Both dean Gupta and dean Peters have raised so many issues that to tackle all of them would need several discussions, so for now I will focus on just one, that being the concept of leadership itself and if it can be taught effectively by business schools. Both authors mention the need for schools to broaden their scope of teaching, in particular dean Gupta says “Classic business tools must be welded with fields too often dismissed as separate and exclusive of business”.
I agree with dean Gupta when he submits that leadership can indeed be taught and reinforced and that every class, no matter the subject, is an opportunity to reinforce leadership skills. Furthermore he states that candidacies to a business school should not be discounted due to a lack of leadership experience. Dean Peters sees as crucial the matching of the methods of teaching with the maturity of the receivers of management education, as well as the context and personnel that with which management education is imparted.
Dean Peters mentions the importance for a manager to have a multidisciplinary view of the world and that this is a challenge for business schools as “there is little cross-functional research at many institutions”. I would urge readers particularly interested in the topic of Research to read some of the articles already written about this elsewhere in the blog that deal specifically with this theme and particular that of Peter Lorange especially where he speaks of his particular approach "to create cross-disciplinary academic value".
Dean Peters goes on to say that: “There are simply not many faculty members who have the psychological understanding of human drivers and who have the experience of practically influencing social constructs: organisations.” implying that business schools have certain limitations when it comes to the finer points of leadership teaching.
What is more food for thought is that Peters quotes a study (Simpson, GMAC) which states that the pivotal age where the organisation dynamic need begins to take precedence over functional one is 28. I am sure that many leadership gurus might have something to say about that. In fact I have asked some experts on the subject here within my own business school, Instituto de Empresa, that they share their thoughts on the whole topic of leadership with us, i.e. José Luis Alvarez and Fernando Bartolomé.
I believe that a business school can and should provide all the necessary approaches for any given learning group and give the aforementioned need for schools have a certain size to be able to reach all segments effectively and the possible limitations pointed out earlier, would that infer that the industry of business schools is heading for a phase of concentration?
Due to the legal status of business schools that hinders the possibility of takeovers and mergers, as would be the case in other industries, does that mean that there will be more alliances and if so to what level of cooperation would that be. Will there be room for the smaller business schools that just cater to just one segment and is there a societal responsibility to cater for a region’s broader needs. As Peters said, especially the young would have need for a more local school?
Here at the Instituto de Empresa we had the honour of the presence of Ana Patricia Botín, Chairman of Banesto, at the opening of a new Master in Marketing program. She is a fine example of a leader and on Friday 14th October she received the “Europe's businesswoman of the year” from the Financial Times.
(Ana Botín, (second from left), a few days ago at the opening of the Masters in Marketing Management at IE, along with Diego Alcázar (second from right) President of IE, Giuseppe Tringali, CEO Publi España(right)