Creating competent and socially responsible business leadersBy Frederick A. Halcon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”—John Dewey
According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), every year there are about a hundred thousand graduates of business management. Business-related degrees are popular because they are seen as relevant and flexible means to employment. Yet the world is dynamic and businesses evolve quite rapidly. In addition, we are faced with social and environmental challenges that have a tremendous impact on how business organizations are run.
In a country mired in poverty and challenged by climate change and natural disasters, there is also a growing push for social and environmental responsibility.
Given these challenges, how can academic institutions prepare business leaders for the real world?
This article presents two innovative ways by which women’s colleges prepare their business graduates.
I conducted a 15-month study of innovations in business education employed by two women’s colleges, namely Assumption College and St. Scholastica’s College and found that both schools capitalize on industry-academe partnerships.
Both schools of business in these women’s colleges take pride in making industry practitioners as their partners in educating their students. Industry practitioners are hired as part of the faculty lineup of both schools in order to complement the academic rigors taught to the young women of today.
Industry practitioners share their business acumen through real life experiences in the entrepreneurial/corporate world.
Thus, students are encouraged to think, relate and integrate concepts with that of actual business practice.
In addition to having practitioners as teachers, both schools require their students to undergo an on-the-job training (OJT) prior to thesis writing and defense. Through this, students are exposed to real-life business practices of leading corporations here in the Philippines.
Beyond understanding of business, both business schools highlight social responsibility as a key ingredient in their delivery of business education.
Perhaps because both schools are grounded or anchored on solid Catholic teachings and principles, there are strong efforts in both schools to integrate environmental awareness, business ethics, community development and empowerment in its curriculum.
Young women, who are aspiring marketers, entrepreneurs and business leaders, are made aware of the social issues through community immersion with partner/adopted communities.
The study highlighted how educational institutions have moved away from traditional approaches to teaching and innovated to ensure that their students not only have the competence to meet the changing needs of business but also be business leaders with a heart.
(Dr. Frederick A. Halcon is an associate professor and faculty researcher of Assumption College’s Social Research Center and a lecturer of the International Business Economics and Diplomacy (I-BEAD) department of St. Scholastica’s College Manila. He specializes in the fields of college mathematics, operations research, qualitative research and innovations in business education.)
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