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Since McGill University professor Henry Mintzberg famously pointed out that MBA programmes were labouring under irrelevant curriculums and producing graduates well versed in theory but weak in practice, business schools around the world have been wrestling with the question of relevance.
It’s a discomfort that has intensified in the past decade in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and now, with the onset of the fourth industrial revolution that threatens to remake the world as we know it.
At the heart of the debate is the question of what we, as business schools, teach. The anxiety is that the theory of business does not explain or inform practice fully and to be effective in business you must be grounded in practice. Aristotle sums it up more poetically: "Nor is wisdom only concerned with universals: to be wise, one must also be familiar with the particular, since wisdom has to do with action, and the sphere of action is constituted by particulars".
How can business schools ...
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