What does the world really want from business schools in the 21st century? What should we do about it?
The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) recently hosted a rather different kind of workshop, attended by four imaginary characters — each with a distinctive personality and background.
The concerns and goals of these characters were explored via four of the role-playing panellists — as well as by other participants who wanted to make a contribution, either by temporarily adopting these roles themselves, or by expressing alternate views via the fifth chair, which was initially left unoccupied.
Each of the four character roles (i.e. panellists and participants) discussed what business schools should be doing within the context of their own community engagement, family roles, professional and personal engagement and personal convictions.
Katrin Muff (Dean, Business School Lausanne) provides her impressions below:
The session was led and hosted by a heart-shaped stone which was passed from person to person, allowing small moments to pause and foster a dialogue rather than a series of monologues. Participants to the session contributed to the discussion by assuming the roles of our four stakeholders — before introducing a fifth one into the process.
Much of the discussion focused on the role of business, the need of a different society and business schools to engage in the public debate about a new economic system. All in all, all participants gained invaluable perspectives that provide a colourful illustration of the 50+20 vision — while supplying many laughs and delightful comments in the process.
Some of the highlights:
– A parent claimed to have lost his daughter, mentioning how she was ‘just not the same any more’ after completing her MBA, due to an erosion of values.
– A Texan entrepreneur who wanted relevant education for medium-sized businesses.
– A young African mother who need help finding a business school she could afford — while raising children on the side.
– A Chinese student looking for a job that earned enough money, a wife — and true love.
Looking at the future of business schools by role-playing a vairety of stakeholders highlighted new and important perspectives of what the world expects of business schools. A number of participants mentioned that the workshop session was their first exposure to such an interactive, inclusive collaboratory event — and they liked it!
An AACSB representative (who was unaccustomed to such a session format) mentioned how effectively the format conveyed the very core of the vision 50+20: the collaboratory.
Mark Drewell — Chief Executive, The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative
Katrin Muff — Dean, Business School Lausanne
Hamid Bouchiki — Professor of Management, ESSEC
Thomas Dyllick — Director, Institute for Economy and the Environment, University of St. Gallen
Marielle Heijltjes — Associate Dean Strategic Development and Internat., Director Postgraduate Education, Maastricht University School of Business and Economics
Stephen Murdoch — Associate Dean International, IESEG
Thank you to all participants and panellists for arranging the workshop. May there be many more.