What Business Schools Need To Teach

This is a post I was asked to write.

The questions posed was:  “What do you think Business Schools need to do a better job of teaching?  Here goes but given the potential weight of this post I’m going to most stick to a list vs. narrative:

The New Corporation — the Federated Enterprise (JV’s, Partnerships and Strategic Alliances).  The corporation of tomorrow is an amalgam of various other enterprises that come together in a specific deal, to deliver a specific product or service, for a finite life cycle.  Studying the old NYSE listing corporate parent and financials just isn’t very relevant anymore.

Small/Medium Sized Business Capitalization Tables, Debt Structures and Pro-Forma Financials.  In a world where you need capital to be successful at almost anything anymore the most complicated cap tables today don’t have just common stock and bank debt — they have various classes of common, multiple series of convertible preferred — with warrants and convert options — and multiple tranches of short-term and longer-term debt.  Often sizing this up is a non-trivial matter :).  None – I repeat none of the B School grads I’ve met can digest a complicated cap table post-graduation without hand holding.

Worker Types, Pay Cycles, Employee Taxes and Benefit Plans/Approaches.  Its gotten really complicated out there and the old full-time/part-time bi-monthly payroll world with one set of benefits is dying fast.   Understanding the workforce is a critical part of any business and Business Schools are way behind on this one.  These are now critical components to attracting and retaining key talent — and theres a lot more custom crafted programs in place than schools realize.

Intellectual Property Definitions & Protections.  In a high tech world with workforce of knowledge workers — “advantage” is often cerebral nowadays.  Knowing what we own and how we can protect it is a big part of today’s factory operations.

Doing Competitive Company and Principal R&D Using Web & Social Media.  There’s no excuse for not knowing who your competitors are and what they’re thinking given the wide sea of data out there today.  Mine it – hard.

Networking as a Weapon.  When you get out of school you should have already learned how to set-up and nurture a people network.  Of mentors, of missionaries, of peers and of potential enablers.  Being competent is necessary as a floor for your success but being connected is really what will help accelerate it.

Producing Cohesive Written Documents.  I mean REALLY — where did this skill die?  I constantly see muddled, thrown together, half thought out, typo laden stuff .  I don’t care how great or engaging an oral communicator you are — business still runs on written documents (digital or paper) and when you serve up crap that’s exactly what I think of you and your idea.  Learn this at school — practice writing business plans, competitive assessments, product idea presentations — and then edit and refine them over and over until this becomes second nature.

Cheers!  DC

About dougcurling

a compassionate capitalist
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One Response to What Business Schools Need To Teach

  1. cavegirlmba says:

    Good one, and totally right. An idea for another article: what should they teach less?

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