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A Post-Virus Paradigm Shift For B-Schools? This School Has The Recipe

EGADE Business School is widely recognized as the top B-school in Latin America. EGADE photo

The United States gets all the headlines these days, but coronavirus has not spared Mexico. In late August the country reached a grim milestone: its 60,000 pandemic death among more than half a million known cases. But even as it continues to grapple with the health crisis, Mexico’s leading business school has turned its attention to what business — and graduate business education — should look like in a post-pandemic Mexico, and by extension throughout Latin America.

EGADE Business School, the postgraduate business school of Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey — considered (if not ranked) by many to be the top B-school not only in Mexico but across Latin America — published a 10-point Decalogue for the Economic & Business Refounding of Mexico in July that serves as a guide to “reactivating” the country through a more conscious model of doing business, and taking advantage of the opportunities that arise after Covid-19. It also lays out the role that business schools can play in this new landscape.

A member of the Yale School of Management-founded Global Network for Advanced Management, EGADE is in a uniquely strong position to contribute analyses, solutions, and strategic approaches for the challenges faced by society and companies in Mexico and across the world, says Ignacio De la Vega, dean of EGADE. The Decalogue, and the business and business education world it seeks to help shape, continue EGADE’s mission to be an agent of change in Latin America.

“At EGADE Business School, we are committed to the education and development of the new generations of leaders who will transform our societies,” says de la Vega, whose school began the fall remotely August 10, with a plan to reassess in mid-September. “The pandemic has shown us the pressing need to have the best leaders in our societies to cope with the ongoing health crisis and future social and economic metastases in the best possible way.

“With this Decalogue, we join the search for collective solutions to the challenges humanity is facing.”

A NECESSARY CONSOLIDATION OF THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

Ignacio de la Vega. Courtesy photo

Among the 10 points in EGADE’s Decalogue are two that deal with B-schools’ role in the new future. Point 3 call for the establishment of “the entrepreneurial ecosystem” as the base of recovery. Coronavirus, it states, “has created opportunities that many entrepreneurs have been able to seize. We need to consolidate an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation in which companies, universities, and research centers participate as poles of talent attraction.”

EGADE — because of its position as a repository of expert knowledge “and solid background in research of the outstanding faculty, the community of business leaders made up of its students and alumni, and strategic alliances” — is already at the forefront of the hoped-for entrepreneurial revolution.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the need for organizations, societies and individuals to adapt to unexpected events, the so-called black swans,” the Decalogue reads. “The profound health, economic, and social effects of this crisis have made a substantial redefinition of the dominant paradigms imperative. In this context, thinking of a rapid recovery and return to the former situation is not realistic. On the contrary, the establishment of a new scenario is highly likely, a great reset in which business models will have to be adapted, disruption across entire sectors increase, and new forms of work and remote consumption become commonplace, with all their technological and geographic implications.”

In the long term, a consolidation of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem will be necessary, with B-schools leading the way and companies, universities, and research centers acting as “talent magnets,” creating “mutual and social support networks for entrepreneurs. Talent is highly mobile, and its attraction requires the creation of dynamic, inclusive and sustainable communities.

“Since the main source of growth in knowledge economies is innovation, aligning research with business and social needs is critical. Emphasizing quality or customer and stakeholder satisfaction or experience will no longer be enough for organizations. Instead, they should focus their attention on increasing their stakeholders’ perceived value, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on customer loyalty and satisfaction.”

THE 4TH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION & A REIMAGINING OF HIGHER ED

The second of 10 points in the Decalogue dealing with B-schools’ role is No. 8: “Drive talent in a connected educational system. Aligning universities and agents of education with the new economy and the new technological contexts must be a priority to drive the impact of new talent on the nation’s development and competitiveness.”

Coronavirus has put educational systems to the test, the document reads, “requiring an accelerated migration to interactive distance and hybrid learning models, and incidentally increasing inequality and the social gap. Education, as the cornerstone of society in which a country’s talent potential is developed, is particularly sensitive to the dynamism and changes occurring in the world that are demanded by the new generations. In order to participate in the economy of the future, Mexico must, without delay, address its great pending issue: education.

“Aligning universities and agents of education with the new economy and the new technological contexts has to be a priority in order to strengthen their impact on a country’s development and competitiveness. Focusing on the development of local talent in competencies such as disruptive leadership, entrepreneurship with values, holistic innovation, business intelligence, digitization of the value chain and humanistic business and organizational management, is of utmost importance in order to reinstitute competitive advantages based on innovation and technology rather than relying on the comparative advantages of labor and geographical proximity.”

The exponential technological change of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Decalogue continues, has forced a reimagining of education. It mandates the creation of a flexible physical and digital learning model “that includes artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other exponential technologies, which implies unlearning and relearning new skills, and creating more efficient and effective learning environments. With supply chains driven by technological innovation rather than cheap labor, education should combine ‘hard’ competencies and cutting-edge knowledge with ‘power skills’ such as creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, an entrepreneurial mindset, and the ability to solve complex problems, among other key skills for integrating human work with artificial intelligence. Business competitiveness will be linked to concepts such as reskilling and upskilling.

“In the final analysis, creating a culture of career long learning as the great challenge to avoid talent obsolescence and the competitiveness gap.”

FOR THE NEW SEMESTER, A NEW LEARNING MODEL

In March, when EGADE closed its campuses at the start of the health crisis and implemented a “Flexible Digital Model,” it proved that adverse conditions could not upend quality standards, de la Vega says. Recognizing the adaptability of their community “and the diversity of their national geographic footprint,” the school has begun the August-December 2020 semester under HyFlex+, “a unique, innovative model that will enable students to combine face-to-face and remote activities.”

And with the publication of the Decalogue, EGADE has reinforced its commitment to Mexico’s business and entrepreneurial ecosystem — and vowed to lead the way.

“At EGADE Business School – Tecnológico de Monterrey, we have promoted a collective learning from this multidimensional crisis, committed to our mission to empower new generations of omni-preneurial leaders who create shared value and transform society,” the school announced. “Such learning resulted in the formulation of a Decalogue of proposals aligned with a vision of commitment to the transformation of Mexico, contributing to reflection and the search for collective solutions.

“At EGADE, we also call for the optimism, solidarity, and collective talent that throughout the history of Mexico and humanity has so often contributed to a splendid rebirth from situations equally as critical as the one we face today.”

See EGADE’s complete Decalogue here.

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