AACSB Member Voices: Amanda Gudmundsson

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Friday, September 21, 2018
By Amy Memon
Amanda Gudmundsson, Queensland University of Technology
Amanda Gudmundsson of QUT Business School discusses her inspiration for becoming a business educator and the merits of belonging to AACSB's network.

In this series, AACSB reaches out to members of the Business Education Alliance to garner their personal perspectives on business education. We ask educators and practitioners about their professional journey and any insights they can share related to the future of our industry. In this interview, Amanda Gudmundsson, assistant dean of teaching and learning at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Business School, discusses what inspired her to becoming a business educator as well as the merits of being a part of AACSB’s Business Education Alliance.

Why did you choose to become a business educator?

I previously worked in human resources for an international agricultural machinery firm and was associated with local universities through my research activity. I then began to build more connections with the university sector. As an industrial psychologist, local universities would then ask me to come and teach master’s students on industrial psychology. Doing that allowed me to influence future HR leaders, and seeing my students grow and develop themselves during the courses inspired me to move into academia permanently in 1997. Also, working for a university allows you to do research on subjects that mean a lot to you personally.

What do you think presents the greatest challenge for business education in the future?

The future is so unpredictable. I think one of the things that is important for us as business educators is that we help develop students who are agile, who are comfortable with constant change. Students should not learn how to cope but should learn how to thrive in complex environments characterized by continuous change. Ultimately, we would like our students to be the drivers of change who embrace transformation and not just the managers of it. We really do need graduates who are innovators and entrepreneurs who can break down barriers globally—and not just in their own industries but across sectors.

How can AACSB members evolve to meet the needs of the next generation?

I am very excited about the next generation of leaders. There is a level of informality in the way these people interact and negotiate, which I think is positive. The next generation who are now in university have a good understanding of local and international events and occurrences and are not afraid to voice their opinions about what is happening around the world. We see fewer and fewer students who are just willing to accept the status quo.

One of the areas that I teach is self‑leadership; I enjoy facilitating and empowering students to embrace authenticity in their leadership and interactions with others. A high level of authenticity defines the leaders who actually care about the bigger picture and create their own vision and encourage people to join them on their journey.

How do you think can AACSB, through its Business Education Alliance, can address the future needs of business leaders?

AACSB is not just an important collection or network but a resource that can help members increase the quality of business education globally. We share a global discipline, and together with AACSB we can focus on the integration of knowledge and the application of better business practices. We learn a lot by just being together and discussing what is occurring in different regions from a variety of viewpoints.

AACSB's mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. What does this mission mean to your business school?

Engagement, of course, is part of the DNA of our university and business school, and it is critical that we continue to deeply engage with our local industries but also with those nationally and globally. For us, innovation is also important because we are a technology university and its vital to the world of practice that we encourage our students to be transdisciplinary. Innovation is a necessary response to constant change and requires disruption of the status quo. Having impact is what we have always been charged to do as universities. The communities that we all engage with rely on university knowledge and research for fostering change; we therefore must have relevance in the community and in business.

How does AACSB membership help you meet these objectives?

The collaboration and opportunity to engage with, and learn from, other members and peers around the world is ideal. At conferences, listening to business leaders and notable academics discussing their views and sharing their expertise provides me with personal growth and often gives me new insights and ideas that I can take back and share with colleagues. Business disciplines are very broad, so I think it is valuable when we get to hear new thoughts and learn about new ideas from different areas.

Can you share an example of a resource that you have used through AACSB membership that has been instrumental in addressing your needs?

I am a part of the AACSB Exchange and several affinity groups, including the Associate Deans Affinity Group, which I help lead. The affinity groups are fabulous, as there is constant engagement and sharing among peers, which makes it is the most significant resource available to me. The platform allows for frequent exchanges of best practices in a more focused setting.

The engagement with others has also been of significant benefit to me personally, but also to the school. Membership with AACSB opens doors and helps us create new partnerships with other universities around the world and connect on different projects.

Do you have a favorite memory of working with business education stakeholders—students, administrators, the community?

A lot of my experience in business education has been inspiring and very positive. I guess an enduring memory for me is when I get to see change in students. I absolutely love it. That moment when the light bulb comes on and your students come up with a unique way of envisioning their research can be so inspiring. You can see the value and influence that education has had on their individual growth and potential, as well as the positive impact they will make with their research and knowledge. That to me is very powerful and positive and the reason why I do what I do.

Who is your favorite thought leader or visionary?

I am going to be really academic now and say my favorite philosopher is Aristotle. I think that there is still a lot that we can learn from teachings of the classics. If I have to name an area or someone more current, I do appreciate a lot of the work that is coming out of the theorists in the positive psychology movement. I do a lot of work in that space. People like Fred Luthans and Barbara Freidrickson, they are looking at the strength of human capital and how we can use it to make positive change in the world.

As an old HR practitioner and as an industrial psychologist, I still believe that the power of change and the influence of business happens through people. The more we can harness an individual's strength and empower them to use that strength to create change, the better our world will be.

What is the key reason that you consider AACSB an important advocate for you, your business school, and the business education industry as a whole?

I have gained a lot by participating quite heavily and actively in AACSB events.

Our school’s accreditation with AACSB has helped us make connections, learn about trends in other regions, and open the door for collaboration with others.

As business schools united, we are so much stronger, and the AACSB collective mindset most exemplifies that strength. The fact that we actually have a global network of business educators and leaders who can be the voice of business schools globally is really powerful and can influence policy directions for countries and regions.

Amy Memon
Manager, Accreditation Services, Asia Pacific, AACSB International
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