Business schools today must hone students’ leadership skills and prepare them for a new world of companies without borders, says Stanford Graduate School of Business dean Garth Saloner in a video interview recently published by McKinsey Quarterly.
In the aftermath of the economic crisis, employers need MBA graduates to come in with leadership and “people” skills, says Saloner. Financing, accounting, supply chain management–these hard skills are widely available across the board, “But the soft-set skills, the real leadership, the ability to work with others and through others to execute–that is still in very scarce supply,” says the dean.
Leadership skills have to be taught experientially, not through lectures, Saloner explains, which is a dramatic departure from management education of 15 or 20 years ago. Saloner also points to several recent curriculum changes at Stanford designed to better prepare students for the global marketplace.
- A new quarter of “Perspectives” introduces students to the very broad issues they will face as managers.
- A small, first-quarter seminar in critical and analytical thinking has been introduced. Each week, students work in groups to tackle a virtually impossible problem with little background material, write a paper on it, and then debate the issue in class.
- The GSB now has a global education requirement where every student, typically during the first year, must go abroad to a country where they’ve had no previous life or work experience.