Sunday, June 26, 2011

The E-School Approach

Nathan Furr makes a case for the E-School approach on his Forbes blog (read here) and against the traditional B-School approach. The key difference, following his argument, is seeing problems as opportunity and uncertainty as a given. While B-Schools keep talking about change, they have changed little (except becoming far too expensive) and collectively, the B-School world does not want the world to change.

However, it is changing. We all know about technology. While the technological changes are being co-opted in B-School curriculum, it is not easy to cope with its social effect: The age of transparency. In the age of Wikileaks, it is important to be transparent: Instead, the B-Schools are trying hard to tell people that they must look authentic. The statement is self-defeating, indeed. However, that shows the key problem with B-Schools: They are too disconnected from life.

The idea of E-School, hence, is important, and I would tend to agree that all Business Education must go that way. Everyone is an entrepreneur, as Nathan Furr suggests, as long as you are trying to solve problems. Most people do, though it is possible to spot people who are crushed under the problems thrown at them. Or, too egocentric to even try. The key to solving problems, indeed, is to accept that problems are inevitable, but all problems are solvable, as long as one is ready to be flexible and ready to go beyond, if necessary, conventional wisdom. The solutions to all problems in the world isn't written down in Bible, Koran or Gita, neither they have been fully covered by management models by Gurus of today. That way, what is needed can simply be called a scientific mindset, in the sense it used to be in the age of romantic science: Where one wanted to change the world (and not just get a patent) and believed that nothing should be taken for a given.

I shall add one more thing: We don't need general degrees in business administration anymore. MBA is gone, dead, a relic of another age. We need accountants, marketers, HR experts, but they should do functional studies, like an M Sc or a Professional Diploma. What we need at the General Business level is an MBE, which should come after one or the other functional studies have been completed: This is not the kind of MBE that the Queen will give, but the kind of qualification all Business Leaders of tomorrow will need. Master of Business Entrepreneurship, I shall label this, will be about teaching values and discussing opportunities, exploring businesses and people, and applying functional knowledge to the broader context of solving world's problems and indeed changing it.

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