A recent article in Strategy & Business – “The 21st Century MBA” - Mary Gentile argues that management education needs to be transformed to match a world that requires business leaders to address the concerns of all their stakeholders. She states that Business schools are now at a crossroads, and that critics from both outside and inside these institutions are seriously questioning the philosophy and methods of training leaders. She quotes the critics as saying:
Business schools are excessively focused on a narrow conception of enterprise driven exclusively by short-term maximization of shareholder profits. Research is driven more by the review requirements of academic journals than by the needs of managers; researchers eschew studying the real-world messiness of multiple objectives for the pristine fiction of strategies that optimize a single value or point of view. The upshot is a generation of MBAs who lack a sense of how to manage corporations in the complex, multicultural environment of today’s global businesses, and who don’t recognize the way that business fits into the broader fabric of society. Determined to speak both the language of the market and the language of academic disciplines, business schools have all too often overlooked the proven practices of day-to-day management in large organizations, especially those in critical functions like operations and human resources that are seen as lacking “fast-track” or quick-money potential. And business schools have also ignored those educational methods, no matter how well tested in other fields, that might allow for experimentation and afford students the time to build skills in a thoughtful manner — methods like peer coaching, testing pilot programs in a safe space, and, perhaps most important, stepping back from an action to name and question the broader purpose of the whole endeavor.
In response to this turmoil, Gentile writes, a number of business schools are forging a new path. There is a nascent sense of purpose invigorating the management education profession, and recent innovations demonstrate that schools, their faculty, and their students are starting to seize this opportunity.
Business Schools should sit up and take note… the tremors that are felt in the foundations of the business school fraternity are getting stronger, and the voice of the critics are getting louder. To read Gentile’s complete article in Strategy & Business, <click here>.