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Message from Morsing Business Schools Engaging with Business
02 March, 2021 New York, United States

Business Schools Engaging with Business

Dear PRME Friends,

As we are close to entering the second year of living with COVID-19, concern is rising for how our students manage isolated experiences. The hard realities of this milestone have put new strains on what should have been a physical, socially embracing student-life experience, challenging faculty to navigate the new demands of online teaching and engaging business schools Deans, Directors and Professors to innovatively rethink management education within these constraints. In the PRME Chapter Talks Webinar Series, these issues are among the most prominent that are being debated in the PRME communities from around the world.

Yet, in the midst of the pandemic - while the pandemic is challenging business school routines, our economies, our students, and our engagement with our students - there also seems to be a renewed need for business schools and a refreshed call for us to engage. In the February 2021 UN Global Compact Local Network survey, that is sent to the 68 UN Global Compact Local Networks, 77,5 % express their support for strengthening collaboration with academic institutions (7% are ‘not sure’). When asked what kind of collaborations with business schools they consider ‘most valuable’, 25% respond ‘dialogue between business leaders and research/educational experts’. This is what some would call thought leadership debates. 19% of Local Networks state that ‘research collaborations to find solutions for specific industry or challenges’ is a main priority, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that 19% states that ‘collaborative advocacy for policy change (e.g. developing white papers/policy recommendations)’ are considered a valuable collaborative effort across business and business schools. Among some of the other highly-valued business-business school engagements are ‘business contributing to thematic educational programs’, ‘business engaging with students (recruitment, internships, case competitions)’, and ‘institutional partnerships & joint fundraising’.

I can imagine – and I have over the past ten months with the PRME Community witnessed -- many other important and impactful business-business school collaborations, that are already occurring and setting new tones and directions for how we can change the world for the better, together. As we develop PRME’s future strategy and our future engagement with UN Global Compact, these are important collaborations to explore further.

From mid-January 2021, the PRME Secretariat has engaged in nine of the twelve UNGC Working Streams that serve to operationalise the UNGC strategy towards a decision in May 2021. Our decision to engage with so much effort, comes from support of the PRME Community to respond to a long-overdue integration with and much-welcomed opening of novel PRME-UNGC collaborations. This is just to say that there are exciting and refreshed opportunities for PRME to engage with UNGC, and accordingly for business schools to engage with business in new and creative ways.

My main observation here is, that, in the midst of a terrifying global pandemic crisis, I am delighted to witness the invitation for business schools to rethink how we engage with business to achieve collective impact for societal betterment.

I hope that you will submit your great ideas to contribute to this conversation to PRME Global Forum 16-17 June, 2021. Deadline for submissions is 15 March.

Warm regards,

Mette Morsing

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