Borderless: What they don’t teach in business school, but should…

A new report, published by global executive search and leadership consulting firm Borderless, offers a real-world perspective of how business school education is perceived by international executives. Based on the findings of a recent Borderless survey, the firm offers the following recommendations to enhance business school curricula development:

1. Favor developing general managers.

“There is a decline in opportunities for executives to develop general management skills to equip them for the most senior general management roles,” explains Borderless Founding Partner, Andrew Kris, who presented the results during the international meeting of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, in Barcelona. “This is due to two phenomena. 1) The centralization of functional leadership in a matrix has meant that local managers no longer benefit from broad multi-functional responsibilities or true bottom-line accountability in early careers. 2) The reduction of high-cost expat roles has meant that executives receive less exposure to multicultural experiences needed to lead complex international businesses,” explains Andrew. “There is an opportunity for business schools to create programs that support the development of these skills.”

2. Seek in-house partnerships to draw attention and close the gap.

“Business schools need to view their students as customers. These are the people who will go into industry and become future sponsors of students,” says Andrew. “Furthermore, schools should not just view corporations as financial sponsors, but should extend collaboration to include providing opportunities for professors to work within companies to understand how the business school curriculum could evolve to address real-world challenges.”

3. Balance development of hard skills and soft skills – intellect and emotion.

“Above all, as reported in the study, companies are demanding that business schools focus on not just hard skills but soft skills too, in equal proportion. Behavioral development needs to be integrated and practiced as part of the program and not relegated to a one-semester course on ‘interpersonal skills’. “Developing great strategies doesn’t necessarily lead to great corporate results,” explains Andrew. “Strategies are implemented by motivated people, and to get that, right leaders must learn how to capture the hearts and minds of those they lead.”

To read the full report, click here.


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