‘Strip business courses of YouTube knowledge’

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According to a UK peer, business schools should “remove” parts of their curriculum that can be learned on YouTube to make way for content that properly adapts to the rapidly changing nature of the world and its challenges.

Strategies for mitigating climate change, how to integrate migrants into the operational economy and a better understanding of mental health should be at the heart of what students learn, said Lord Hastings de Scarisbrick, professor of leadership at the Jon M. Huntsman School at Utah State University. of Business and Chairman of the Board of SOAS University of London.

He told the Chartered Association of Business Schools annual conference that when he was chancellor of Regent’s University London they conducted what he called an “honest YouTube assessment” to see what their students could learn for free. , then adapted the program accordingly.

“The world has changed so drastically; you can almost get an MBA on TikTok or at least discover some interesting avenues of thought there,” he added.

Lord Hastings said schools should therefore “remove historically unnecessary or cumbersome parts of the curriculum which can be acquired elsewhere”.

Appearing on the same panel, Juergen Maier, a former chief executive of Siemens UK and now a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, said business schools should train students “to be able to communicate in areas that are outside the leaders’ traditional comfort zone”. ”.

That could be talking about LGBT or non-binary issues, Maier said, or “understanding the societal impact of your business in depth.”

He said these issues had come up more and more in his later years at Siemens, and “it was often a bit awkward because the board members didn’t have the language, didn’t have experience, to be able to discuss these issues and put in place the right measures, projects or activities to ensure that these things are really supported in your organization”.

Baroness Wolf de Dulwich, professor of public sector management at King’s College London, said business schools should not forget “persistent daily challenges” in their rush to get students to tackle challenges such as the climate change.

She said that while most students will start business courses with a view to going into the private sector, a majority will end up in the public sector, where “leadership is a real challenge”.

Schools should give them the skills to solve problems like “how to build a team when half the people you work with are in East Asia and you’ve never met them” or how to keep colleagues edge as a leader when there is pressure to cut costs.

These challenges are “just as real as they have ever been,” Lady Wolf said, and as “critical” as the significance of climate change or the limitations of the free market model.

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