of a surprising array of other business schools, which we’ve listed (below, center).
Respondents noted it is difficult to compare business schools because they have such different strengths. “Darden is more real world and hands-on with participation by top industry leaders such as George David of United Technologies,” one reader wrote. “MIT is the choice of many for manufacturing and is also highly practical. Harvard still ranks high, but it is overrated.”
Harvard does seem to be a lightning rod, with other CEOs defending it vigorously. “Harvard still has the strongest brand among all business schools, and it has the best senior executive level programs,” one reader stated.
As to why so many CEOs have never used a business school, it may be frustration with what is taught. “Business schools teach their students how to think and how to plan and creatively analyze problems,” one reader wrote. “But they do not teach them how to manage people, how to mentor or be mentored, or how to deal with the frustrations inherent in following someone else’s directives. I wouldn’t hire an MBA if the government gave me a 100 percent subsidy.”
Another reader added: “The gap between real-world business needs and the curricula at these branded business schools continues to widen at a frightening pace.”
In other news, CEO Confidence bumped up this month after a decline the previous month (below right). The benchmark indicator, launched in October 2002 with a base value of 100, hit 165, up from 146.8 the previous month. That was largely driven by a 19.8 point increase in the Employment Confidence Index, a key component. The sharp month-to-month fluctuations mean it is difficult to tell whether the increase in hiring intentions is a short-term blip or a meaningful long-term trend.