In early January I read an excellent article in the New York Times - Multicultural Business Theory. At B-School?. The article was about the efforts of Roger Martin, the dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, to transform business education.
About a decade ago, Professor Martin began advocating “what was then a radical idea in business education: that students needed to learn how to think critically and creatively every bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting. More specifically, they needed to learn how to approach problems from many perspectives and to combine various approaches to find innovative solutions.”
“Learning how to think critically - how to imaginatively frame questions and consider multiple perspectives - has historically been associated with a liberal arts education, not a business school curriculum, so this change represents something of a tectonic shift for business school leaders. Mr. Martin even describes his goal as a kind of liberal arts M.B.A. ‘The liberal arts desire,’ he says, is to produce ‘holistic thinkers who think broadly and make these important moral decisions. I have the same goal.’”
Martin’s ideas may have been radical ten years ago. “But even before the financial upheaval last year, business executives operating in a fast-changing, global market were beginning to realize the value of managers who could think more nimbly across multiple frameworks, cultures and disciplines. The financial crisis underscored those concerns - at business schools and in the business world itself.”