The Future Corporation – The Future Business School (part 3)

LEAD SymposiumThe 2014 LEAD Symposium challenges participants to sketch a vision of The Future Corporation, identifying key characteristics of what the sustainable corporation could and should look like in the future. They look to provide a beacon for the transition of the global business community that is already underway, fuelled by deeper integration of sustainability into strategies and operations. On 20 November, the PRME community is invited to watch the Live-stream and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #FutureCorporation and #GCLEAD.

To create The Future Corporation, we also need to explore The Future Business School. What kind of training is needed to ensure that future generations of employees, managers, and leaders have to create the future corporations we want and need? What, specifically, should future business schools look like, in terms of curriculum, partnerships, dialogues, campus greening, etc.?

Parts 2 and 3 of this series capture visions from PRME schools of what the Future Business School may look like. I encourage you to contribute your own. (Click here to see part 1 and part 2)

“Just as the 19th century has been described as ‘the British century’ and the 20th century as ‘the US century,’ the 21st century is ‘the Asian century’. If trends continue to 2050, Asia will regain dominance in the world as before the industrial revolution. This outcome is not guaranteed, however, because many challenges remain in institutional capacity, public and corporate governance, rising inequality, and acute competition for finite resources. If unresolved, these issues will trigger economic, social, and political complications within and across the region. The British century’ and ‘the US century’ also necessitated overcoming substantial economic, social, and political challenges including civil unrest, revolution, and war. The ‘Asian century’ will be different due to greater globalisation. The globalisation of business education with proliferating international alliances, networks, and offshore campuses–accompanied by increasingly mobile faculty and students–is producing convergence in the formerly more diverse approaches to management education. We must grasp this opportunity to unite behind and promulgate the principles of responsible management to the world’s future business and societal leaders. The leading business schools of the future will find innovative collaborations with like-minded schools, businesses, governments, and civil society in all parts of the world to do this.” – Colm Kearney, Dean Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Australia

“The world of business is changing rapidly and graduates at all levels must have the creativity and critical thinking skills to lead that change in sustainable directions. Looking forward, I think business schools must develop leaders who are well rounded and able to think and work in several dimensions, and see their inter-dependence. Business schools will move away from functional silos: students will learn how international finance affects production, how ethics impacts supply chains, and how customer service affects human resources. Students will learn in classrooms and via online resources from around the world and move fluidly between corporate and academic contexts. They will experience the global scope of business and appreciate the implications and challenges of working in diverse cultures. They will have access to a rich array of ideas, coming from their own campuses and others, and will have the skills and confidence to contribute to diverse conversations. At Gustavson, our vision is to pioneer business education that creates sustainable value. That means integrating the full spectrum of financial, human, and environmental value in decision-making.” – Saul Klein, Dean, University of Victoria, Gustavson School of Business, Canada

“The biggest challenge is our mainstream management paradigm. Our short term, linear, and causal thinking in management means businesses don’t take responsibility. Participants need to understand a paradigm of holism, based on the principles of the quantum world and of complex systems behaviour. This paradigm has profound implications for leadership and innovation. It equally has implications for the pedagogical approach: action learning, and learning by and while doing, are becoming the pedagogical paradigm that will support responsibility. But maybe most important is the focus on relevance. Business schools should pay attention to be relevant, and not just good–relevant in the sense that we train people in order to go out and make the difference in the world. We have to train people to be able to lead, entrepreneur, and innovate in emerging markets: markets with high degrees of complexity, uncertainty, and inequality.” – Walter Baets, Director of the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa

“Practice gives important and valuable lessons that the university can’t provide exclusively by itself. That is why it’s fundamental to give students the opportunity to learn from challenges and issues that may happen in a real company. For The Future Business School, it would be interesting to implement programmes that allow a space between the university and businesses where students, in a real controlled environment, put into practice the knowledge and experience gained during their academic preparation, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It would help students to apply their knowledge and thus identify the weaknesses of the company generating knowledge to face real problems that SMEs may face. Gustavo Yepes Lopez, Director of Social Management, Universidad Externado, Colombia

“Developing a business school education that emphasises social and environmental impacts of business will have to at least partially rely on new platforms for dialogue between stakeholders so that students and faculty can get to understand business-related topics from the perspectives of different stakeholders. The role of the teachers will increasingly be to act as curators, assembling different modules and perspectives into meaningful packages. Thanks to technological developments, it is easy to envision a future in which different organisations (e.g., schools and NGOs) in different places increasingly collaborate with each other in the learning process of students. For example, two schools in geographically and culturally different locations could produce their own online lectures on a similar topic but from different perspectives. They could then either combine these online elements to a common MOOC (massive open online course) or exchange singular elements into each other’s courses. One example of collaboration could be a common Wiki on a particular subject that might have different meanings in different contexts, such as corruption or living wage. These types of developments will not be sufficient on their own to create meaningful dialogues or enable the students to fully understand various stakeholders but we think they will open up a new range of possibilities in the overall portfolio of approaches to responsible management education.” – Martin Fougère and Nikodemus Solitander, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

ISAE believes that the role of the business school is to inspire globally responsible leaders. In the future, integration between market and school will be essential, so that the student can be in contact through practice with local and global needs and capabilities. This future school will allow the student to take control of their own education and career. This synergy between the school and the market is indispensable, because it puts education as the transformation vector of our society and our future.” – Norman de Paula Arruda Filho, President ISAE, Brazil


For more ideas visit the Future MBA Project, a growing database of ideas from around the world on what the future of management education might/could/will look like.

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