Hot on the heels of last week’s news that Thunderbird and ASU were set to merge, is the announcement of another strategic alliance between business schools.This time, terms have been reached between US-based Hult International Business School and the UK’s Ashridge Business School. The strategic alliance, awaiting legal confirmation, will see a high level of collaboration from the outset, but ultimately the plan is for the two institutions to merge.Ashridge admitted recently that it was in discussions over a strategic alliance but denied that the reason for this had anything to do with the financial uncertainty that has been well-documented in the case of Thunderbird. By teaming up, Ashridge Business School and Hult International Business School are instead looking to bring together each school’s assets to keep pace and stay afloat in an increasingly competitive and globalized business education landscape.Strategic alliance to combine schools’ differing strengthsWhat can these two business schools offer each other? Well, Hult International Business School is known for its global reach – with a campus presence in Dubai, Shanghai and London as well as in the US. Meanwhile, Ashridge Business School has a strong tilt towards research and executive education. The aim of the strategic alliance is to build on these strengths. For example, research efforts at Ashridge will take a renewed focus on employer needs in executive education and Hult’s global reach will be furthered through expanding its programs available online.“By combining Ashridge’s expertise in organization development and Hult’s strength in developing individual leaders, our ambitious vision is to become the best and most relevant provider of leadership development in the world,” said Hult International Business School’s president, Dr. Stephen Hodges in a statement.Both schools will retain their status as, “separate entities, with their own brands, programs and management,” for the time being. However, an amalgamated institution could be the eventual outcome, as has been the case in France with the formation of Kedge Business School (BEM Bordeaux and Euromed Management) and Neoma Business School (Reims Management School and Rouen Business School) last year.