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Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, shares details of the future strategy for our Business School. 

Our Business School was the topic of a recent Executive Board lunch that I hosted with Professor Sharon Mavin, Director of the school. This event gave us the chance to share our ideas for the future, but also prompted a fascinating discussion around cross working, entrepreneurship and innovation, employability and student experience that I felt should be shared with the wider university. 

As a faculty and school we want to be ambitious and innovative in our future plans. We want to be globally renowned for delivering excellence in the future of work and developing leaders for a future they can shape. This is a challenge as we are developing leaders for work that is yet to be designed, using technology yet to be invented, to solve problems we don't yet know exist... But if we can achieve this we can make an impact locally, nationally and internationally. 

As you might expect we have spent considerable time thinking about next steps and how we can make this happen. There seems to be some clear areas of focus. We have to create global graduates. To do this we need to determine what employers require from our students, so we can equip them with the right skills. This involves building relationships with employers and being clever about how these relationships are managed and how the conversation is captured, so that the university as a whole benefits. This might involve building and sharing relationships so that we can make the most of the opportunities available to us. 

Consider a graduate that is resilient and adaptable in ambiguity, open-minded and who demonstrates curiosity. Committed to diversity, socially and ethically responsible and who can articulate their personal values. A critical thinker and an innovative leader /manager who values research. They can communicate and relate effectively to others in cross-cultural environments. They can operate effectively in teams, understand organisations and manage projects and change in different cultures. They can analyse complex data and engage with digital futures. They take personal responsibility for learning and high performance. This is our global graduate of the future, a graduate who is prepared for the future of work.

We know that these are the skills employers are looking for and that many of these are traditional academic skills, what we need to do is articulate this in a way that is useful to students so that when they graduate they are ‘career ready’.   

We know that comparator and aspirant business schools have a set of ‘competitive attributes’ to provide students with an edge in the job market; the employability and professional skills to succeed in their chosen career, whether they are leading cross-cultural teams in large organisations or starting their own businesses. We need to make sure that we are doing the same.  

To achieve this we need to work across the university, this might be to provide business students with basic coding, or equipping our students in the creative sector with basic business management skills to thrive as an entrepreneur. The opportunities are endless, and we have so much expertise internally that we can tap into and this really came across at the lunch. It has inspired me to think even more creatively. 

We will be discussing this topic in more detail at the Future of Work stimulas event being held 13th June 2018, please do save this date in your diaries if you would like to join in the conversation and look out for further details in the New year.

Professor Julie Sanders

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Elect

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities and Social Sciences)


published on: 13th December 2017


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