You need to think a lot about social issues, not only business issues

Professors joined forces to bring practice and theory closer together. It all started from shared frustration.

20.03.2015

Mark Esposito and Terence Tse could be seen as an odd couple.

Mark, Associate Professor of Business and Economics at Grenoble School of Management and at Harvard University Extension, teaches systems thinking and modern business dilemmas among other subjects. He is the founding director of Lab-Center for Competitiveness, a think tank that studies “competitiveness as a bottom up approach towards the creation of equality in society”. His next book ”From Hubris to Disgrace” is due to be released this year.

Terence, Associate Professor of Finance, teaches at ESCP Europe, on top of several top business schools around Europe and China. ”My teaching approach also reflects my industry experience”, he says. ”Before joining academia, I worked in mergers and acquisitions at Schroders, Citibank and Lazard Brothers in Montréal and New York. I also worked in London as a consultant at Earnst & Young focusing on UK financial services.”

Together the two have created the Business 360 module - a course breaking the barriers between finance and sociology, combining business thinking and understanding the society as a whole. ”We look at everything through a socio-economics lens”, they state. The first Business 360 module was tailored for Porto Business School, Portugal, further introduced at the IE Business School in Spain.

MARK: ”It started from our frustration of students not being able to read The Financial Times or  The Economist when they graduated. It is not enough to understand only your own narrow field of finance or business - you need to be able to see what is happening around you on a broader scale.”

TERENCE: ”This is something Mark is really good at: Painting the social and economical issues so that we understand where things are leading in the future.”

MARK: ”We want the Business 360 module to be very up-to-date. We talk about what is current - at the last course about the oil price, for example. Terence is a financial professor, so he’ll bring that point-of-view to the discussion. I bring socio-economics.”

TERENCE: ”It can be frustrating to see MBA students, too, who are very much restricted in their own field. We try to pull everyone out of their own comfort zones. Ask themselves the question: What is really going on in the bigger picture? 

Also, we force people to come out of their own geographical comfort zone: You all know China will have a major impact on you and your business, but what do you really know about the country?”

MARK: ”The MBA students read The Financial Times, yes, but often very selectively. They tend to read about things they already know.”

TERENCE: ”If you want to create a more sustainable society, you need to think a lot about social issues, not only business issues.”

MARK: ”We are talking about the bridge between theory and practice. This is what business schools should be doing, but they have become very academic. Our contribution is to try to build the bridge.”

TERENCE: ”This is what brought us together: Passion to actually make an impact on the world.”

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