Dr. Philip Ella Juico, former dean of the De La Salle University Graduate School of Business, on Thursday called on the deans of business schools in the country to “produce professionals who care for and about people.”
In his keynote speech before the 4th Prime Regional Forum Asia, a United Nations-backed initiative on sustainable business, Juico stressed the need for management education to “ensure the transformative education” of its graduates by developing in their graduates the moral attributes and the technical competence required to improve mankind’s condition.
Juico said the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, the most legitimate social standard for a strategy of long-term enterprise sustainability, could help business schools answer three basic questions—what is business for, what is management education for, and who are the stakeholders of management education?
Sustainability as articulated in the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development “is not solely an environmental concept” but its elements are the promotion, protection and defense of the ecosystem, Juico said, citing the principles enunciated by Olav Kjorven, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Bureau of Development Policy of the UN Development Program.
Sustainable development, he continued, is as much about health, education and jobs as it is about the ecosystem. “It is about the ever widening inclusion and movement away from decisions that erode democratic space and do not address social inequality, intolerance and violence. “
Juico said business education, and education in general, is never value-neutral. “Schools must do more than train technical professionals.”
Business schools must teach professionals the values of economic rationality and human dignity, making these as the managerial mindset.
“Unless we intentionally attempt to close the gap between the experience of business students and the poor, there will always be a vacuum in the way we teach our students to be socially responsible,” he said.
He stressed that business schools can’t develop students with the heart of the poor “if in the course of their formation we have not let the reality of this world—the plight, struggles and hopes of the marginalized people—get into their lives so they can feel, think and respond to the sufferings and use what they learn in class.”
Juico, who was dean of the DLSU Ramon V. del Rosario Graduate School of Business from 2002 to 2008, said that before he left, he proposed the creation of a social responsibility academic department “putting it in equal footing with other functional areas like finance, marketing, accounting, production and human resource.” The board approved the introduction of CSR, Human Rights and Sustainable Development as core/required course in 2009-2010, the first concrete step in making the graduate business curriculum more conscious of and responsive
to the signs of the times, through CSR.
Juico lamented that “unlike traditional business competencies like finance and marketing, sustainability is not institutionalized within the required curricula of many business schools, giving way to inconsistencies in its teaching.”
He said these inconsistencies have to be addressed given the role of sustainability as a major source of value creation and for the preparation of future business leaders who will be expected to demonstrate greater competencies in the implementation of sustainable business strategies.
He said companies have begun to adapt their governance processes to integrate sustainability factors with research and development, procurement and supply chain management, product development and financial management, marketing, branding and other operations.
He said sustainability teaching must be integrated into the MBA programs as he batted for a more formal engagement of companies with business school professors and deans for a better understanding of the business of universities and how they can better integrate external, societal, technological and marketplace trends within classroom teaching methods and skills development.