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COLOR B LI N D I MAG ES/G ETTY I MAG ES Transform the University Jessup and Laing agree that business schools can play a critical role in transforming their universities into economic powerhouses. "University presidents and provosts typically come from the arts and sciences, not business—the notion of profit centers and cost centers and how to manage them is often foreign to them," says Jessup. "Business schools at public universities are in a position to help their universities make the shift to a performancebased budget allocation process." Jessup makes sure that the Eller College plays this role for the University of Arizona. Two years ago, UA faculty and centers spent about US$625 million annually on grant-funded scientific research, but its commercialization activities were falling short of potential. Since then, the Eller College has helped UA restructure its activities around technology transfer and commercialization, largely through a new initiative called Tech Launch Arizona. Tightly linked with Eller's McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, Tech Launch Arizona helps faculty and startups develop and commercialize their best inventions, which improves the financial health not only of the university, but of the region as a whole. Persuade Policymakers Finally, if business schools want to secure their futures, they must do more to promote the strategic value of their activities to lawmakers, says Laing. "Government focuses heavily on the economic importance of STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math. We need to show officials that it should be STEM2, with the second If business schools want to secure their futures, they must do more to promote the strategic value of their activities to lawmakers. 'M' standing for management," he says. "As governments struggle to promote their growth and innovation agendas, business schools have not articulated what we can contribute as much as we should." To that end, the Association of Business Schools in the U.K. has formed an innovation task force that aims to reach out to policymakers and promote business schools as drivers of regional and national economic growth. More important, the task force wants to convince policymakers to provide more funding support for business school activities that support entrepreneurship and urban regeneration initiatives. "There's huge opportunity in this area," says Laing. "We need to think carefully about the messages we send to government officials, so they view business schools as strategically important, in the same way they view medicine and engineering as strategically important. We need to convince them to provide incentives to encourage business schools to act more entrepreneurially." What Are Business Schools For? Jessup and Laing stress that it's time for business schools to do some serious soul-searching—to ask the crucial question: What are business schools for? If their purpose is to educate future leaders, drive economic growth, promote innovation, and support their ongoing missions, then they must adopt the best strategies and financial models to support those goals for the long term. "At best, 20 percent of our faculty think deeply about what the business school does as a whole, rather than focus only on their own narrow expertise," says Laing. "Very few ask, 'What's the world like? How is it changing? How do I need to operate?' A culture of conservatism holds us back. We're not as entrepreneurial as we should be." By outlining the critical issues that business schools face—and highlighting possible solutions— these two deans hope to trigger even more vigorous discussion and action among their colleagues. But it's not all bad news, they say. The market may be tumultuous, but Laing and Jessup believe it's a great time for business education. They see tremendous opportunities in the years ahead—but only for those business schools willing to take action today. BizEd July/August 2013 25

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