Age-Agnostic Business Education

Business school leaders talk with AACSB about the importance of lifelong learning in an aging workforce. Education isn't limited by age anymore.


María Paola Podestá Correa: [0:05] Aging forces are a reality today. The business schools and companies need to work together. It's a must. I would say, in the past and traditionally, business schools were somewhat disconnected from industry age wise. We did have a very definite age group that we were targeting.

[0:35] For example, undergrad students were students from 18 to 22, 23 years of age, whereas graduate students would be around 40. Other than that, we were not targeting other age groups. Technology, the environment, all the issues that are important to society today have conveyed messages, very powerful messages, to all age groups.

[1:02] Today, we have relevant knowledge in every age group and relevant knowledge that is relevant to companies. Business schools have a very important role in summoning those different age groups, no matter where they are, no matter what their age is, to make them fall in love with knowledge again and to make them understand their role and their contribution to industry.

Lynda Gratton: [1:27] As technology changes, as we live longer, we have to have lifelong learning. Business schools can play a key role there. To do that, they have to overcome some barriers and also make some choices.

[1:40] One barrier is the idea that a student comes in a certain age group. We have to be age agnostic and really celebrate different ages. The second is that it's not always possible to reach out to corporations. It's crucial that business schools also work with corporations to understand the sort of jobs that are going to be important and also understand the skills that are going to be absolutely crucial.

[2:04] I'm a huge supporter of cross age working. We have so much to learn from each other. The young can really help the older people in their team or in their university understand how to use social media to build a reputation, really, how to keep up with the current trends.

[2:25] What older people can also teach the young is how to manage your life, how to keep calm under stress and, really, how to see the bigger picture.

Wendy Loretto: [2:35] At the moment, what we are seeing is a silence and not a recognition that, actually, people do have different needs, attitudes, motivations, contributions that they can make at different stages of their lives.

[2:47] At the moment, we see a silence post midlife or mid career, where there's an assumed decline from a peak into retirement. Actually, what we have as a real opportunity is not allow that decline to happen but to keep people vital, to keep them reskilled, to keep people motivated into longer terms if they want to. It's not going to be right for everybody.

[3:12] There's certainly, at the moment, a failure to recognize the contributions that people can make at mid and later life life stages.

Filmed April 2019 at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Edinburgh, Scotland.