Needed: business school reform

As a business graduate, I’m a strong advocate for business school reform.

I left Carleton University feeling as though I didn’t have a balanced enough education for social/environmental issues (and the International Business had much more than the regular B.Comm!!!) This was one of the main reasons for coming to Finland. (And one of the main reasons I have been upset with Carleton’s management).

Business schools have an important role in society. Most of the people who run (ran) Wall Street are MBA graduates or at least come from this discipline. New York Times had a great article “Is it Time to Retrain B-schools?

“It is so obvious that something big has failed,” said Ángel Cabrera, dean of the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. “We can look the other way, but come on. The C.E.O.’s of those companies, those are people we used to brag about. We cannot say, ‘Well, it wasn’t our fault’ when there is such a systemic, widespread failure of leadership.”

There are also calls to make management a profession like law or medicine, with a code of conduct, a certification examination and continuing education.(see my post on where’s the iron ring for business graduates?)

Of course there’s a link with what’s being taught in the classroom and what’s going on (and what went on) in the markets.

This is why I get pretty passionate about changing things around here.

WHAT I WANT TO SEE: interdisciplinary business education

A. bring non-business students into the mix to get different perspectives on business issues. (Business students usually become managers and likely, their team will be pretty diverse with engineers, technicians, arts people etc. By getting people to work together in the classroom, they’ll have a hand at dealing with diverse perspectives –  which usually lead to better results – and limits the ‘profit, profit, profit’ mentality.)

B. teach business students to fully understand environmental & social problems. Without this understanding, we can’t expect them to incorporate them into their business strategies or create new problems to solve these issues.  Global and local problems need to be solved and school is a place to learn them.

WHAT I’M CURRENTLY DOING : Setting up a Net Impact Chapter & working with Global Venture Lab

This year, I’ve worked with people at JYU to set up a Central Finland Net Impact Chapter.

Net Impact is a “is a global network of leaders who are changing the world through business.” They have 254 chapters in 25 countries… that’s over 10 000 MBA students and professionals working toward this goal.

We’re still just getting started but there’s a lot of want and will to make this happen.  Things that we want to focus on right now:

1. getting an Environmental Manager on campus (ridiculous that we don’t have one – there are savings to be achieved!)

2. networking with businesses, other schools, faculty in the region to promote sustainable business

3. events & perhaps a little more…

We’ll see how it goes (starting up a club is always hard when people are really busy – and it’s good learning experience for me too in remembering those high school leadership conferences – leadership in practice is  pretty tricky and I’m learning what I need to work on for my own skills!) but hopefully we’ll get this thing lifted and see some real results.

Working for GVL – we work with students outside of the business schools (arts & science based) and teach them basic business skills and get them involved with companies to learn the complex tricks of the trade.

Ok, but now.. back to Net Impact & Global Venture Lab work:)


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