Society is calling for a new breed of business leaders who are able to bring a whole set of considerations in the society.
Leadership development and business training often happens through various programs delivered by business schools.
In these programs, students are getting a lot of information and knowledge on business practices. But, due to the typical design of programs and the communication on specificities of professors, prospective students do not have access to critical data in making the choice to enroll in a certain business school. The second consequence is that this lack of transparency can in some cases result in a lack of accountability and in low motivation to update classes and teaching with new insights from research.
The solution: opening up the access to information for students and increasing transparency on whether faculty members are opinion leaders and how they are pushing innovative ideas and research into the classrooms. Also students should also involved in choosing faculty as a way to increase motivation of faculty to bring cutting edge knowledge in the class room.
Over the last decades, society has met new challenges (rise of the East, faster communications...) that are resulting in major disturbances. In parallel, the corporate world has experienced some scandals and problems never met before.
Within this context, business schools have sometimes been accused of being one the reasons why these failures happened.
One part of the problem is that business schools have little incentive to teach new innovative and more responsible ways of doing business. Indeed, today the choice of a business school is mostly driven by reputation and ranking, which are often inherited from the past. Therefore students have little way of identifying innovative business schools. And a vicious circle gets created where students and schools are not incentivized.
The second part of the problem is that students are passive towards faculty. After students enroll, they have limited means to push faculty to come up with classes that are relevant to the current context. Students can only hope that the reputation of the school and professionalism of professors will guarantee the quality of learnings.
The solution to the problem is to take a customer-oriented approach to business training. Students should be allowed to understand better the teaching style of school. Also they should become stakeholders in the choice of faculty.
First, it is critical to define a set of evaluation criteria for faculty:
- Publication and research papers
- International reputation
- New clients
- Student’s learning experience
- Teaching method
- Content of class
- Application to the real world
Second, once these criteria are defined, they should be communicated clearly both to the student body and the faculty members in order to guarantee the transparency of the selection process.
Thirs, based on these criteria, students would be allowed to elect faculty they would prefer as teaching in the classroom. This would happen before the start of the program for classes early in program and throughout the year for classes ctarting later.
Finally, a student evaluation-based process should be put into place at a regular base. The surveys sent out are based on the commonly defined evaluation criteria and should be conducted at the end of each building block.
By introducing this competition edge to faculty selection by the students, the system will ensure that both students and faculties are fully engaged. The students will have to understand their priorities, and the faculties will have to continuously innovate. On the one hand if the students do not do their part, they will have no one else to blame for poor quality of teaching than themselves. On the other hand, if faculties do not perform by keeping them updated, they will have no one to teach.
This will not only increase the overall quality of teaching but will also enhance the reputation of the given school. However to make this work, several things must be put on place:
- To ensure that the best faculties are willing to be part of the system, both extrinsic and instrinsic incentives must be put on place
- Students must get access to the pool of professors early in the process so that enough time is allocated for the selection process