What they don’t teach in business school, but should…

May 17, 2019
Borderless Leadership - report

Developing great strategies doesn’t necessarily lead to great corporate results. Strategies are implemented by motivated people, and to get that, right leaders must learn how to capture the hearts and minds of those they lead. Views on executive education from the survey conducted by Borderless highlight areas of strength and improvement for business schools.

Here are three main takeaways from the survey:

  1. Favor developing general managers.

There is a decline in opportunities for executives to develop general management skills to equip them for the most senior general management roles. This is due to two phenomena: 1) The centralization of functional leadership has meant that local managers no longer benefit from broad multi-functional responsibilities or true bottom-line accountability in early careers. 2) The reduction of high-cost expat roles has meant that executives receive less exposure to multicultural experiences needed to lead complex international businesses. There is an opportunity for business schools to create programs that support the development of these skills.

  1. Seek in-house partnerships to draw attention and close the gap.

Business schools need to view their students as customers. These are the people who will go into industry and become future sponsors of students. Furthermore, schools should not just view corporations as financial sponsors, but should extend collaboration to include providing opportunities for professors to work within companies to understand how the business school curriculum could evolve to address real-world challenges.

  1. Balance development of hard skills and soft skills – intellect and emotion.

Above all, companies are demanding that business schools focus on not just hard skills but soft skills too, in equal proportion. Behavioral development needs to be integrated and practiced as part of the program and not relegated to a one-semester course on ‘interpersonal skills’.

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