B-Schools Talk Politics
Business school curricula across the country is shifting to help students prepare and succeed in a politically-charged era.
Some Schools, such as Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and North Carolina State University, are flipping the script on how they teach students to address social and political concerns, The News & Observer reports.
At Duke Fuqua, Professor Aaron Chatterji says political and social concerns are playing a critical role in the business world.
“You have to be careful, but if you walk away from that stuff, how can we be saying that we’re training leaders of consequence across all these schools unless we’re dealing with these issues they actually have to face?” Chatterji tells The News & Observer.
Taking A Stance Pays Off
A number of big-name companies have started to take a stance in the political era of Trump.
Most recently, Nike made Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, as the face of its ad campaign. The banner of the ad reads: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaeperick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem of NFL games in protest against police brutality was criticized by President Trump, who called the act disrespectable to the American flag.
But Nike took the opposite stance in the midst of the pressure. By doing so, they’ve benefited greatly, earning $6 billion in value.
Levi Strauss & Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh has been outspoken about business leaders needing to take action on gun violence. He recently penned a Fortune article making the case against it.
Outspoken In Class
At the b-school level, students are taking more interest in political issues.
Patrick Iber, an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is putting together a new course, “The History of Now,” which will examine the historical context of modern-day politics.
The goal of the course is to help students understand conservative movements across the historical spectrum and how the past relates to the present.
“When I ask students, ‘Why are you interested in taking this course right now?,’ some of them are like ‘I really want to understand what’s going on. I want to know how to talk to my family members who I don’t understand anymore.’ They want historical context for the present,” Iber tells The News & Observer.
At North Carolina State University, classes have taken a different tone.
Mark Nance, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, says more students are more comfortable expressing their conservative views because of President Trump.
“My point is that those feelings have always been there, but they were not being brought out in class,” Nance tells The News & Observer. “As an educator, I would much rather have them there and be stated than someone sit there and sort of steam and discount anything anybody is saying, including me.”