Students must think out of the box: IE Dean Iniguez

Interior of IE Business School facilities in MadridThis article was written by May George and published at South China Morning Post on August 16.

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degrees exist in abundance worldwide. They are there to help business executives and entrepreneurs learn the rudiments of finance, accounting and management. But the dean of the IE Business School in Madrid, Santiago Iniguez de Ozono, feels that business schools, while teaching management skills, are neglecting to teach their students creativity.

One distinctive feature of our MBA programme is entrepreneurship,” said Professor Iniguez. “It is not just us who talks about this but also recruiters and students, who talk about this entrepreneurial verve in our graduates, regardless whether they work for a large corporation, a family business or create their own company. This is something very distinctive. We ask core participants to create their own businesses. We also have a venture lab. We also tell them about the many opportunities on the web and what opportunities the new technological environment will bring them.”
Professor Iniguez feels that business schools should take more responsibility in ensuring their students learn more creativity in their studies; out-of-the-box thinking that adds value to the set subjects that every other business school teaches.

In Hong Kong, Kevin Au Yuk-fai, associate professor at the Department of Management and associate director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Chinese University, agrees. He said that one of the distinctive features of the Faculty of Business Administration’s MBA course was entrepreneurship, allowing students to think for themselves and create business scenarios while sometimes working in a multidisciplinary team.

“I tend to agree with [Mr Iniguez]…

It’s quite difficult for a lot of the business students to be creative. Thereâ??s been a long debate in business schools on whether business schools should be professional schools or a research school. In recent years, it looks like the research school side has been dominant. To a certain extent the schools are looking for ranking and research is something that the ranking system will look into.”

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Innoversity: Innovation and diversity in enterprise

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June 2008 | By Yanire Braña, Director of the MET Program at IE Business School

Forget established patterns of behaviors. Innovation plays a key role in growing a business and making it profitable. But companies also have to remember to include diversity in the equation.

In an age where attracting talent and brand power are fundamental, many companies have been forced to cultivate their uniqueness, looking for new ways of developing the values and factors that enable them to do just that. Accordingly, they turn to innovation as the only way to maintain or create a new competitive edge that can be sustained over time.

The most innovative enterprises are aware that innovating is not simply creating or modifying products and services, but rather it is sometimes important to create an infrastructure of people and processes that allows them to respond to all their current and future needs.

The need to grow their business and making it profitable makes companies occasionally focus exclusively on their competitors, customers and employees, but what happens with other factors? Business reality tells us that customer retention and loyalty strategies are often designed but that they do not always include employees and often overlook an important potential market: non-customers and non-employees. Then there are the difficulties involved in learning about this particular segment, which is the result of massive demographic, economic and sociocultural change and often fails to present the kind of segmentation criteria that makes for in-depth knowledge. New technologies make it easy for enterprises to see beyond their traditional sources of advantage, but sometimes this is not enough to actually innovate or the renew competitive advantage. In order to maximize all the options, companies also need to invest in discovering the differences among their customers and employees that can take them beyond existing demand and open up the door to a new mass of customers and employees that did not exist until now.

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