Business School

WATCH: Leading Business School Deans on Meeting Today’s Talent Challenge

October 21, 2013  • Nancy McGaw

Are today’s business schools building a supply of leaders who can act wisely and effectively, and who can balance public and private interests? This question was at the heart of discussions at a recent symposium in New York City on the future of business education hosted by the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program.

Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson moderated a conversation between Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Dean Sally Blount and University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business Dean Rich Lyons. The deans discussed how their schools are tackling the challenge and equipping students to understand the public/private interface to create value for their organizations and society as a whole.

At Kellogg, Blount said, students are expected to “think bravely.” As Blount explained, “We believe that business can be bravely led, passionately collaborative, and world changing.” Students use this motto as they work to solve business problems in classrooms across Kellogg.

Lyons reported that at Haas they are committed to developing “path-bending” leaders, and have identified the guiding principles that define the kinds of graduates they aspire to produce. These principles have been shared widely with students, faculty, and alumni. And these same principles have become a part of every aspect of the Haas experience — from recruitment to admissions to class discussions to alumni engagement.

During the symposium, the Business & Society Program also recognized this year’s Faculty Pioneer Award winners and finalists (more information here). These exemplary faculty members are teaching classes that ensure students ask and answer profound questions about the purpose of business. They also help students develop the mindset, knowledge and skills that allow them to understand and balance public and private interests.

One need not look any further than the recent shutdown of the US federal government, with its wide-ranging implications for business, to understand how critical it is for business schools to prepare their students to act in ways that reflect deep understanding of the interdependence of the public and private sector.

More details about how schools are responding to this challenge will be made available soon at