PRiMEtime’s Guide to Implementing PRME: 100 Tips from Signatories (part 2 of 5)

The PRiMEtime Guide to Implementing PRME is made up of 100 tips from signatories around the world. These posts, which will be published over the next few days, are organised into the following sections: why and what, what to focus on (part 1), getting started, designing your initiative, moving forwards (part 2), putting together a team, the importance of developing relationships (part 3), focus on faculty, focus on students, the importance of partnerships (part 4), funding and final words of advice (part 5). For more information about the context surrounding the tip, click on the links to read the full blog post.


Getting started

15. Just get started. “Do not think too much about it but just do it. We launched it as an experiment, with only the only objective being having 16 student ambassadors and one project so being flexible in what comes at you and have internal support from above is also essential.” Eva Geluk, Antwerp Management School, Belgium (Click here for more)

16. Start early. “Start earlier than we did! We didn’t really start working on the 30 Days until August 15th, and it started on September 1st, so with the hindsight of having gone through it once, I’m sure we could get even more visibility out of it.” Dennis Hanno, Babson College, US (Click here for more)

17. See if it is possible. “My major recommendation would be to conduct a feasibility assessment before starting. The course requires working with organisations that have access to sustainability indicator data.  While many organizations have an expressed commitment to sustainability, they may not yet be adequately prepared to systematically analyse their efforts.” Raintry jean Salk, Viterbo University, US (Click here for more)

18. Do your research. “Start by looking for what is already going on. Get as many of the faculty members on board as you can, but don’t waste too much time on convincing the sceptics, the advocates are the ones that will make the change happen.” Hrefna Sigriour Briem, Reykjavik University School of Business, Iceland (Click here for more)

19. Be inspired by others: “There are more and more options for curriculum available, so you don’t need to create your own, but you do need to create a cohesive, comprehensive experience for your students.” Aunnie Patton Power, University of Cape Town, South Africa (Click here for more)

20. Listen to what everyone has to say. “I would recommend that a lot of exploratory conversation happen first about formal agreement around content and timetable delivery. I have found that what some business schools think is a relevant offering – because it includes the wordscorporate and sustainability – does not actually have the same focus on the social impact core element of our courses. Initial conversations and agreements are important.” Cheryl Kernot, University of New South Wales, Australia (Click here for more)

21. Set a common mission. “The consortium has to be organised around a sense of common mission, a sense of collegiality or comradeship that can overcome the competitive tensions of being in the same “industry.” Sustainability is such a mission. It is almost a movement. But one person has to do the work to get it started. I was not going to wait for a committee decision, though going forward I will gladly accept input and advice from the group. My advice then is to start it, and then let it go.” Scott R. Herriott, Maharishi University of Management, US (Click here for more)

22. Commitment is important. An initiative likeHumacitér can only be successful if there is genuine commitment from all stakeholders within the business school. It requires a shared vision—that students have the right to study, explore, and experience these issues as a core and primary focus of their education, and that we can inspire students to become actively involved and subsequently consider the social and environmental impact of their work.” Sarah Vaughan and Daniel Baudin, La Rochelle Business School, France (Click here for more)

23. Take the lead. “Do not hesitate to lead the process.” Vesselin Loulanski, European College of Economics and Management, Bulgaria (Click here for more)

24. These types of projects take a lot of energy and planning. “Interdisciplinary projects like this are very challenging to sustain.  First, there has to be strong commitment from different parties.  Even though this is a student-run project, supervision by the faculties would still be necessary.  Faculty support – be it financial or merely moral support – would also help motivate students.  Second, in a university setting, the need for a good succession plan is even more pressing than in normal organisations.  The turnover is constant and frequent.  Faculty facilitation in this aspect may be necessary.  Third, sustainability will be a challenge.  Before embarking on such projects, it is good to assess the long-term financial viability of the projects, as well as the likelihood that people will be excited about it in the long-run.  Finally, it always helps if the project is consistent with the general philosophy and values of the school.  Such projects take up a lot of energy, and if they are not in line with other things the school is doing, they will be very difficult to maintain.” Pamsy Hui, The Hong Kong Polytechnic Unviersity, China (Click here for more)

Designing your Initiative

25. Design with a purpose. “That was the single-most important aspect of the festival and it resulted in an event that was not only successful in terms of numbers and engagement, but in the immediate impact it had, leaving everyone involved with the optimism and drive to create positive change.” Claire Stokes, University of Western Australia, Australia (Click here for more)

26. Tailor your offering. “You have to believe in social responsibility and practice it yourself rather than try to reproduce something that worked somewhere else. Every student body is unique and you need to find something that will truly resonate with your student community. However, do not be afraid to try something that is totally new. When we were starting, the core team got together and we said, “We may make all the possible mistakes we can make here but we are going to learn from that and make it better next year.” Natalia Bukhshtaber, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia (Click here for more)

27. Celebrate your strengths. “My first advice is to have a concept that conveys the culture of the place. Best practices tend to be localised, embedded, even customised to the history and the future outlook of each school. Without a clear sense of time and place, a report is just that. SIP reports on the other hand underscore the importance of learning from one another, and I think business schools have a great deal more to learn from their cultures than from their activities. Oana Branzei, Ivey Business School, Canada (Click here for more)

28. Don’t be afraid to try something different. “Follow an approach that is relevant, entertaining, and speaks to the current generation of students. Don’t become a victim of other people’s thinking, develop a customized approach toward teaching ethics and sustainability.” Thomas Maak, University of South Australia Business School, Australia (Click here for more)

29. Be unique. “There are a lot of business school case challenges out there. Positioning a new one is not easy. Make sure you have a very clear idea of what you want to achieve with the competition (the “mission”). My experience working with students on similar challenges is that they are more interested and motivated when they identify with the issue, care about it, and most importantly, believe that their proposed solutions will be taken seriously by the organisation being addressed.” Lawrence Pratt, INCAE, Costa Rica (Click here for more)

30. Think big. “Start out by having fun with the idea, and be super ambitious. A lot is doable. Then, seriously consider how much time and energy you have at hand. It was quite demanding to be in charge of the project while only being employed part- time.” Jacob Schjodt, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark (Click here for more)

31. Embed it into the curriculum. “I was very deliberate in my approach. Micro-Tyco was baked into the curriculum—attaching grades gets work done. Kerry B. Godfrey and Trent Tucker, Guelph College of Business and Economics, Canada (Click here for more)

Moving Forwards

32. Take the time to do it right: “Spend a significant amount of time getting your curriculum and your mix of speakers correct. There needs to be one strong convenor pulling the whole thing together that understands how the content should flow and how to tie it all together.” Aunnie Patton Power, University of Cape Town, South Africa (Click here for more)

33. Do not underestimate the time commitment. “There are a huge number of tasks to keep up with. We do not have tightly defined roles for committee members, rather we are flexible and individuals are able to take a back seat for short periods when data collection, thesis writing or job interviews need to be put first, during which time the rest of the team takes the lead.” Gabriela Gutierrez, University of Nottingham, UK (Click here for more)

34. Identify barriers. “The key piece of advice I would give is to try and be as inclusive as possible in terms of who you include in the process. Take the opportunity to break down the traditional internal barriers and pull together all the disparate green and sustainability initiatives taking place across the university—chances are that you will be as surprised, as I was, about how much is actually happening and the opportunities that exist to enrich the curriculum with live cases and projects.” Paul Cashian, Coventry University, United Kingdom (Click here for more)

35. Create a safe environment. “If schools think that tomorrow’s leaders should understand the social and environmental impact of their business decisions, and take responsibility for them, then students must learn these skills and have the opportunity to practice them. Create a safe space for students to fail—if they do, coach them through the steps needed to get back on track. When they’re faced with a similar scenario in upon graduation they’ll know how to succeed.” Taylor Reed, Boise State University, US (Click here for more)

36. Support the right culture. “Senior leadership support and a culture whereby creativity and the ability to experiment is essential to deliver the change in higher education that is required to realise the SDGs.” Belinda Gibbons, University of Wollongong, Australia (Click here for more)

37. Be organised. “We would recommend organising everything carefully before starting a programme, since this kind of project is especially subject to unforeseen events. Despite the risks, we consider it to be a worthwhile endeavour since it allows students to really go beyond their boundaries.” Giorgio Miotto, EADA, Spain (Click here for more)

38. Be transparent. “The goal of this integrated report is to be exhaustive and frank with the reader. It is not a tool for Green Washing and simply valorising a school’s actions. You also have to recognize when you have not met expectations.” Tashina Giraud, Euromed Management, France (Click here for more)

39. Integrate it into the curriculum. “The better an extra-curricular programme is interlinked with regular degree programmes the better. Thus, I would advise talking to individual professors in the schools on their regular teaching issues and ask what kind of extra-curricular course would match.” Ulrike Baumgartner, Reutlinger University, Germany (Click here for more)

40. Don’t overlook the details. “I recently spoke to leaders at an institution that made a special effort to recruit Indigenous people into their business programmes and then watched helplessly as few of succeeded. That’s not the way to do it. Institutions need to cultivate relations with Indigenous leaders who can help them adjust to the needs of Indigenous students. They need to look at everything, from whether the look and feel of their physical spaces shows respect for Indigenous cultures to whether they have appropriate resources that focus on Indigenous topics to whether they know enough to be able to show respect to the different Indigenous cultures of potential students.” Mark Selman, Simon Fraser University, Canada (Click here for more)

41. Get feedback. “Put in place a mechanism to gather feedback throughout the project and incorporate that feedback in order to strengthen your offerings. Be flexible with the planning and the execution of the project. Things will change regularly and the needs of your target audience are also likely to change so be open to adapting as you go.” Mariella Porras, IESA, Venezuela (Click here for more)

42. Keep it updated. “Make sure that you have the resources and/or systems in place to keep the information relevant and continually changing. If the same information stays on display for more than a week, students will begin to ignore it.” Joe Lawless, Milgard School of Business, US (Click here for more)


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