Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to highlight how future teaching in business schools will probably take place in an online (here called 24/7) classroom, where culturally diverse e-learners around the globe meet. Technologies such as iPhone, iPad and a variety of social media, to mention but a few, give management learners of any age easy 24/7 access to information. Depending on the quality of the materials and the competences and cross-cultural sensibilities of the teachers and trainers, this information may support the progress of e-learning in business schools. At the same time, easy online access to knowledge and educational structures is not, in practice, equally available yet across cultures, and this will be documented with comparative cases from the Arab world and African learning communities. Design/methodology/approach: This article contributes to multicultural education by identifying various barriers in the online management classroom. It combines theories from educational and cross-cultural leadership studies, as well as e-learning studies. Findings: The outcomes of this analysis show how technical, language and cross-cultural barriers still hinder particular adult learners to benefit from the "24/7 business school". It is concluded that by understanding and serving a wide range of culturally diverse e-learners in business schools, the stewardship role of the business school teacher is key. Originality/value: The interplay between technical, language and cultural barriers in the online business school is rarely reflected upon. It is the intention of the authors to trigger a broad discussion process by focusing on culturally diverse management learners and by connecting with innovative educational insights across histories and cultures. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.