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Need for focus on leadership skills

A major review of Australia’s business schools has urged them to move beyond simply training students in specific competencies, to include broader skills in business education.

The review, The Future of Management Education, commissioned by the Australian Business Deans Council (ABCD), also said there need to be greater engagement between business schools and industry.

“There’s a clear need for innovative management education practices that use experiential learning opportunities to ensure the next cohorts of business managers can operate in a contemporary, dynamic and complex business environment," Michael Powell, Griffith University pro vice-chancellor (business) and president of ABDC.

The report said business schools needed to prepare managers to be leaders and decision-makers who were "adept at dealing with uncertainty" and help them implement new ideas.

"It is not enough to create an economy that is ideas rich but execution poor," the report said.

The report’s project director, University of Technology Sydney Business School dean Roy Green, said  "business schools needed now to think beyond discipline specialisations and competencies and embrace broader skills".

He said these needed to encompass "boundary-crossing skills" such as collaboration, communication, leadership and problem solving.

"The aim is to turn graduates into something beyond what they would be with strictly technical competence in disciplines," Professor Green said.

He said business schools could bring these range of skills into their programs through combining new teaching technologies with traditional learning, and emphasising experiential learning.

"That would be conducted through greater engagement with industry ad with stakeholders, going beyond internships, undertaking consulting projects, getting students involved in business incubators and start-up communities," he said.

He said students should also be involved with the community through non-profit organisations.

Source: Australian Financial Review, 28 July 2014

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