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How Business Schools Are Collaborating With Business


Posted May 25, 2017 by Elliot Davis - Coordinator, Research - AACSB International

With AACSB’s Co-Lab conference on the horizon, a unique event that seeks to close the gap between academia and business, it is particularly timely to highlight the examples from business schools that demonstrate innovation in this space. Below is a small sampling of the 2017 Innovations That Inspire submissions categorized as innovative in the ways they engage with business. And this truly is just a sample: 132 total innovations were submitted in this category.

This outpouring of innovations reinforces the notion that a shift is occurring toward closer cooperation between industry and academia. Business schools and industry are working together to enhance learning within business education and to make a positive impact on their communities. Here are a few examples of how that collaboration is playing out at business schools today.

MS in Management Studies (MSMS)

Boston University, Questrom School of Business (USA)

The MSMS degree program is a challenge-driven, experiential curriculum that allows client-facing business projects, team interactions, and simulated business decisions to drive modular delivery of management content. The 36-credit, academic-year program is completed on a full-time, cohort basis and features a design that includes company partners who provide challenges, engage with students, and provide access with on-site visits.

The program is guided by three integrated modules, each paired with an industry partner. The first focuses on learning and applying the language of business—exposing students to the firm, how the company operates, and how decisions can broadly impact an organization. A small firm partners with students to expose them to the challenges a small business faces to expand their market share. The second module begins to increase the business expertise of students, providing content and skills that are applied through the challenges of a partner in the pharmaceutical industry, which enhances students’ analytic skills. The final module focuses on developing business solutions to the broader challenges of a large technology multinational firm’s efforts to become agile and customer-responsive, given new and emerging competition.

This educational platform strengthens content through application to industry challenges. Students meet from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday in a dedicated classroom with a fluid mix of teamwork, faculty engagement, outsides guests, industry mentors, and content delivery.

Trinity Global Business Forum

Trinity Business School (Ireland)

The Trinity Global Business Forum was created to enable the business community to meet annually to communicate as well as learn about and engage with the pivotal issues facing business today. Conceived as an annual event, the motivation was to bring together key actors in business and society, to network, and to enable the Trinity business community—including top business and university leaders, alumni, students, and TBS faculty—to share their knowledge and experience.

The inaugural event was held on May 26, 2016, in Trinity Business School at Trinity College Dublin, with over 200 attendees including business and university leaders, alumni, students, and TBS faculty. It brought various members of the community together in a novel way for TBS and enabled the establishment and strengthening of network connections. The forum provided major input into the school's research agenda (including the areas of entrepreneurship, ethical business, digital marketing, and freelancing), especially in terms of ensuring the research was relevant for business.

Some themes in the forum were developed further after the event and stimulated new interactions among members of the local business community. For example, the forum session on “Ethical Dilemmas for Leaders and How to Solve Them” prompted a wider discussion on ethics in business and of the challenges and opportunities the school community faces in teaching, researching, and interacting ethically.

Course Partnership With Local Insurance Managers

California State University, Northridge, David Nazarian College of Business and Economics (USA)

CSUN’s Nazarian College partners with Farmers Insurance managers to enhance student career preparation by bringing real-world practice and experiential learning to the classroom. The largest California-based insurance company, Farmers Insurance is local to the Nazarian College and provides both field-study opportunities and access to business professionals willing to share their knowledge with young people. The course combines practical executive-delivered education with the traditional curriculum offered by the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) program to prepare undergraduate seniors for a career in insurance or any financial services firm.

Students learn about every department in an insurance company, including marketing, financial management, underwriting, actuarial pricing, claims, and others, from the very people who are actually managing those functions. The course also includes a visit to the University of Farmers, a world-class corporate training facility, where students can witness that their education does not end with the bachelor’s degree. Because of the incorporation of CPCU curriculum, students who complete the course with a grade of B or better can receive credit toward their CPCU professional designation.

About Innovations That Inspire

From a pool of 315 submissions spanning 33 countries, the 2017 Innovations That Inspire collection demonstrates business education’s engagement across disciplines, with diverse groups, and with business practice. Thirty-five of these innovations were featured at the 2017 Deans Conference and are available for public browsing. The complete collection of Innovations That Inspire, including the 2016 Innovations That Inspire collection, can be found using AACSB’s DataDirect.

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