Business Schools for Impact

A pertinent conference – Business Schools for Impact – took place last week at the World Investment Forum in Geneva and Business School Lausanne was happy to be present. UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, initiated this innovative project and different business schools are working with them on this idea.

Business as usual in business schools?  No thanks!

The discussion which took place in the morning wondered about the ability of the present day business schools to deal with the problems the world is currently facing and will face in the future. A presentation by Professor Ted London from Ross School of Business, Michigan University looked at business at the bottom of the pyramid, so many opportunities and needs!  Robert Glaser from CARE, a global humanitarian organization, talked about those needs and about private public partnerships that exist today and cited the work they do with Starbucks in education and healthcare.

As the number of good schools is increasing in different parts of the world the importance of relevant case studies for today’s changing world was discussed in depth.   Obviously, case studies coming from the developing world are essential for relevant information in business schools. We heard that students from the developed world need to think differently, they need to think of value creation, they need to understand frameworks and tools, and the differences that exist in emerging countries.   Guest speakers coming to business schools need to ensure they have a relevant message in this changed world.

Business Schools for Impact – an UNCTAD initiative  

In the afternoon session the UNCTAD project was revealed.  The Business Schools for Impact project hopes to teach skills to build Base of the Pyramid businesses. Schools and professors from different schools and networks are helping create this Global impact Master/ MBA.

The business school model needs to change and business schools must grow in an entrepreneurial way.  The UNCTAD initiative wishes to build a network for students which could allow them to intern all over the world; a network for companies and entrepreneurs to offer professional opportunities and hire motivated people; and networks that partner with Business Schools for Impact for development, dissemination or online delivery.

The early partners of the project are the Case Centre (, Essex Business School, Riara University, Kenya Tata Institute of Social Science, Universidad del Pacifico, UNIL, HEC, Altis Graduate School, Society and Business,  Global Business School network and CEMS (

An interesting project that hopes to lead change!

Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, BCL, LL.M, Solicitor


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