Offers ISB courses for MBA graduates

Find your own master

Is there a rethinking of training and further education taking place in the economy? And: What alternatives are there to the mainstream?

From Elvira Wiegers

The global economic crisis is raging like a pandemic. The head roll in the executive suite is now followed by mass layoffs at the grassroots level. The newspapers fill with news of bankruptcies and plant closures.

For many it is clear: greed, megalomania and excessive speculation are to blame for the economic misery. International laws and regulations should prevent managers from short-term profit maximization in the future, but it is not that simple: How do managers and financial managers learn long-term thinking and more responsible action? It is not enough to tighten the controls, the change must come from within. The leverage must start with training.

The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" published a critical article about the study of business administration (BWL) at the beginning of June. In it, Peter Ulrich, Director of the Institute for Business Ethics at the University of St. Gallen (HSG), considers a realignment of this specialist discipline to be urgently necessary, "because there, corporate management is viewed solely from the logic of the market". But ethics lectures alone are not enough; rather, ethical responsibility issues need to be linked with specific business administration issues. "Actually, this interdisciplinary knowledge as well as the critical questioning of developments has always been a central mandate of universities, but that has largely been lost, especially in economics and technology," adds Arno Rolf, computer science professor at the University of Hamburg.

Around the same time, the University of St. Gallen organized an event for alumni entitled “HSG and Crisis - Responsibility, Teaching and Building Trust”. The first presentation was made by Christoph Blocher on the question of whether the liberal economic model had failed. The invitation of this tough neoliberal suggests that the HSG is probably not walking on the path of serious self-criticism. Talking or even expressing criticism is mostly done behind closed doors (unless you are an ethics professor). For example, that the young people should first study something real, engineering or natural sciences, before they can get the polish in business administration. Or that a business degree without practical relevance is pointless.

MBA ...

Björn Johansson does not want to speak of a failure in the training and further education of top managers. According to BusinessWeek, the HSG graduate is one of the most influential headhunters in the world. Johansson believes, however, that there are a few things that can be improved. Responsible corporate management, so-called corporate governance, should be taught more and more. In addition, the inclusion of environmental and ethical issues in training should be given greater weight. The manager thinks little of the title of MBA (Master of Business Administration), a clean bill for a quick climb to every executive floor: “It is offered on every corner today. You can buy this title. He is no longer worth anything. "

For decades, these three letters have shaped the thinking of executives all over the world. Today, more than 100,000 MBAs are awarded annually around the world. The costs of this further training are up to CHF 100,000 or more.

The “Financial Times” recently addressed the complicity of MBA providers in the global economic crisis in an article. While non-American university deans in particular consider fundamental changes in education and training to be necessary, their colleagues in the USA tend to believe that selective adjustments are sufficient to reform the system.

The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne is one of the most renowned training centers for the future business elite. The IMD was created in 1990 from the merger of the company's own management teams from Nestlé and Alcan. Bettina Büchel works at the IMD as a professor of strategy and organization: “The MBA is only a small part of what we offer. We also offer various training courses in crisis management. We have not only been addressing the harmful effects of greedy and short-sighted managers on the economy and society since yesterday. " But the catch, according to Büchel, is: "Back in the company, you first have to be able to implement what you have learned." Often, despite good ideas, you fail because of the operational structure or a lack of internal support. "That is why it is important that the training centers work more closely with the company's HR managers and decision-makers." Change is never easy and always has to be carried by more than one person. Short-term thinking continues to dominate in many companies. “For example, in times of crisis, of all things, the training and further education budgets are reduced. You should do exactly the opposite. "

... and alternatives

There are interesting alternatives to the conventional training and further education opportunities. The Association Management Institute (VMI) - part of the University of Freiburg - specializes in nonprofit organizations (NPOs). The VMI offers various courses on the management and financing of an association, foundation, cooperative or other non-profit organization. There is even an MBA for NPOs on offer. However, you have to dig relatively deep into your pocket for this alternative variant.

The Institute for Social Banking (ISB), founded in 2006, offers one of the world's most interesting contrasting programs for financial managers and bankers. The ISB in Bochum, Germany is a pilot project by twelve alternative financial institutions from nine European countries. Since 2007 it has been possible to complete an internationally recognized Master of Social Banking and Social Finance here. Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS) is also one of the co-founders of the ISB. According to Edy Walker, member of the ABS executive board, people in our part of the world have never been as well educated as they are today, "but this has not done much to solve the most urgent problems". Rather, this is a question of the value system of individuals, companies and society, and this is exactly what the ISB focuses on. Sven Remer, ISB lecturer and MBA graduate, puts it in concrete terms: “The big difference to the MBA or any other conventional further education is that we do not simply take over the business administration theory from the textbook and use it. Instead, we start with practice and either develop the existing theory further or build our own theory. " This approach not only sounds logical, but is also intelligent: In this way, the students do not even run the risk of blindly chewing on what already exists. Instead, they are forced to deal with reality, in other words with the contradictions of life, instead of ignoring it when it does not fit into the textbook. Remer's conclusion: “In everything, the focus is always on people and all their needs. This may include profit considerations, but also clean air or fair working conditions. "

Experts advise: Find your own formula

What options do people have who neither want to study at the HSG nor at the IMD and are neither willing nor able to pay a large sum for further training? Where, for example, can employees of an alternative company develop their financial and economic skills?

from an HSG professor who does not want to see his name in the WOZ: “If you already have a master's degree, you don't necessarily need another. Instead, you should take targeted further training, for example in an SME intensive course or an entrepreneurial seminar. "

of the headhunter Björn Johansson: “You should choose something that pleases the heart and corresponds to your own interests. What you do is less important than that you finish it. In addition, good grades alone do not mean anything. There is no correlation between good grades and success in business. "

From Edy Walker, member of the executive board of the Alternative Bank (ABS): «My advice for people - not just bankers - who have anything to do with finance: a further education to become a Master of Social Banking and Social Finance. However, this internationally recognized qualification also has its price: 25,000 to 30,000 francs. But after all, this is a unique pioneering project that promises a stimulating exchange of experiences and exciting networking. "

from Claudia Nielsen, SP politician and managing director of the international microcredit organization Oikocredit German Switzerland: “Unfortunately, many companies attach little importance to further training. Another problem is the increasing specialization in training, in which the view for the whole is lost. The good thing about Switzerland is that you can use almost any training or further education as a starting point for your professional career. The only question is how you can use this knowledge later and how well you network inside and outside the company. " • • •

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