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Reviews, Strategy

Uncensored, contemporary academic insights from St Andrews

Almost a year has passed since I applied for the Masters in International Business at the University of St Andrews. I remember it was raining heavily while I was working on the cover letter for my application, trying to find the right words to describe my expectations (ultimately ‘a promising balance between theory and research’). Now I’m living in Scottish student accommodation and have been officially enrolled in St Andrews since September. Listening to the raindrops again, it is time to share my reflections on one of the core modules of International Business with you, namely ‘Contemporary Global Issues in Management’ (funnily my professors had the same idea).

MDG‘Contemporary Global Issues in Management’ is one of three courses taught in the first semester (‘Martinmas’). It consists of a weekly, two-hour lecture and a tutorial. The latter is more interactive and aims at deepening our knowledge by linking it to our experiences. In class, we discuss many interesting things (or ‘key issues’ in business terms) like the economic crisis, health care, justice, climate change, and sustainability. This may sound very broad to some of you (and I must admit it is). It is complex due to its ‘global’ nature (and therefore worth studying). Now, don’t get too confused by the expression ‘contemporary’. Even though the module brings contemporary issues to our mind, it also brings an understanding of the underlying causes and profound historical developments that led to these circumstances. This module particularly helps me to understand the complexity and volatility of the world in which we live, while other modules provide me with a variety of tools (‘best practices’) to tackle the aforementioned challenges (even though we rather say ‘opportunities’).

In the future most of us will work in multi-national organisations whose strategy is not only determined by contemporary global issues, but who can substantially shape the environment themselves (‘bidirectional stakeholders’). The degree in International Business will eventually allow me to successfully and sustainably manage an enterprise, because I can make well-balanced decisions in fast-moving dynamic environments. Also, I see an important link between the aforementioned module and my degree in the ability to reflect, to constantly challenge my thinking, because my values and beliefs might not hold true elsewhere (so be aware of your distorted views!).

What are your experiences with business studies?



2 thoughts on “Uncensored, contemporary academic insights from St Andrews

  1. Great thoughts of an even greater mind – Thank you for sharing!

    I see business school education as a potential cause of a crisis that might have worse impacts on the world’s economy than the 2008 financial crisis: a business elite crisis!

    I have been educated in a system that comes close to a religious believe in mathematical rationality and analysis. Some professors and companies trust Excel-sheets and PowerPoint-presentations as the tools to control the world. That is exactly why the financial markets were on the brink five years ago. Nevertheless, the business schools continue to preach the technocratic world view, plant that into their offspring’s mind and gradually reduce their thinking. Something is going wrong!

    We need to start making serious thoughts about the selection and shaping of future managers. In the business elite education it is crucial to move away from the economic value of education and towards humanistic ideals. Personally, I always wanted to shape the future of the business world. Not for monetary reasons, but rather to make this world a better place.

    The deep and wide approach of the module “Contemporary Global Issues in Management” has taught me the underlying drivers of various global trends and their impacts on economics, organisations and management. The focus on ecological and social factors has planted a humanistic view into my mind that I will draw upon in my future management career. I particularly want to highlight the importance of understanding the impact of our own actions on others in the case of international business. Globalisation has elevated the urge of coping with different cultural backgrounds. After completing the module I find myself in a world of ecological and social awareness, which I combine with ideas and creativity to improve the world. Applying this mind-set to management is the only way to merge humanity and economic success.

    Today’s business education is building an army of sand smooth, uniform thinking Excel-sheet jugglers that are striving for their own success without regards to ecological and social impacts. The module “Contemporary Global Issues in Management” is an effective approach to stop this army from marching into the business world.

    Posted by Tobi | December 7, 2013, 11:10 am
  2. Keep up the good work Ben ! Cheers.

    Posted by Tara Mathew | February 2, 2014, 5:05 pm

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