Business Schools Became a Topic of Discussion at Gaidar Forum
At the X Gaider Forum started on January 15, experts spoke of how the leading business schools should have built their strategies in the new digital world, in the circumstances of permanent transformations in external environment and increased requirements of business community to the practical orientation of knowledge.
On the first Forum day, an expert discussion took place. It was devoted to synergy possibilities in education market between business schools, corporate universities, and training centers for creation of ideal business school in 20-year prospect. The leading education experts, representatives of social entrepreneurship from Russia and of West countries business debated the influence of accelerated development of technological innovations to the model.
Sergei Myasoedov, Director of the Institute of business studies and Provost of RANEPA. started the discussion and appeared as its moderator. He said, the current generation regards the education process other way, adding, that the International Advisory Board of RANEPA have just started to develop new business education strategy in the context of the fast-changing priorities and requirements in the field. “I feel, the changes are too fast”, as Myasoedov pointed out.
Pierre Tapie, cofounder of PAXTER, attracted audience attention to some large disruptions existing in the sector of business education in different regions: demographic, digital. and in respect of diversity. “Values structure vision, attitude towards time, social need, national identities, and the main issue - mental vision about all of this vary wildly in the world. Every business school have to adapt its curricula to the particular audience requirements”, Tapie said. The cofounder of PAXTER added, the development of pedagogical approaches is often behind students’ needs, since the current students of business schools were born just in digital era. He predicted also the popularity of Eastern Europe schools and their good development chances.
Tomas Robinson, President of AACSB, outlined some trends in the matter discussed. The retirement age in many countries, including Russia, is elevated. People work longer, as before. So the lifelong education become actual like never before. Besides that, student do not want to work simply in famous global companies now, but particular in companies providing obvious benefits to society. Robinson mentioned Georgia University, where artificial intelligence was created for interaction with students. It is a successful example of innovation technology application in education sector. In the eyes of AACSB President, business schools have to adjust themselves to changes and not to train students for non-existing professions.
Ruben Vardanyan, social entrepreneur, spoke about Russian business education peculiarities. He highlighted some issues: strong polarization of population in regard of income and mentality, middle class crisis, and appearance of new business models in the context of society transformations. “The industrial society was very specialized, education should be more comprehensive now”, as he pointed out. As a positive one, Vardanyan consider the trend of the involvement of younger people in business activities.
10th Gaidar Forum Organizers:
The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).
The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Prosveshcheniye publishing house, Coca-Cola, Pharmstandard group, ACIG Group of Companies, the Russian Textbook Corporation, SANOFI, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Russian Railways, MSD, and Mastercard; EY, Cisco and Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners. This discussion’s partners are Philips, Cherkizovo and RVC.
The general information partners of the Gaidar Forum include the Rossiya 24 TV channel, Forbes global media company, RBC and TASS news agencies. The official information agency is Rossiya Segodnya. The general radio partner is Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishers, the RT TV channel, Interfax and Gazeta.RU. The main information partners are Profil weekly, FederalPress news agency, and Invest Foresight online magazine. The international information partners are Sputnik and Cision. Other media partners include PRIME news agency, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, RNS news agency, Radio Ekho Moskvy, News.Ru, Polit.ru, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, the PRO BUSINESS TV channel, Strategia magazine, AK&M, BRICS, Ekonomika i Zhizn weekly, National Banking Journal, Expert Tatarstan magazine, the Smart Country information platform, Financial One, Naans Media, and the Public Administration scientific political journal.The Gaidar Forum on social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. After a short break, Danica Purg, President of IEDC-Bled School of Management and of CEEMAN, appeared as the next moderator. The speaker started from designation of agile transformation features. They are quickness, sharpness and readiness. In her eyes, the contemporary educational institutions meet hardly the requirements. “As a dean of a business school, I can say, we respond slowly to education needs, try to copy an old pattern”, as she pointed out.
Charles Iacovou, Dean of the Business School of Wake Forest University, described how to elevate the relevance of management education. In his eyes, there is an abyss between academic and industrial worlds, and the abyss grows. Companies change very quickly, but business schools do the same slowly. “We train our student for the past, not for the future. Flexibility promotion and shifting the emphasis to what will be relevant in the future is essential, Iacovou said. “Lectures are not fruitful now, on-the-job training become actual. Our school changes company every some months as a respond to changing market needs”, he added.
Maxim Kuznetsov, General Manager of Philips Russia, Belarus, Transcaucasia, and Central Asia, suggested his own definition for agile education. In his mind, agile is a way of continual improving, understanding of the needs of the company, of customers, and of the market. Kuznetsov regards the alumni ability to master navigational guidance in the huge informational space of today’s world as a main goal of modern business education. He pointed out the developed soft skills of students as a connecting link between traditional and up-to-date business education and the ability of business schools to adjust themselves to the current situation.
Vyacheslav Romanov, President of Wharton School alumni association in Russia, assumes, that software will provide services in 10-20-year prospect, and people will only develop the software. So, the up-to-date business schools should train students for software engineering and data base management.
Discussion participants came to the conclusion, that the most world business schools have to respond quicker to fast-changing e[ternal conditions and show more flexibility in respect to business demands.