On September 29, 2014, the six deans of the Council on Business & Society came together on the ESSEC campus in Cergy for the first, and very successful, Deans’ Paris Seminar. The seminar was intended to be a work meeting where the deans could begin to prepare the 2015 Forum and also to discuss the future initiatives of the Council.
The seminar began with a welcome dinner on Sunday evening at The Auberge Ravoux, a French historic landmark known as the House of Van Gogh, and was concluded by a dinner debate at the Château de Versailles. In between the great cultural activities, the working meeting and debate served as a rich forum for exchange. In addition to the fruitful discussions that helped carve out the agenda for the 2015 Forum in Boston, the deans also had the opportunity to dialogue with representatives from McKinsey, the OECD and Philippe Joubert, former CEO of Alstom Power; Senior Advisor, World Business Council for Sustainable Development as well as alumni and students from each of the member schools about the alliance and what its future activities should include.
The main subject discussed was the Council’s International Forum. Mark your calendars; the 2015 Forum is scheduled to take place in Boston on September 25, 2015. As a way to really emphasize our added value in the fields of energy and sustainable development, we are changing the way we do things this year. One main question that was discussed at length during the seminar was what we as business schools should really be focusing on in regards to the umbrella theme during the forum. The answer: next year’s forum will not concentrate on the general issues surrounding energy and the environment that are currently being addressed all over the world, but instead we will focus on the impact that business schools can have on these issues, especially in regards to the new set of capabilities that energy producers and users, investors and policy regulators will need to tackle the challenges raised by this industry. The idea of the forum is not to “solve” the issues at hand, but to “examine” and look at them from different perspectives.
In addition to our International Forum that takes place every 18 months, the deans also discussed expanding our activities to include the following:
The Council Index
Business schools are no longer a traditional knowledge transmitter, but a platform for connecting education, business and society. In order to facilitate that network of exchange, the Council would like to build a new platform that would first and foremost connect the communities of our member schools on issues related to the Council mission. The index would leverage the unique strengths of the member schools in order to conduct relevant studies on business and society and in turn share that with other interested parties. Our ambition is that the index would be the reference index for global business and society related issues.
The Council Inventory
The new Council Inventory will serve as a place where Council members’ courses and activities meet. The inventory will be a searchable database on the Council website where professors, students, members of the corporate world or anyone interested in business and society related subjects can search and find relevant materials or sources of information related to their topic of query.
EMBA Module Sharing
As a way to exchange on various fields of expertise, the module sharing initiative will ultimately be a faculty exchange between Council member schools. Professors will be invited to teach in our respective EMBA programs based on their fields of study or research.
Although the aforementioned projects discussed during the Deans’ Paris Seminar are the Council’s principle priority for the time being, the deans also brushed upon other projects that could be feasible in the future. Cross school student projects related to service learning, potential multi-school field trips for MBA and MSc in Management students as well as the extension of the Council to include other members were just a few of the other ideas mentioned during the seminar. The list of potential projects and collaborations is a big one and we are just getting started. We will be sure to keep you posted with the developments as we progress!
More than just an annual forum, the Council on Business & Society Global Alliance is an ongoing international dialogue – The Council Community helps bring together business leaders, academics and journalists from around the world. #CouncilonBusinessandSociety