Meditation in the Classroom (Part 1 of 2) – Chiang Mai University Faculty of Business Administration


Chiang Mai University Faculty of Business Administration in Thailand, is committed to producing social conscious students. They aim to instil sustainability in their students through a growing range of courses (for example a course on Accounting and Climate Change), sustainability assignments in all core courses as well as a focus on sustainability outside of the classroom in extracurricular activities.

But one of their methods is not traditionally used in business schools, although perhaps it should be. All students at the Business School are given opportunities to meditate in the classroom, either through daily practice supported by faculty of core courses or through a specific elective. I spoke with members of the team at Chiang Mai University about their how they embed meditation into the curriculum.

Why meditation?

According to our mission to produce socially conscious students and produce graduates with morals and ethics, our faculty realizes the necessity of meditation practice. Meditation leads to Samadhi (state of mindfulness) which, in turn, increases the power of mind. Through meditation, our students will be able to control their minds. They will also be wiser, more highly responsible, more deeply mindful, and more caring.

For business managers this is particularly important because of the fast paced business enviornment of today. With Samadhi, the power of mind becomes stronger. This benefits their self-interest and common interest. It helps create a peace of mind which enables managers to have better insight and decision.

How is meditation brought into the curriculum?

We have put in place a course called Meditation for Business Leaders (MGMT 330) that is based on Meditation for Life Development course developed by Venerable Viriyang Sirintharo, the abbot of Wat Dhammamongkol Temple. Venerable Viriyang Sirintharo is the one who initiated and disseminated meditation courses throughout Thailand and other countries and he is now the great meditation teacher.

The Meditation for Business Leaders course is an elective course for students majoring in Management and a free elective course for students in other majors. It is a three-credit course with 2 credits for theory and 1 credit for practice. The course content covers meaning, objectives, methods, processes of meditation. It also includes benefits of meditation and how to apply meditation to daily life, work and business.

What kind of meditation is practiced during the course?

Learning activities under this course include both lecture and practice. The practice includes walking and sitting meditation. Students have to do meditation practice for at least 60 hours, including 7.5 hours a month at home. The activities also include a reflective session at the end of the course.

How are students not part of the elective benefiting from meditation?

Our faculty is the first faculty that allow students to do meditation practice before class. The practice takes only five minutes. Different methods were used such as finger counting, 4-7-8 breath counting, and breathing. This was the foundation of meditation for our students which allows them to gradually practice. We have several videos that help guide students (see above). This practice helps students’ mind to be ready and prepared for upcoming lessons. Students had better concentration on lessons, which resulted in better learning. Many times students sign up for the Medication for Business Leaders course after experiencing and seeing the benefits of these daily meditation practices.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes?

Our main challenge is we are not sure whether our students regularly and seriously do meditation practice. If they do not, the objective of doing meditation cannot be achieved. Students will not attain Samadhi which causes them to be wise, mindful, responsible and kind-hearted.

At a reflective session at the end of the course, students gave positive feedback about meditation. They noted that their behaviours had changed in a positive way, that they were more focused, calmer and more mindful. Some students agreed to continue doing meditation practice. Many of our students recommended the course to other students which has led to an increase in numbers of students registering for the course.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

We believe that all business schools should teach their students how to practice meditation to help enhance students’ learning effectiveness and prepare them to become effective business leaders who have high responsibility, reasonability, and kindness and can handle difficult situations with their peace of mind.

 

2016 Good Practices in Responsible Management Education (Part 1)

It is once again it’s time for PRiMEtime’s year-end review. 2016 was another exciting year with a lot of innovative new initiatives and approaches at business schools around the world embedding responsible leadership and sustainability into their programmes. PRiMEtime provides an extensive and growing database of examples from schools around the world on how to embed sustainability, ethics and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into management education as well as tips on how to move forward.

This year, 60 new articles were posted featuring over 143 examples from more than 65 schools in 38 countries. In this 2-part year-end post we review the examples featured this year, organized roughly around the SDGs, and what we have to look forward to next year. (Click on the links to read the full article).

SDG1SDG2SDG3The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Business School and the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, call the Wellness Clinic. It provides preventive care programmes designed, promoted, administered and implemented by students. IEDC-Bled School of Management partnered with members of the UN Global Compact Local Slovenia to organize workshops around the theme of “Health promotion in the workplace as part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainable business development’.

For one week in March, EADA Business School’s campus transforms into a model refugee course where students taking the Managing Humanitarian Emergencies elective learn about the main components required to respond to humanitarian emergencies and extreme situations in general.

 

SDG4

La Trobe Business School (Australia), ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) founded CR3+ Network, a new program that provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the four schools to work together to build capacity in responsible management education. In the USA, Western Michigan University (USA) partnered with Christ University in Bagalore in India to create an experiential experience to engage students in sustainability discussions in India. Reutlingen University in Germany shared their experiences with the Ethikum Certificate awarded to students who complete a number of special experiences and courses during their time at university. Hult International Business School shared their experiences integrating the SDGs into the core Business and Global Society course. Hult International Business School and Ashridge Business School also shared their experiences integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into their PRME Sharing Information on Progress Report. The University of St. Gallen and oikos work together to offer the PhD Fellowship Programme, a unique opportunity to support international PhD students writing their thesis on sustainability in economics or management.

PRiMEtime also explored a range of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic. A series of posts provided an overview of the MOOCs available in the Spring (Part 1 and Part 2) and summer (Part 1 and Part 2).

 

SDG5

The American University of Beirut’s University for Senior Programme aims to redefine the role of older people in society by providing them opportunities to remain intellectually challenged and socially connected through a range of lectures, study groups, educational travel programmes, campus life and intergenerational activities. The American University of Beirut also paired up with Citi to provide crucial support and mentoring for female entrepreneurs in Lebanon and the MENA region with the goal of increasing their numbers significantly. Altis Postgraduate School of Business and Society in Italy introduced us to E4Impact, a special programme aimed at training a new class of African leaders who will be able to create jobs in the sustainability sector in their country.

 

SDG6SDG7

Ryerson University (Canada) designed a unique interdisciplinary programme that brings together faculty from all of the university’s six department called the Environmental Applied Science and Management (EnSciMan) with a focus on environmental management. In Italy, the University of Bologna’s Launch Pad aims to leverage the know-how of the hundreds of PhDs and post-docs studying at the university to facilitate its transformation into valuable products and services, many focused on social and environmental topics. PRiMEtime also looked at a range of global student networks engaged in sustainability that are active within and across business schools.

 

SDG8

Antwerp Management School’s ID@Work research programme aims to support organisations in attracting, developing and retaining employees with an intellectual disability. The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience at the University of Wollongong is an educational programme that supports Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education. Also in Australia, Deakin University has been exploring how to encourage and train more Indigenous Australians to become accountants (currently of the more than 180,000 Australian professional accounting body members, only 30 identify as Indigenous). The Northwest Aboriginal Canadians Entrepreneurs Programme at the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business is a partnership between several organisations including regional and provision government to offer first class entrepreneurial learning to the Indigenous people of Northwest British Columbia with the aim to enhance the self sufficiency and full economic participation of Indigenous people

Using Pitch Competitions to Develop Sustainability Skills and Businesses

Faso-Soap-GSVCMany business students enter their degree programs hoping that, one day, they will become entrepreneurs, starting and growing their own businesses. In addition to a range of courses and electives focused on entrepreneurship, there has also been a significant increase in the number of local and global pitch competitions. At a pitch competition, teams of students can pitch their business ideas with the opportunity to win significant cash prizes and investments to kick-start their businesses. Win or lose, the competitions allow for important mentorship, advisory support, opportunities to network with important people in the industry, including investors and instant validation for a business idea.

There are several business schools around the world offering such opportunities, including, but not limited to, the following:

The Global Social Venture Competition, based at the University of California, Berkeley, provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, PR, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real-world impact. Teams are evaluated over three rounds: at their school, at the regional semi-finals and at the global finals. At each stage, they get support and feedback from local experts and social entrepreneurs. Last year, GSVC received more than 500 entries from 40 countries. This year, the finals will take place in Thailand at Thammasat Business School. This will be the first time the finals are held outside the US.

Morgan Stanley and Kellogg School of Management, along with international partners INSEAD and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, created the Sustainable Investing Challenge. This pitch competition for graduate students focuses on developing institutional-quality investment vehicles that seek positive environmental or social impact and competitive financial returns. The winners of last year’s challenge formed their own start-up in the world of conservation finance based on their winning entry involving the creation of Forest Resilience Bonds in the US. This year, the deadline for applying is February 24th, 2016 and ten finalist teams will gather in Hong Kong in April 2016 to pitch their financial investment proposals for specific social or environmental projects. Last year, 127 teams entered, representing 78 schools from 20 countries.

The Intel Global Challenge at University of California, Berkeley, is the world’s largest and most prestigious technology entrepreneurship competition, attracting more than 20,000 young innovators and entrepreneurs from 60 countries. Finalists present their work to experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at regional and final competitions as they vie for $100,000 in prizes. The winners are considered those that have the most potential to make a positive impact on society.

The Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award was launched by Dow in 2009 to promote forward-thinking in social and environmental responsibility. The challenge engages students from 18 universities around the world to come up with solutions that are interdisciplinary in nature, represent innovative thinking, and have the potential for solving world challenges in alignment with the spirit of Dow’s Sustainability Goals. The winning university receives $10,000 USD in prizes.

The Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition at Singapore Management University is aimed at undergraduate students from around the world who, if chosen, stand to win up to $60,000 USD in cash, prizes and business development opportunities. Teams submit a business plan that goes through preliminary and semi-final rounds before making it to the final round in Singapore. There is also a cash award granted to the “Most Promising Young Entrepreneur.” Last year’s competition saw 121 business plans from 336 students representing 28 countries. Over time, there has been an increase in the number of plans that relate to sustainability.

London Business School and the University College of London launched the Cleantech Challenge. Teams of students from around the world develop their clean technology business ideas through a three-stage competition that runs from November through April. They receive guidance, feedback and mentorship from industry professionals throughout the Challenge. Ten finalist teams compete in a live “Boot Camp” final in London for a chance to win GBP 10,000 in cash.

The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for budding young social entrepreneurs emerging from universities worldwide. The prize, awarded annually, aims to inspire the creation and launch of the most compelling social business ideas. Winners receive USD 1 million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community. Last year’s winner was National Chengchi University from Taiwan. The 2016 challenge looks at crowded urban spaces, and poses the following question: can we build sustainable, scalable and fast growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people residing in crowded urban spaces by better connecting people, goods, services and capital?

Does your school have a pitch competition? Share the details in the comments below.

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