Insurers Role in Sustainable Growth – University of Technology Sydney Business School

Brink-May-insuranceA new resource, launched at the Global Compact LEAD Symposium in Madrid on November 19th, provides an overview of mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and business schools with the aim to further sustainability strategies. To support this, a number of posts focused on these types of partnerships will be featured in more depth on Primetime over the upcoming months.

One partnership example comes to us from the University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia. A group of Executive MBA students are engaged in a global project bringing together the UN and business partners to explore specific business practices related to sustainability in the insurance industry. I spoke with James Hutchin, Associate Dean Business Practice, and the project leader about this innovative initiative and its potential global benefits.

Provide a brief overview of the project

Executive MBA candidates at University of Technology Sydney Business School in Australia have been undertaking a study which aims to ensure that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) risks such as climate change, human rights abuses and corruption are considered in the placement of surety bonds (credit guarantees) for big infrastructure projects. The team is working in collaboration with several of the world’s leading insurers, and the International Finance Corporation, an arm of The World Bank.

How did the project come about?

Carefully led MBA project teams have been a big part of The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative insurance industry work since 2008, when the foundational research for the Principles for Sustainable Insurance was first conducted. Since that time, several further projects have been undertaken, many of them with the involvement of joint MBA teams working from the University Technology Sydney and The Fox School of Business, Temple University (Philadelphia).

The actual incorporation of environmental, social and governance risks in the underwriting of surety bonds for infrastructure projects is at present highly variable from insurance company to company, and varies by region of the world.   Our study will hopefully do much to establish a good picture of the current “state of play”, as well as identify what might be some useful guidelines that could be more universally adopted.

What is the Insurers Role in Sustainable Growth? Why is this an important project?

Simply put, no other industry has more alignment of interest with good sustainable outcomes than the insurance industry. When sustainability outcomes go badly, for example hurricane frequency and severity increases because of climate change, then more losses occur which in turn the industry pays. This project is critically important in that it takes the guiding principles of the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), and then seeks to apply them to a specific line of business (“product”) in a way that is useful and quite pragmatically driven.

How has the project been received by the students? What have been some of the successes?

The project is not yet fully completed and a working group of PSI executives and participating professors is continuing to progress the research. The student work to date has been outstanding, and the learning accomplished really quite remarkable. Many business schools on graduation say to students, “… go forth and change the world…” The project demonstrates our ability to deliver a project, guidance, and process that enables them to do that right now.

What have been some of the results so far?

Preliminary research by the team suggests big differences in how ESG factors are considered in types of projects in different countries. The results will feed into a project involving the United Nations, the World Bank and the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re looking at how the insurance industry can strengthen its contribution to sustainable development. They will also inform the development of ESG guiding principles for surety bond underwriting as surety providers are in a position to influence how ESG risks are addressed in big projects.

What advice do you have for others thinking of doing a similar project (perhaps in a different industry?)

Five things:

  • You need deep and specific industry expertise embedded in your project leader.
  • There needs to be a practical focus on actual outcomes – this is applied research, not a search for a new theory of business.
  • You need a time-tested and solid process. Getting to “professional grade” consulting output is difficult in the best of circumstances; in a university setting, working with student teams, it requires great attention to detail, timelines, and quality management.
  • Great students are a must, they will never work harder!
  • The “client” must have an executive sponsor deeply committed to the project and in a position to drive outcomes.

What’s next?

We have been so privileged to work with United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initative (UNEP FI), Munich Re, The IFC and others on this project, and have learned much about how to make the generic goals of the PSI actionable at the line of business level. What we most hope for as next is the opportunity to engage more MBA teams in the process, and complete similar projects in other lines of business, working with multiple universities around the world.

Technology in the Classroom – How Schools are Using it to Teach Sustainability

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University of Wollongong IDLE

Technology can be a major distraction for students in the classroom. In fact Penn State and California State University have even developed an app called Pocket Points that rewards students for ignoring their iPhone during class, with discounts and deals from local businesses. Of course technology can also be an important tool to strengthen the curriculum, bring interdisciplinary groups of students together, and engage with the wider community. In this post we look at how Universities are using technology as part of their approach to embed sustainability and responsible management into the curriculum.
Using technology to increase discussions and sharing

Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School in Russia has an agreement with a Social Innovation Lab called Cloudwatcher, a non-profit Moscow based organisation dealing with the new technologies that promote social projects and social entrepreneurship in Russia. Students help find sponsors and volunteer support for different projects through an internet platform created for those who are seeking for support or offer it. Portsmouth Business School in the UK has put in place a number of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) rooms. The layout of these rooms give access to multiple technologies that allow students to share multiple viewpoints and angles giving them a greater ‘systems’ perspective for what they are doing and learning. The eZone at University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa was developed for students and academics to have a platform to write informative and practical articles that develop entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial thinking, and build collaboration between students, communities, and academics.
University of Curtin in Australia is committed to engaging one million active learners by 2017. One of their approaches is an innovative “Balance of the Planet” challenge, a collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok, which works to engage self-forming, collaborative, international, problem-solving teams across the Asia-Pacific region, to create solutions to addressing sustainable development goals through a digital media learning laboratory. The challenge will be open to anyone aged 18 and above. The criteria for judging solutions ideas will be open, transparent and available to all. Voting and comments on solution ideas will be open and transparent.

Using technology as a basis for research in the community
The Centre for Digital Business at the University of Salsberg in the UK, has an internationally-recognised profile of research in digital technologies. The Centre together with Tameside Council and the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit (SHUSU), developed an innovative engagement strategy and digital toolkit to support home owners to return their empty properties to use as much-needed affordable housing. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was awarded an outstanding rating—the highest possible—by an independent panel of assessors from Innovate UK.

Using technology to strengthen learning opportunities
Copenhagen Business School (CBS), in Denmark, uses technology as an integral part of bringing sustainability into the curriculum. In their fourth semester, students work to facilitate a sustainable and energy efficient lifestyle with the use of informa¬tion technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City online module enables students to apply new ideas in using tech¬nology to better bridge the gap between humans and their energy consumption. This includes exploration of how citizens, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to market. CBS also offers a MOOC on Social Entrepreneurship. In excess of 26,000 people from more than 180 countries signed up for this 12-week online course on how to create societal impact through social entrpreneurship. Students were introduced to examples and guided through the process of identifying an opportunity to address social problems, in addition to how to outline their ideas in a business plan. At the end of the course business plans were submitted by 270 participants and five of those plans made it to the finals.
University of Wollongong’s (Australia) interactive and dynamic learning environment (IDLE) computer simulation, designed and developed by the Faculty of Business in 2014, received first place in local iAwards for innovation technology. IDLE is a total enterprise simulation that incorporates social responsibility and sustainability decisions. The Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden is collaborating with the Financial Times, Technische Universität München in Germany, Foreign Trade University in Vietnam, African School of Economics in Benin, and the Darden School of Business in the USA to use technology to discuss important sustainability topics on an international level. The collaboration involves using current news articles published in the Financial Times, and discussing them in real-time with students from the different schools on the SSE MBA Island in the virtual life platform Second Life.

Using technology to help not for profits and small businesses
Justine Rapp, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of San Diego School of Business Administration, won the 2014 Innovation in Experiential Education Award for two experiential learning projects she developed for her Digital Marketing and Social Media course. The first project, called “Google Pay-Per Click Campaigns,” involves students working with two non-profit organisations, USD Electronic Recycling Centre and Skinny Gene Project. Students need to develop an advertising campaign for these groups that are run on Google. The project is split into two parts. For part one, student groups create three different advertisements which run concurrently on Google. After 6 weeks students reconvene and look at the data and readjust the advertisements accordingly. Newly revised ads are then run on Google for another 6 weeks. On the last day of class, everyone comes together to look at the data, and compare successful and unsuccessful measures.
The second project she does in class is a website development project for small businesses in the San Diego area. Each client gets three websites, developed by the students, to choose from at the conclusion of the semester. The project helps support a number of small business owners locally each year who often struggle to build their first professional website and hire a marketing team, whether due to finances, time or logistics, and also helps to support students in launching their marketing careers with some hands-on experience.
Jonkoping International Business School in Sweden established a collaboration to engage students in the practice of crowd-funding, by means of a competition on ecological sustainability. Makers and Bankers is the first financial social platform for crowd-funding with no commission and a 0% interest rate based in Jonkoping. The company was founded by five graduates of the School. Students in the undergraduate course “New Venture Development” participate in the competition, and design social and sustainable venture projects.

Lessons in Preparing your First SIP Report from Reykjavik University

SIPReykjavik University in Iceland was awarded, at a special ceremony at the 2015 PRME Global Forum in June, a recognition for their Sharing Information on Progress report (SIP). In their first SIP report they created an engaging and reader friendly communication tool that brought together the work that they are doing at the Business School, while actively promoting the voices of different stakeholders. I spoke with Hrefna Sigriour Briem, Director of the B.SC Programme at the School of Business, about their experiences and lessons learnt preparing their first SIP report.

What approach did you take when preparing your first report and how did you go about putting the report together?

The report was an excellent opportunity to take a close look at what is already in place. We started by discussing with faculty what initiatives they were already taking in their teaching and research—we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was more going on than we had anticipated. The reporting process was a great opportunity to shed light on various activities that were already going on and illustrate them in a coherent manner. In addition we discussed the issue of responsible leadership and sustainability at various faculty meetings and a task force brainstormed for new ideas and initiatives, particularly how to get students more involved and how collaboration could be encouraged.

Is there a part of your report or the process that you are particularly proud of? What parts were, or still are challenging?

It was delightful to experience that faculty members and students were quite interested and enthusiastic. We are particularly proud of the fact that the report illustrates the work of a large majority of our people and the ways that responsible management education (RME) is exercised in our various programmes. Getting started was the most difficult part. What to report on and how to report was a challenge, and we spent considerable time discussing these issues.

How have you been using/communicating the report?

We have mostly used the report for internal purposes—communication to students has been our number one priority. We did however distribute the report to the business community, and the dean and programme directors have made a point of discussing the importance of RME both internally as well is in external communications such as interviews and commentaries. We do see further opportunities in participating in a dialogue with industry, particularly through FESTA, a local business network for promoting sustainability. Our report was sent to the 300 biggest organisations in Iceland and was also covered by various local media.

What advice do you have for other schools putting together their first report?

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 skeptics, the advocates are the ones that will make the change happen. It is also good to keep in mind that the report should be useful for the institution, we used the report and the process as means to take stock and set goals, that way you can refer back to it as you move along.

What plans do you have for your second report?

We will proceed with the discussion at faculty meetings and continue our task force meetings. By the time we deliver our second report we would like to have reached some of our goals set forward in the first report, particularly with regards to leading by example as an institution, increased student involvement, and measuring progress by surveying faculty and students on their knowledge and attitude towards responsible management and sustainability. We won’t change the format much, but will embark upon attaining more depth. There will be more emphasis on research concerning responsible management education. We will also create more discussion among faculty members, students, business and society.

What are some initiatives mentioned in the report that you are particularly proud of that you are working on at RU?

After we signed up to the PRME principles we came up with the idea of rewarding students for responsible and sustainable business ideas in our Entrepreneurship and
Starting New Ventures course. Reporting on this student involvement was particularly enjoyable. Taking count of students views and attitudes towards sustainability through a research initiative of two faculty members is a very important part of monitoring this constant improvement process, and we will continue this effort and report on it in our next SIP. Last but not least, we thought it was very important to demonstrate, in our SIP, the variety of research projects that our faculty are conducting related to responsible management and sustainability.

To read Reykjavik University Business School’s SIP report click here. A Basic Guide to Sharing Information on Progress was also launched at the Global Forum and is available here. For more posts on SIPs click here.

2015 is the International Year of Light – Sustainable Energy (Part 1)

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Every year the UN chooses one or two themes that are celebrated throughout the year by governments, local organisations, businesses and educational institutions. This year was proclaimed the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, and focuses on the topic of light science and its applications with the aim of recognising the importance of light-based technologies, promoting sustainable development and providing solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Additionally, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is Goal 7 of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. In celebration of the International Year of Light, the following week will focus on sustainable energy and feature a range of initiatives and programmes implemented on the topic at universities internationally.

Many academic institutions provide support for entrepreneurs in the field of sustainable energy. The Sustainable Renewable Energy Business Incubator Initiative at Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, in Trinidad and Tobago, aims to grow and nurture companies operating within the emerging sustainable energy sector, through the provision of business support, facilitation of access to markets, and access to finance as well as technology transfer and joint ventures. Some of the projects to be included in this initiative include a project involving photo voltaic panels for solar generated electricity, recycling and proper tyre disposal used for generation of supplemental fuel substitute and a project involving power generation using tidal power.

There is an increase in courses and electives with a focus on energy. For example, fourth semester BSc students in Business Administration and Information Technology at Copenhagen Business School, in Denmark, use a case called Smart City. In this case, which covers three courses, students work to facilitate sustainable and energy efficient lifestyles through the use of information technology, including big data and the Internet of Things. The Smart City case enables students to apply new ideas using technology to better curb high energy consumption. This includes exploration of how cities, governments and corporations can take ideas from research to the market.

The University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, in Switzerland, is part of a research consortium of four different universities investigating the future of Swiss hydropower. The research will be based on local case studies with industry partners and local stakeholders. Students at the school have also been engaged in sustainable energy projects. A group of students recently produced a short video clip called “2048” that envisions the future of energy production as a private activity. The video won the 2014 Sustainability Award of the Swiss Foundation Consumer forum. The University also has a Masters in advanced studies in energy economics. The school has also recently installed energy efficient lighting schemes and is installing a new control system for energy consumption that provides real time data.

At Boston University, in the USA, Clean Energy and Environmental Sustainability Initiative (CEESI) was established to engage university resources to help prepare for a world where increasing demand for energy resources must be balanced with environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Boston University’s approach is interdisciplinary, with CEESI involving faculty and staff from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and School of Management to coordinate a university-wide vision for research and academic programmes relating to this challenge. CEESI is responsible for new education and research programmes in energy-related areas, the Presidential Lecture Series and other events, coordination with campus-wide activities, general operating policy, communications, and related matters affecting Boston University’s sustainable energy objectives.

At the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, the Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies is an industry-sponsored chair focused on developing a competence centre for research and teaching in the fields of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The position focuses on innovative business models and committed entrepreneurship. The chair investigates how the shift towards renewable energies can be accelerated through the interaction between private investments, consumer behaviour and effective energy policies.

Sustainable Business Examples from Around the World – Kenya, Australia and Belgium

KCICAs businesses become more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they repeatedly hear the same examples from the same international companies.

In an attempt to share some new examples of good practise, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Below are some examples from Kenya, Australia and Belgium.

Izael Da Silva, Director of Centre of Excellence in Renewable Energy, Strathmore University, Kenya

The Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) is an incubator supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) dealing with climate change adaptation and mitigation. The SMEs have to be in the fields of Renewable Energy, Water Management and Agribusiness in order to qualify. The Centre is supported by the World Bank, UKaid and the Danish government. The website provides interesting profiles of the 90 plus companies it has been working with who are all doing fantastic work in this field here in Kenya.

The Green Steps Team, Monash University, Australia

Interface Flor, a global carpet company, took the bold move to make sure their carpet was made from recycled material, is completely recyclable and interchangeable, and creates new markets in third world countries by purchasing old fishing nets to use in their carpets.

Monash Oakleigh Legal Service is a partnership between Monash Law School and Victoria Legal Aid. Through the service, members of the community obtain free legal advice on a variety of legal matters. Monash business students have the opportunity to undertake Industry Based Learning at Monash-Oakleigh Legal Service and work in multidisciplinary teams under the supervision of a qualified financial practitioner. 

Talia Stough, Sustainability Coordinator, KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business, Belgium

Colruyt Group is a Belgian company with 25,000 employees, active in all segments of the retail chain, Colruyt Group aims to conduct its business in a sustainable manner. The company values education for corporate social responsibility, and sponsors a KU Leuven Faculty of Economics and Business one-week student study trip to London to learn about CSR, as well as a prize for master theses on the topic of CSR.

Ecover is an environmentally friendly cleaning product company founded in Belgium. Some interesting initiatives of the company include: cradle-to-cradle certification, the ocean bottle (made from 10% recycled Ocean Plastic), ISO 14001 certification, a green factory.

Intensive training to prepare students to turn sustainability talk into action – Monash University

MURCIA-CSD-Clayton-140516-029Business schools are providing a range of ways for students to get engaged in sustainability and become equipped with the skills to take a holistic approach to doing business. Whether that means looking at efficiency, innovation, wellbeing or productivity, these are all things that can fall under the banner of ‘sustainability.’ Monash University in Melbourne, Australia has taken a focused approach with its programme called “Green Steps”. This innovative programme, situated within the Monash Sustainability Institute, focuses on providing a select group of students with the tools to understand sustainability and to put it into practice across the campus and with outside organisations. I recently spoke with Monash University about this exciting programme.

What is Green Steps?

Situated within the Monash Sustainability Institute, Green Steps is an award winning not-for-profit environmental consulting and training provider to the private and public sector. It aims to educate students on how to become change agents in their careers and beyond. The Green Steps @ Uni extra-curricular programme provides group-based training for students across six days, focused on developing the practical skills needed to plan and deliver effective sustainable workplace solutions. Students then have the opportunity to put their skills to the test on a live sustainability consultation project. Green Steps also offers a range of services for other organisations including workshops on sustainability and the workplace and tailored programmes, in Melbourne and Sydney.

How did it come about?

Green Steps @ Uni was created in 2000 by a group of students who wanted to equip their peers with practical skills to contribute to a more sustainable future. Every year 15 students are selected to take part in the programme from a diverse range of disciplines including law, business, engineering and health. The programme is also open to students enrolled at a range of partner universities including Macquarie University, in Sydney, Adelaide University, and the Monash University campus in Malaysia. The programme consists of six days of sustainability training, an on-campus sustainability project and/or a 15-day internship with a local business, not for profit, or government organisation. At the end of the programme students receive a Green Steps @ Uni certificate and become part of a network of over 800 other Alumni. Many Green Steps participants have achieved senior roles in sustainability, some have started businesses in the sustainability sector and many were offered ongoing roles following their internships.

What are some of the projects that Green Steps is involved in?

The student interns are involved in many diverse projects, from creating and running communication campaigns that get staff and communities to change their behaviour to be more sustainable, through to analysis of carbon footprint across national organisations that have identified large economic savings while reducing emissions. Recently four interns were place at Monash Health to look at strategies for waste reduction, and achieved a drop in clinical waste going to landfill of eight per cent, and an increase of recycling by 33 per cent. Another intern worked at Dulux on a project evaluating commercial processes and assessing how to divert sludge waste from their paint production away from the landfill.

What have been some of the challenges? Successes? 

Thirty-three students from the Monash Business School took part in the programme in 2013–2014, and 259 Monash students have been trained since 2000. Monash has worked with 16 universities globally, delivered Green Steps in three countries, educated 900 people and had live projects in more than 400 organisations. The Green Steps programme has won a number of prestigious awards including the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award, the United Nations Association Education Award and the Banksia Environmental Award.

Often there is disconnect in understanding the value for business of sustainable practice, beyond simply meaning ‘green.’ Our challenge is to help make that connection with organisations by having graduates work with and in these organisations as the drivers of change. What we do is great, but Green Steps type programmes should be niche so we look forward to supporting more universities to make this mainstream for all graduates. Monash is now helping universities move to a model where they can license the Green Steps programme and deliver this to their students with support and updated content from the Monash team in Melbourne.

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

Do it—and contact the Monash Green Steps who can help you! Schools interested in joining the programme are invited to contact Helena Fern, Green Steps Acting Programme Manager: helena.fern@greensteps.edu.au.

 

Examining the Impact of Diversity in Business – McCoy College of Business Administration

Distinguished Lecture featuring Brian EastA growing number of schools are choosing yearly themes that expose students to issues important to the community and their careers. At the Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in the US, their Common Experience programme chooses a theme that is explored thoroughly throughout the University, including in the McCoy College of Business Administration. Ms. Brittany Chrisman, Academic Advisor in McCoy College of Business and Coordinator of Business Leadership Week, explained a bit more about this year’s theme and how the business school has embraced it.

What is the Texas State Common Experience and how did it come about?

The Common Experience at Texas State University is an annual, yearlong initiative designed to cultivate a common intellectual conversation across the campus, to enhance student participation in the intellectual life of the campus, and to foster a sense of community across our entire campus and beyond.

The Common Experience programme brings students together to read and engage with a particular theme (changing yearly), and to explore this theme in University Seminar classes, write responses and reactions to the texts in writing courses, participate in related symposia with scholarly panels, hear renowned and respected speakers address the topic, see films related to the Common Experience theme, explore the experience through the fine arts, engage in informal discussions in residence halls and coffee shops, and extend the exploration via avenues of their own choosing.

For entering students, the Common Experience starts even before they begin classes at Texas State. The Common Reading book is distributed during New Student Orientation, and students are encouraged to start reading it and to become involved by way of the websites for Common Experience and the Common Reading Program. The Common Experience also casts a broader net, involving faculty, the San Marcos community that houses the university, and others interested in participating in a broad intellectual consideration of a different world-scope topic each year. The topics themselves emerge from the competitive ideas of our own faculty, staff, and students, which provides a dimension of ownership and increased involvement.

How has the university as a whole mobilised around this theme?

The 2014-2015 Common Experience theme is “Exploring Democracy’s Promise: From Segregation to Integration.” It is inspired by the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Texas State University, known in 1963 as Southwest Texas State College (SWT). In January of 1963 Judge Ben H. Rice ruled that SWT could not deny admission to an African-American student based solely on race. After the ruling, in the fall of 1963, 18-year-old Dana Jean Smith, a graduate of Anderson High School in Austin, Texas, enrolled at SWT. The registrar personally assisted Smith in registering along with four other African American students: Georgia Hoodye, Gloria Odoms, Mabeleen Washington, and Helen Jackson. This year’s Common Experience event honored the five women as trailblazers and recognised their contributions to Texas State history. The event featured a conversation, tributes, entertainment, and a reception. Additional events include film screenings, art galleries exhibitions, guest lectures, a performance of Raisin’ Cane – A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey, the Leadership Institute Annual Conference, and Business Leadership Week, to name a few.

What is the theme this year and why that theme? Why is it important for business?

McCoy College of Business Administration related the Common Experience theme to business by selecting “Examining the Impact of Diversity in Business” as the Business Leadership Week (BLW) 2015 theme. Diversity is imperative to the success and growth of modern businesses. Students will have the opportunity to learn firsthand from business professionals how diversity impacts businesses in profound ways. The BLW is slated to feature guest speakers, a leadership panel, an interactive fair, keynote speaker, Bloomberg Businessweek Mini-Case Competition, and Etiquette dinner. The main events will feature speakers and topics directly related to the theme in an effort to continue the conversation started by the university through Common Experience.

What have been some of the successes of BLW? Challenges?

McCoy College of Business Administration students, faculty, and staff, along with the university and local community have enjoyed and embraced the event for the past six years. Each year the programme has grown, with attendance increasing from 393 in 2009 to 3,700 in 2014. The growth of the programme into an annual, anticipated event has been our greatest success. As with most programmes, our greatest challenge is securing adequate funding. We address this challenge by seeking and taking full advantage of grant and sponsorship opportunities.

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

I would advise other schools considering a similar programme to include students in the planning and implementation process. For the past several years of Business Leadership Week, we have made a concentrated effort to involve students in the entire process. We invite student organisations to sponsor events by hosting networking receptions, introducing guest speakers, and assisting with the interactive fair by partnering with vendors as they arrive on campus. Students gain more from the week by being able to get to know the business professionals one on-one through these opportunities. The students are also more invested in the programme when they help to plan and run the events.

What’s next for the programme?

The Business Leadership Week planning committee is busy preparing for BLW 2015. Our planning tasks include reaching out to potential guest speakers, seeking sponsorships, submitting grant proposals for funding, seeking businesses to participate in the interactive fair, and designing the leadership panel and Bloomberg Businessweek Mini-Case Competition in coordination with our theme. The planning process for Business Leadership Week is ongoing year-round in order to make the programme as effective as possible.

 

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