Oct 19 2011
Recently, a small group of academia and business’ brightest minds – including business school deans from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Stanford University and the University of North Carolina – gathered for a private dinner at Levi’s Plaza. The focus? The Future of Business Education.
Judy Samuelson, from The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, co-hosted the event. We had a chance to chat with her about what went on behind the scenes at the event.
Judy, we’d love to know a little more about your work at The Aspen Institute.
I run the Business and Society Program at The Aspen Institute, where we are dedicated to developing leaders for a sustainable global society. We provide opportunities, such as this dinner event, that bring business leaders and educators together to explore new routes for values-based leadership.
Could you paint a picture of the evening for me?
We partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. to create an engaging and thought-provoking evening for our guests. We hosted a group of 35 attendees from universities, companies, and organizations such as California College of the Arts, Arup, and Net Impact. We're particularly excited that business school deans and faculty were able to join us.
What was the main topic of the evening?
This was a rare chance for this diverse group of leaders to collaborate and share their ideas and inspiration for shaping the future. We discussed questions, such as: “Who are the path-benders, innovators, and do-ers that are actually creating a better world? Are these the same individuals who are coming out of business schools?”
Tell me about one conversation topic that got you thinking.
I was particularly interested in the topic of business ethics. A question posed to the group was: “Is there a difference between the principles you use in making decisions at work, versus ethical considerations you apply in your personal life?” Everyone has values, but as UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons put it, we need to figure out what our “non-negotiables” are.
What advice could leaders give to the next generation of business leaders?
The Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business Garth Saloner emphasized that students need to be strong in the fundamental disciplines, such as finance, economics, and marketing, and also use creative and analytical thinking to solve tough challenges. But, they must also be self-aware and interpersonal, so that they can take others along on the journey of becoming positive change-makers and influencers.
What is the future of business education?
Looking into the future, I have a lot of hope for how our future leaders will shape society. Many of them will go to business school, or are already there. So, as business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, alumni and citizens, we need to come together. We must assume a joint responsibility to create, re-work and offer tools that will enable future leaders to adopt a pioneering mindset and become – as Dean Lyons calls them – “path benders” who are able to challenge the status quo along the way.
Here are some photos from the evening's events:
Deans Rich Lyons, left, of UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Garth Saloner, center, of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, with the Aspen Institute's Judy Samuelson.
Posted By: Cory Warren, Editor, LS&Co. Unzipped
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