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The next generation of MBAs

By Della Bradshaw Published: November 13 2 ! 1": # $ %ast updated: November 13 2 ! 1": #

& decade a'o( it was the fashion for )* business schools to appoint a business leader( rather than an academic( as dean: few lasted the course. &t Boston )niversity( however( former +ord mana'er %ouis %ataif has been dean of the school of mana'ement for the past 1, years. -his( he .uips( is probably 12 years lon'er than even the most optimistic faculty member 'ave him at the time. -he faculty( he says wryly( were 'lad to 'et him because they also 'ot a new buildin' as part of the pac/a'e 0 at the time it claimed to be the lar'est ever construction pro1ect for a business school. -hey were probably less impressed when( on his first day in the 1ob( he announced he was launchin' a curriculum review on the basis that what was bein' tau'ht then was wron'. 23f you thin/ about what a PhD is( you become ever narrower(4 he ar'ues. 25our dissertation finely ma/es you an e6pert on some small( little thin'.4 -his is not particularly helpful for 7B& or under'raduate business students( he believes 0 Boston )niversity has both. 28e need to teach people to do thin's holistically...Part of the problem of education is who the suppliers are.4 9iven his forthri'ht views on the sub1ect of mana'ement education( some mi'ht be surprised to learn that 7r %ataif( now ## years old( survived so lon' as dean of the school. But these days his philosophy of mana'ement education( once radical( is becomin' increasin'ly mainstream. 3ndeed( it is so widely supported within the school and has created such wide interest outside it( that Boston )niversity is runnin' pro'rammes for other business schools on how to chan'e the way they teach. %ast month the school hosted its third conference for other schools wantin' to teach the Boston way. &t the heart or 7r %ataif:s philosophy is that mana'ement teachin' should fuse the arts( sciences and business( that faculty from different disciplines should teach pro'rammes to'ether and that the school buildin' should be used to develop this re'ime rather than hinder it. 23 do thin/ physical space chan'es behaviour(4 says 7r %ataif. Because of this he was instrumental in redesi'nin' the plans for the business school when he too/ the dean:s 1ob( discardin' the previous architect:s drawin's in order to build a school where all the rooms loo/ inward( facin' each other across a central well. 8hen rooms in the new buildin' were allocated( faculty were not allowed to form departmental silos; all had to mi6. -hese days the dean:s views are the stuff of popular business school debate but thou'h many accept his ar'uments( few have implemented them( he believes. 2*ince 3 was a student , years a'o the word cross<functional has been used. But who is actually doin' it=4 -o do it you have to start with a core of believers( he says. 2-hey do course & and 'et e6cited. -hen more of them develop course B. 5ou have to start somewhere and then

develop it.4 8hen new faculty are appointed they are 2believers4( he says. %i/e many( he is not convinced that the tenure trac/ system that dominates )* mana'ement education is conducive to such chan'es. 23f you:re a tenure trac/ professor( the .uestion is: >8hat:s in it for you=: ?&s a dean@ you have to create incentives.4 Ane incentive practised at Boston is to 'ive 1.! or two course credits for a sin'le course tau'ht with faculty from other disciplines( he says. 7r %ataif has lon'<believed that the most effective chief e6ecutives have been trained as scientists and so thin/ differently from other mana'ers. -his is somethin' he wanted to replicate at Boston. 2Business school minds thin/ vertically; scientists thin/ horiBontally(4 he as<serts. 2Business schools fall far short of wirin' our minds to become 'reat leaders.4 &ll of which led to a new style 7B&( the 7B&<7*c. -he school launched its 7*<7B& in 2 1( a dual de'ree that teaches technolo'y as well as mana'ement. 23 thin/ what we are really about is the ne6t 'eneration 7B&...Cow wor/ is done today is immeasurably different to what it was 1 years a'o(4 says 7r %ataif. 23f we can create people who do this wor/ better we all win. -echnolo'y is how we are doin' it these days.4 5ears of professional mana'ement tau'ht 7r %ataif that an understandin' of technolo'y was critical to 'ood mana'ement in the 21st century. 2-omorrow:s leaders need to understand technolo'y in the same way as today:s understand accountin' and finance(4 he believes. But the school has been havin' a hard time persuadin' the uninitiated that the pro'ramme is for more than 1ust the avera'e techie. 2*tudents are less convinced than recruiters(4 he says. -he aim of the course( he continues( 2is to turn out first<rate 'eneral mana'ers4( but many still need convincin'. +or a man with such a stron' business bac/'round( it is perhaps surprisin' that 7r %ataif should 'ive up a 2"<year career in the +ord motor company 0 most latterly as president of +ord of Durope 0 to become a business school dean at all. &s the son of a %ebanese immi'rant 0 his father was in the ru' business 0 education was hi'hly valued. 7r %ataif earned his under'raduate de'ree from Boston )niversity and an 7B& from Carvard( before eventually returnin' to his alma mater. 23 thou'ht there was nothin' more noble than to be involved in trainin' the ne6t 'eneration of minds(4 he says. -rainin' the sort of 7B& 'raduates whom recruiters want to employ may not be so noble( but it is certainly 'ettin' him and his school noticed.