A New Curriculum For Business
The key premises are simple:
1. We don't see undergraduate business training simply as a mini-MBA. Rather, this is an opportunity to situate business in the wider context of social life and knowledge. The students, rather than thinking 'everything is business', should understand the different domains - family, community life and government - in their own variety and complexity.
2. Accordingly, this training is less about 'how to' than 'why' and 'what' of business life and career. The undergraduate students, who still have many important life decisions ahead of them, would need this broader perspective than the graduate students who may have already made their choice.
3. Additionally, we shall put a great emphasis on the emerging realities of the business - the disruption of business as usual with new technologies, new ways of doing things with increasing global integration and the new realisation that our resources are not infinite - because the undergraduate students, again in contrast with graduate students, need to apply their knowledge and skills well into the future.
Indeed, we are not trying to build an elite business school. Our idea is to create a school of middle income, middle ability individuals, who are both most ignored and the most numerous among all the segments in search of education innovation. It is somehow assumed that the existing, dated, public provisions are enough to serve their needs, and the private education companies would deliberately stay away and serve the High-fliers or the stragglers instead. The reasons for this are clear: The middle segment is the mainstream, a game for the incumbents. However, this is not a normal time: This is a time when the Great Recession is wrecking a havoc of mainstream jobs, careers and ideas of life. This is that sort of time when the solidity of mainstream breaks down, and new pioneers emerge in their middle. This is the modern equivalent of potato famine which will make a land-locked Irish farmer board a ship to an unknown land with no promises of return.
Another pioneer metaphor: I see this new business training as equivalent to 'pickaxes during a gold rush'. This is the skill people need now. Let's face it: There is no promise of a stable job in a stable company does not exist anymore. Today, it is all about search and develop after one steps out of college. You can indeed still strike gold, but you need an education that teaches you how to. What good is spending a lot of time on knowing a trade with a last century perspective when that does not exist anymore. It is so simple even the mainstream seems to get it now.
This new approach to training is, as I mentioned earlier, at the core of our new E-School. This is about creating your opportunities rather than just following the footsteps of someone ahead. We want to bring together three great disruptions of our age - technology, globalization and ecological concerns - inside our classroom, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers who will create the possibility and lead their communities. It is a willful departure from the employability tune that colleges love to sing, even when it is only a fairy-tale promise that if you do your CV right, you will get a job: There are not enough jobs out there and all we are selling in its name is snake-oil. We need a new generation of people who push the boundaries of possibility and create new wealth, not just in money terms but in terms of ideas and linkages: The curriculum we are putting our time in developing is focused on nothing but the realities of this brave new world.