Neil Braun

adapting-to-new-demands establishing-partnerships
overcoming-challenges engaging-with-business

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Adapting to New Demands on Skill Sets

  • It is incumbent on schools to make sure students are ready for a very competitive marketplace in order to secure employment.
  • Most schools have similar academic learning goals, which continue to be critically important. However, the common learning goals are no longer sufficient.
  • At Lubin, there are two sets of learning goals that are in addition to those required by most schools: technical skills and effectiveness skills.
    • Technical skills are important since many entry-level jobs now require familiarity with various technologies and software. Lubin offers a Microsoft certification exam in advanced Excel for accounting and finance students; was the first school to integrate Bloomberg Terminal training into finance majors’ coursework; and has management students take a certification exam in project management.
    • Effectiveness skills, or what some refer to as social intelligence or EQ, are skills that are valuable to a student’s long-term career. Lubin addresses these through its Pace Path program as well as through the Lubin Professional Experience, which teaches students how to deal with peoples’ anger, how to disagree with authority, and how to build trust.

Establishing Partnerships with Industry

  • Lubin’s New York City location in the heart of the financial district is ideal for business schools looking to establish industry partners. However, not every student qualifies for an off-campus internship, so the school had to develop ways to work with companies to give these students experiential learning opportunities. Examples include the following:
    • Academic competitions, such as working with a media agency in creating data analytics competition among Lubin students. Through such activities, students get hands-on learning experience and preparation for the professional world. Further, competitions can serve as a sort of audition for internships and jobs for students.
    • Creation of consultancies with companies, where students take on a project with a company addressing a specific issue throughout the semester.
    • Student-run businesses that serve university clients.
  • In regard to schools not located in a metropolitan area, there may be even more opportunity to work with small businesses and entrepreneurs. Such schools can reach out to Main Street and offer opportunities to work with students on projects that small businesses may not have the resources to do themselves.
    • Such experiences can create value and provide equity to local constituencies while providing great learning experience to students.

Overcoming Challenges in Developing and Leveraging Collaborations

  • In order to develop and leverage effective collaborations for the business schools, Braun suggests the following:
    • Harness positive inertia wherever it exists. Whenever you see personal chemistry and a common interest among faculty and those involved, be sure to empower it and provide the resources needed.
    • Explain the benefits of collaboration from the student’s point of view. Student centricity is what drives faculty to be faculty.
    • Be aware of currencies for empowering people in order to achieve institutional goals and agendas.

Engaging with Business in Program Offerings

  • Lubin offers the MediaStorm Master’s in Social Media and Mobile Marketing, jointly delivered by MediaStorm and the business school.
  • Braun came to Lubin from the corporate world with the thought that a co-branded degree program that included both academic learning and a built-in business partner with the practical experience was the direction a lot of graduate degrees might go.
  • Part of MediaStorm’s branding is to be a pipeline for talent that understands how to use new media and marketing tools as they continue to evolve.
  • Within the partnership, Lubin controls the academics and the curriculum. MediaStorm commits to offering 10 internships per year and 20 hours of guest lectures by employees and their clients per year. They also provide current project work for Lubin’s cornerstone and capstone classes, as well as placement help for students at the end of the program.
  • The dean has to be very hands-on and work very closely during all aspects of planning and launching the program in order for it come to fruition.
  • In regard to day-to-day operations, make it easy for the other party to say “yes,” by doing the extra preparatory work in anticipation of where the commonalities and opportunities for those involved may be.

The Changing Role of Business Schools

  • The 2015 AACSB Deans Conference’s theme, the Future of Work, focused on the major question business schools should be asking themselves.
  • Specifics of disciplines and the particular roles that people are going to play will continue to change. Students continue to need to be taught the fundamentals behind disciplines, but the specifics will change.
  • The most valuable thing in business today is the ability to synthesize information, to work with other people, to gain others’ trust, to lead and advocate, to be a good listener, to be accessible, and to create safe environments for others to tell you the truth.
  • Experiential learning, mentorship, situational learning, and coaching will play an even larger role for business schools.
  • For closer engagement with the business community, it is important to continue to evolve the alignment between AACSB accreditation standards and priorities of employers.
  • The structure for governance of business and academic institutions is very different. Businesses place priority on being nimble, while academic institutions have a committee system and state approval system for significant changes in response to market changes—a slow-moving process. Business schools need to anticipate where the needs and priorities will be two to three years down the road.