Business schools switch focus to people, purpose and planet l FT

Students and employers are pressing business schools to shift from teaching profit maximisation to environment and sustainability. The FT’s Andrew Jack looks at how training future managers is changing. Read more at

This is the new backdrop for business schools the fallout from covid climate change and the financial crisis means they can no longer simply focus on profit maximization students and employers alike are keen to embrace issues like sustainability purpose and diversity i was one of these business students who joined university joined my undergrad studies with the

Idea of having a fast career earning a lot of money and then i was sitting in this course and i started to realize that there’s something wrong right we had to look at fashion supply chains from the very beginning to the end and i could not stop pointing out this is not fair this is not not just and it was moving me internally and my professors couldn’t give

Me any answers traditional companies are coming under new pressures to attract younger recruits and respond to customers concerns a new generation of businesses focused on social impact also wants business schools to change that includes acumen which invests in startups focused on agriculture energy and human development the business schools are the feeder to

Our corporations and our companies who are so critical to the functioning of our economy we have to decide what we want that economy to be and if it isn’t more inclusive if it isn’t more just if it isn’t more environmentally sustainable we won’t have the world that we all know we need to have for our children that is the responsibility of the business schools to

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Start building leaders who are able to confront and take on those challenges academics are adjusting their teaching by using a more diverse range of case studies by geographies protagonists and themes including sustainability if you do an analysis of analysis of cases 20 years ago it might be around maximizing just the bottom line whereas now there’s much more of

A focus around creating shared value and sustainability and what that means overall so land is a is a contentious issue in south africa because quite a bit of community land was expropriated from community members during the apartheid government and our case is centered on a community land that was given back to the community many business schools are responding

To these calls for change with specialist centers new research and courses in the last two years in particular the last six months or ten months all of a sudden every discussion is about this i have not had a single conversation with an executive with a top academic with a dean of another school that we don’t end up discussing psg and what business schools have

To do and so on to me the biggest challenge that we’re facing today in business schools is not the desire to teach these things we can always write cases we can always find companies that are doing the right thing but the biggest issue is that we do not have a consistent and coherent framework that people can easily adapt and build this sustainability into their

Operation strategy and so on or you know try to see you know how can we think about value maximization when we relax the simple assumption in the shareholder value paradigm that financial capital is the only capital that matters students increasingly want to focus on social purpose like george bogos a graduate from chicago booth business school who’s launched

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Autism clinics in rural america a huge number of my classmates you know either knew that they wanted to be in the social space um uh you know coming out of the mba and so a lot of folks whether they launched their own organizations and have pursued them after graduation uh or you know joined a non-profit or joined a you know kind of a a larger corporation but

In an impact-focused role there was a lot of my classmates who were pursuing those but even ones who didn’t and pursued a more traditional path out of the mba like going into a consulting role there is a lot of interest and hey down the road in my career i i am going to you know gravitate towards this area so let me take advantage of these resources and coursework

That we’re off here identifying the new skills required and how best to teach them is not proving easy for academics but if business schools do not innovate they risk losing their appeal

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Business schools switch focus to people, purpose and planet l FT By Financial Times

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