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East Midlands Chamber News

Dean to lead drive for links between business schools and industry and commerce

Nottingham Business School Dean, Professor Baback Yazdani, is to lead a national and international drive to boost links between business schools and industry.

Professor Yazdani has been appointed Inaugural Dean of the Association of Business Schools’ National Advisory Board Network with responsibility for forging stronger links with business.

Advisory boards play a key role in helping business schools engage with industry and the new network will give board chairmen and chairwomen a forum to share experience and information.

The move follows a major report into the state of the UK’s businesses and how academia can support innovation and growth.

Launched by the Association of Business Schools (ABS) and supported by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, Lord Heseltine and the Prime Minister’s adviser on enterprise Lord Young of Graffham, the Role of UK Business Schools in Driving Innovation and Growth in the Domestic Economy has six main recommendations:
· Design practice into courses
· Bring more practitioner experience into business schools
· Develop and manage company relationships institutionally
· Improve measurement and assessment of research impact
· Promote research in larger teams, and centres with multi-dimensional roles
· Move to more distinctly defined roles for different institutions.

Professor Yazdani said: “The report highlights a great deal of good work between business schools and industry, but we need to institutionalise a two-way process between business and academia and particularly between business schools and business at leadership level.

“This will enable us to systemise the approach across all our work, ranging from research to design and delivery of courses with direct impact and higher value for the students and other business school stakeholders.

”At Nottingham Business School we have created structures, processes and governance and put resources behind them which has borne fruit for all our stakeholders. This would be a good template for many business schools which want to engage with business at a deeper level.”

In the foreword to the report, Lord Heseltine called on business schools to “fill the gap” between government and businesses urging greater integration.

“Other nations join up such activities, with the consequence that there is more integrated activity. It is easier to find out what is going on, and where to turn for help. We need a sign-posted single point of service and advice for companies,” he said.

The report was compiled by Richard Thorpe, of Leeds University Business School, and Richard Rawlinson, a partner at management consultancy Booz and Co.

Professor Thorpe said: “The six areas of action we recommend in our report are independently valuable but are mutually reinforcing. The main focus for action is by the schools themselves, and by their faculty members.

Richard Rawlinson explained that the overall objective was to outline how British business schools can build on examples of success to create a reliable, general system that better directs and supports the considerable resources of the business-school sector towards effective engagement, innovation and impact.