Business Schools: Fit for the Future?
Posted by Prof George Lodorfos
For three days in May, we were delighted to welcome senior representatives from business schools in 17 countries across the globe to the 2017 Annual Conference of the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) hosted at the Rose Bowl. Dr George Lodorfos, Dean of the Business School, praised the value of NIBS: “It is great to be part of a network of business schools with so many shared views and values." He noted that two key themes of the conference, internationalisation of curriculum and development of strong global engagement strategies, would help to open new opportunities for cooperation and partnerships for the School.
The event featured stimulating and productive discussion of the role of business schools in a world confronted with environmental challenges, income and wealth inequality, demographic shifts, a growing disconnect from and distrust of corporations, and a so-called fourth industrial revolution that seems set to transform the world of work.
Hans van Oudheusden, NIBS President, praised Leeds as an ideal setting for the conference: “Centuries ago, the UK was the birthplace of industrialisation. Today, it is among the innovation leaders in modern business education. There could be no better place than Leeds Beckett University, a modern institution in the heart of England, to reflect on where the world is headed and how business schools factor into that equation.”
The Conference featured thought-provoking keynote presentations highlighting the connections between Business Schools and the local economy and the shared value that this generates. These were followed by an Open Space event, in which delegates discussed issues of importance to them and established a foundation for an NIBS research agenda. Delegates were also treated to visits to key partners of the School, including AW Hainsworth, a multi-generation family business with an international reputation for textile manufacturing, and North Brewing Co., ambassadors for the Independent Food and Drink Academy.
A final key element of the Conference was the annual Business Plan Competition, which saw teams of students pitch their plans to a panel of business professionals and academics, with the winners awarded funding to bring their business to life. This year's competition was won by a team from Dublin Institute of Technology, whose nascent company Ripple Sense manufactures sensors enabling farmers to monitor the levels of water troughs and tanks remotely, saving money and time compared to traditional methods.
Feedback on the event was very positive, with NIBS Vice-President Ian Charles thanking the Business School on behalf of NIBS for hosting a "marvellous" event.