Fulfilling the Needs of Business Students

Alison Lloyd

Dr Alison Lloyd is Director of Institutional Research and Planning of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research has been published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal
of Services Marketing, Tourism Management and others.alumni/faculty relations. Her research has been published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Services Marketing, Tourism Management and others.

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As the Asian economy develops and the environment changes, Alison Lloyd suggests there is a need to bring about a renewal of business education.

Business schools are often criticised for failing to provide students with the right competencies, in particular a strong ethical framework. Such failures are often attributed to the lack of integration between theory and practice as well as between the task and the individual.

Employers and experts have been central to the call for moving beyond just knowing to include doing and being in business education today.

Much of our present-day society is built upon the twin canons of expansion and consumption. These behaviours assume that we have infinite resources.

Participants at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 shared evidence of the worsening global sustainability crisis. Businesses were called on to embrace further sustainability but businesses should not be the only ones to tackle this issue.

Can business education serve a role in bridging this gap? Currently, much of business education draws on the logic of the “take, make and throw-away” philosophy of the 20th century.

To tackle the sustainability crisis, we have to develop leaders capable of resolving this issue before they reach the workplace. This requires a fundamental transformation of business education.

Where can we make a start?

50+20 is a collaborative initiative between three organisations: the World Business School Council for Sustainable Business (WBSCSB), the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) and the UN-backed Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME).

50+20 aims to reset the management education agenda for the coming 20 years and offers a vision of how management education can contribute to a world worth living in.

The “50” in the title signals that 50 years have passed since the agenda for management education was set; “+20” refers to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development that marked the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1992 Rio Summit, where governments were urged to rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources.

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