Friday, January 17, 2014

Improving Business Education through Industry Connections

Business colleges have developed over the past few decades. According to Xie and Steiner (2013), not all of these changes have been for the better. The authors argue that traditional business education has damaged the overall business community and narrowed people into irrelevance. They provide some possibilities for improvement of business colleges within their paper. 

They offer a couple of solutions that include connections between business and business schools, new business education models,  as well as joint creation of knowledge management. Their reasoning is that student’s knowledge should broaden perspectives beyond simple tools of management and should include the overall human elements that enhance understanding further than number crunching. 

Collaboration between Business Schools and Business: In the older models, students were apprentice oriented. Business colleges should make stronger connections to the business community in order to create higher levels of relevant education. The traditional educational model has separated itself from the needs of modern day business management. Professors should be seen as professionals with certain codes of ethics and standards.

Joint Creation of Management Knowledge: There is practical knowledge and academic knowledge. Even though these two forms of knowledge can overlap, they have become more separate in recent decades. Practitioners and academics should work closely to ensure that knowledge is practical and applied in nature. Education should focus on solving practical problems for business managers. 

New Educational Models Revisited: New business education models need to develop that bridges the gaps between traditional education and modern business needs. The student should learn new concepts that applied practically in the real world. Colleges should focus on teaching those skills that are most relevant within the modern business market. 

Interestingly, the report highlights the concepts of the practitioner-academic that creates new knowledge but does so in the context of applied usage of knowledge. Business education and business management should be intertwined to create relevancy in the modern day work place. Data crunching is important but the understanding of human behavior is a primary function of management. Data crunching and soft skills of human management are important co-complimentary skills. Colleges should seek to foster both.

Xie, C. & Steiner, S. (2013). Enhancing management education relevance: joint creation of knowledge between business schools and business. Business Education & Accreditation, 5 (2).

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