Enabling Inclusion in Business – Politicians and Business people need to talk!!

Getting ready for our Enabling inclusion in Business was a very interesting experience for me – it made me rethink the situation of women in business yet again!

Having been very involved in the area of women in politics in the Canton of Vaud for the last 10 months, you might like to have a  look at the initiative of the CLAFV (www.clafvd.ch) and ADF (www.adf-vaud.ch) where these 2 associations have worked together with the Bureau of Equality to encourage more women to go into Swiss politics (www.politiciennes.ch).

This interesting initiative made it very clear to me that there is very little contact between the women politicians I talk with regularly and the women in business in Switzerland today! And this is a big problem.

Have you seen the Economist gender gap index?  It is nothing short of horrifying. Switzerland performs very poorly in comparison with the OECD average and the 21 countries considered in this study.  One big problem is the cost of child care, over 40% of the revenue earned.  Is it worthwhile, one might ask to go back to work considering this high cost.

Looking forward to talking about this and lots more tomorrow in BSL.  Updates of that meeting to follow!

 

Author: Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin, BCL, LL.M, Solicitor
marymayenfish

Swiss Democracy: Strengths, Weaknesses and Threats

General outlines

In many countries people vote to elect the President or Members of the Parliament. Swiss people don’t vote for the President, but elect the MPs, the federal government members including the President being elected by the Parliament.

Unlike in most of other countries, Swiss citizens are requested in addition to vote quite frequently on a wide range of topics at different levels (federal, cantonal or even communal). That is called direct democracy. These votes are the consequences of either an initiative (proposal to amend the federal constitution) or a referendum (opposition to a new law voted by the Parliament). The number of valid signatures required for an initiative to be submitted to the vote is 100’000. This number is currently debated because many citizens consider it too low in comparison with the total population of the country (just above 8’000’000 inhabitants). Another point currently debated is the fact that initiatives are written in quite general terms and that the application laws have not to be designed at that stage. Continue reading

Should I get an MBA?

In recent years, the MBA has become a buzzword – ambitious professionals from around the world find themselves almost obliged to consider an MBA as a next step in their professional development. Putting myself in the shoes of potential candidates, I can easily understand the confusion and uncertainty about answering this deceptively simple question – “Should I get an MBA?”. Try googling this and you’ll see that there’s an awful lot of controversial opinions – from praising the MBA as still the most valued degree and panacea to all career advancement to stating it’s lost its magic. The reality is that there isn’t one right answer. Continue reading

Why do Swiss universities bother about sustainability?

Perhaps because Swiss institutions of higher education want to continue to be relevant in the distant future? Perhaps massive online learning is about to replace universities?  Maybe new industries of the future require training that universities do not supply? Or do universities just wash themselves green to be part of the trend in industry? These questions were raised at the annual conference where rectors, deans, administrators, professors and students participated.

Sustainable University Day is the annual Swiss conference for all institutions of higher education and was held this year on 18 March at the university of St. Gallen. Its aim was to address the issue of responsible leadership in the context of the universities’ contribution to sustainable development, and to ask how to educate future leaders who can combine economic success with social justice and the preservation of natural resources?[1] Continue reading

Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

I recently read a fascinating book by Malcom Gladwell entitled “David and Goliath”. The subtitle of the book “Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” gives a good idea of its content.

Malcom Gladwell "David and Goliath"

The introduction explains how David beat Goliath in the Old Testament by using a totally different approach to fighting; his was based on velocity and mobility. It would be very difficult to summarize the whole book, given its diversity and the numerous topics dealt with, from David Boies becoming a famous lawyer in spite of his dyslexia, to the crucial role played by a picture in the history of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s. How to use a disadvantage to win is the common element of the different chapters.
Continue reading

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, http://www.care.org/ talked about those needs and about private public partnerships that exist today and cited the work they do with Starbucks in education and healthcare. Continue reading

Sustainable Finance in Switzerland

When I was living and working on my PhD in Scotland, I was pleased to know that I lived in one of the world’s hubs of Socially Responsible Investments [1] (SRI). At the time (early 2000s), the institutional investors (pension or life assurance companies) were key players and as you all know Edinburgh is the northern home of pension houses. Companies such as Standard Life, Scottish Widows, Baillie Gifford all had some form of SRI fund in their portfolios to keep their ethical investors happy. These included churches, university superannuation funds [2] and charitable trusts. These SRI funds generally were “ethical funds”, that is to say they used exclusion criteria. They excluded “sin stocks” such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear energy, or weapons manufacturers from their portfolios. Continue reading

Are lawyers an obstacle to progress on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability?

About the author of this blog post

We welcome the first blog post of our BSL colleague Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin and grab the chance to introduce her briefly.

Mary Mayenfisch-Tobin is a lawyer, who specializes and teaches in the area of Law, Business and Human Rights. She is responsible for Stakeholder Relations and Student Counseling at Business School Lausanne.

Mary’s principle preoccupation in recent years has related to education, and particularly responsible education, not only as taught in business schools but in all educational institutions, including law schools. Continue reading