Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do business schools need to offer more humanities courses?

Yes, according to Santiago Iñiguez de Ozoño, dean of the IE Business School in Madrid, which is one of the very top tier European b-schools.  In a recent piece he did for Business Week, he sees two needs.  First b-schools should help students develop "managerial virtues," which he defines as "operative good habits that are not innate but achieved through constant exercise," including "hard work, endurance, self-organization, sociability, curiosity, modesty, and common sense." To do this, traditional classes need to be augmented by one-on-one and small group sessions with faculty and coaches. 

Second, he would add humanities-based instruction to the curriculum, such as courses on modern art, critical thinking or foreign cultures.  IE has formed a partnership with Brown University to offer a unique executive MBA with an enhanced humanities perspective.

I am curious as to whether Jenkins MBA faculty and students think we need to be thinking about these issues.  Please comment.  


  1. I think a good number of the characteristics listed "hard work, endurance, self-organization, sociability, curiosity, modesty, and common sense." are either present in our Jenkins MBA students or just can't be taught. For example, how do you teach common sense?

    What business schools really need to focus on is quant skills and their application, and resist adding more fluff.

  2. I find that in my profession, critical thinking is a vital job skill. Often I am given vast amounts of data. Some of the data is useful and some is not. Ultimately, I must be able to discern which data is necessary. If I don't have the information I need, I have to be able to determine how to get the information. Critical thinking and creativity are very important for my work.

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