What brought most business schools to pre-pandemic success was relevant in-person education, sprinkled with online learning. Willingly or reluctantly, within weeks Covid-19 kicked all business schools into the online world. Most did very well. They tried things out, learned from mistakes, and improved all aspects of their value creation.
By the end of 2021 and coming out of the pandemic spirits were high, and demand looked good. The agenda of most leaders included impact on their business school from the digital transformation, the great resignation, the need to embed principles of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging, and the necessity to commit to positive societal impact. What could possibly go wrong? What brought us here will bring us in the bright-looking future, right?
Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world changed dramatically once more. West imposed sanctions on the culprit, companies and educated people left Russia, and millions of Ukrainians are now refugees in Europe. The West and NATO have never been more unified and determined to resist the neo-imperialism in economic, geopolitical, and military terms. This shift has many consequences and perhaps most of all increased uncertainty for all of us. The longer-term impact on world trade, global financial systems, multinational business, and business education remains to be seen.
The upcoming EFMD Annual Conference theme – What brought us here might not get us there – alludes to a very human challenge to let go of the past and take a fresh look at what’s next. This is easier said than done. The conference has been designed to both acknowledge the current situation and enable delegates to take a fresh look at what might be coming next. Presentations and discussions may inspire but, most importantly, after 2 ½ years, delegates will network with professional friends and colleagues in three dimensions!
A first plenary will address how the changing geopolitical context impacts global talent acquisition. From here delegates can choose to learn more about micro-credentials, new faculty models, what business skills are in demand, and how the pandemic changed student preferences.
The second plenary is devoted to the changing, or new realities of work. A qualified group of colleagues will discuss new employment models and what this means for companies and business schools.
A third plenary will take a deep dive into the philosophy of education and how education has adapted over time to create value for people and society. In turn, this will set the stage for the opportunity to engage with three more topics: academic freedom and free speech, the human approach to leadership in a digital world, and examples of how business schools have come together to practice humanism – helping Ukrainian refugees.
The closing plenary will showcase global best practices and innovations around sustainable management education drawn from EFMD member schools.
All in all, EFMD has lined up some 30 experts and colleagues from business schools to inspire and fuel the discourse about the education that engages about 1/5 of students in higher education worldwide.