Business schools must work harder to meet Government and Social Agenda says Chair of Association of Business Schools

The ABS has today launched its second policy report: Is It Possible to Balance Student Demands with Business Needs? As a result the Chair of the ABS, Professor Angus Laing, Dean of Business and Economics at Loughborough University has today called for business schools to do more to meet the ambitions of students and business and drive forward the development of the UK Plc and the economy at large.

The report sharply brings into focus current business and management education policy matters, in line with latest government thinking on business schools delivering robust and relevant education and employment opportunities for students, whilst bridging the gap with the business community.

The findings will be debated over the next three weeks at the Party Conferences including contributions from: Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon Charles Clarke, (former Secretary of State for Education) and Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP (Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark).

The publication has been produced following a series of roundtable discussions over the last 12 months including, for the first time, contributions from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia and Canada. These discussions were supported by the generous contributions of Bloomberg, the FT, Hobsons and UPP - as well as the support of the British Council.

In his introduction the publication Professor Laing says:

“Despite the unquestionable success of the UK business school community, it is evident that the full potential of business schools to maximise innovation and stimulate business growth has yet to be fully realised. This collection of comment pieces arising from a series of policy roundtables held across the UK, Canada and Australia provides an interesting insight into the scale and nature of the challenges faced by business schools in the UK and overseas in meeting the demands of students and the needs of business.                                                                

That there are examples of outstanding practice is indisputable. What is equally clear is that engagement of individual business schools with this agenda both at local and national level has been variable. Given the prevailing performance metrics and the competing demands on, or opportunities for, business schools such variability is not surprising. We need to position business schools as ‘translators of invention’, as agents of innovation and growth in the business and policy communities”.

This unfolding debate, in which the Association of Business Schools is playing a central role, has as a result of engaging with policy makers, both highlighted the potential contribution of business schools to economic recovery and generate new opportunities for business schools within the post-crisis economic and policy environment.

An example of this is the invitation of Lord Young (Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister), the Association is taking the lead in a national program to develop the skills of graduates and support the growth of SMEs. Business schools have a vital role in providing advice and support for growing businesses and helping them to succeed.

With over 130 members the ABS has a pivotal role to play in being the lynch pin between academia and business.

*Click here to download: Is It Possible to Balance Student Demands with Business Needs?*