Rethinking Business Education: Fit for the Future

Rethinking Business Education cover head

 

We are delighted to publish Rethinking Business Education: Fit for the Future.

To celebrate our 25th Anniversary, the book is a forward-thinking collection of articles from business leaders, policy-makers and business academics. Each author takes a unique view on how business schools can remain relevant and adapt in an unpredictable business and economic climate disrupted by nationalism, social inequality and rapid technological innovation.

The book includes personal contributions from Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, and Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI.

What do leaders need in a world of disruption?

Sir Martin Sorrell’s article looks at what business schools can do to prepare leaders in world of disruption. He writes: “As virtually every business on the planet tries to exploit or deal with digital transformation, case studies need to present hyper-relevant, real-time scenarios, rather than lessons in how to tackle the business problems of the past.”

Carolyn Fairbairn believes business schools are “at the crucial interface between universities and business” and ideally placed to address global challenges. But to equip business students with the necessary skills requires thinking ahead. Fairbairn says “that means for business schools to properly prepare their students for the modern workplace they need to train graduates not for roles that exist currently, but for those that will exist in five, ten or fifteen years.”

Download Rethinking Business Education: Fit for the Future here.

Re-evaluating the purpose of business schools

Eminent voices from higher education and business schools have also given their perspectives on how the future of business education can be shaped.

Alec Cameron, vice-chancellor of Aston University, suggests academics should seek to produce more research for business leaders rather than for other academics. “A refocus of research on business practice could prove to be the saviour of both business schools and their parent universities.”

Professor Howard Thomas proposes re-evaluating the purpose of the business school. His brilliant article argues that “to produce responsible, authentic leaders, business schools need to develop more holistic management education models.”

In an article on the role business schools play in developing workplace diversity, Professor Heather McGregor points out “business schools have a role to play as brokers across the many divides that separate people today”, and offers an approach to take.

Professor Simon Collinson, chair of the Chartered ABS, asks if business schools are fit for the future? He says “the future of business schools is tied up with their future legitimacy.” The solution, he argues is for "business schools to improve their efforts…to provide more ‘future-proof’ education and relevant research. This will entail more explicitly and forcefully demonstrating their value and legitimacy in a challenging world.”

We are grateful to Della Bradshaw for editing the publication and to all the authors for their time and inspiration. The authors are: Professor Alec Cameron, Professor Simon Collinson, Professor Fiona Devine, Carolyn Fairbairn, Professor Pru Marriott, Professor Heather McGregor, Stuart Miller, Sir Martin Sorrell, Cameron Stevens, Professor Howard Thomas, and Lord David Willetts.

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