Matt Symonds: Business Education: Companii

Not an everyday business lesson

18 aprilie 2012, ora 00:00 | 219 afisari | in Companii, Lifestyle
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Business lessons from Lady Gaga
The teaching approach for an MBA has always been a little different. While many other degree programs distribute their knowledge through lectures or seminars, business schools have looked to connect MBA students more directly with the reality of the business world, and present them scenarios they will most likely face upon graduation.  One traditional way to achieve this is the involvement of senior managers from outside organizations who present students with their personal stories from the commercial world. More recently however, schools have broadened their horizons and turned to less conventional figureheads to inspire the future business men and women of tomorrow.

Both the Harvard Business School and ESMT in Germany have been looking towards the music industry to liven up their MBA programmes. Both schools run an in-depth case study of one of the most successful and talked about female singers at present, Lady Gaga. And though the popstar herself has yet to appear on stage to deliver the course in person, the study ‘Lady Gaga: Born This Way’ is designed to teach students strategic innovation by highlighting the many accomplishments she has made, despite her relative youth and lack of experience. After all, her marketing reach through social media, and revenue streams beyond the songs she produces show a genuine business know-how.

Last November, the London Business School went one step further with a presentation from Gene Simmons, bass guitarist in the band KISS. Despite some initial confusion as to what MBA students could possibly learn from a musician, (other than how to create a rock song or wear glamrock make-up), Simmons talk revealed how he built an extremely lucrative and successful brand alongside his music and live concerts. And much like Lady Gaga, his credentials stand strong under closer inspection. Stating that he wouldn’t sell his business, “even if someone offered me a billion dollars,” Simmons explained how his brand now licences over 3,000 products across the globe, ranging from coffee-houses and smartphone apps to condoms and even the a KISS coffin.

Also on the menu for those at London Business School, in conjunction with Harvard, Berkeley's Haas, Columbia and Esade, is a chance to construct a development strategy for the high profile chef, Ferrian Adria and his new El Bulli foundation. Students across these five institutions will be competing with each other for the privilege to see who can come up with the most sustainable business model. And over in France, a country well known for its culinary excellence, EM Lyon business school has teamed up with legendary chef, Paul Bocuse and his Culinary Arts Institute to help spice up its MBA teaching. By exposing students to the stressful, and sometimes heated, environment of a 3-star Michelin restaurant, they can learn to develop more successful methods of organisation and prepare for what awaits them after graduation.

Moving on, the drama continues at the Warwick Business School, based in the UK, where students learn their leadership skills from Shakespearian actors as they complete their MBA programmes. But one school in Canada has decided a more serious approach is required to teach its prospective MBAs the leadership techniques needed to survive in today’s challenging and unstable world economy. Professor David Lank at the Desautels Faculty of McGill University has employed the help of retired general, Roméo Dallaire to illustrate to his classes just what can be achieved in the harshest of environments, with enough creativity, hard work and motivation. And Dallaire’s leadership record couldn’t be more convincing. In 1994, Dallaire was unlucky enough to find himself in a highly grave situation with vastly inadequate resources and only the tiny United Nations forces to command when the massacre of Tutsi broke out in Rwanda. Yet despite having no more than 200 troops behind him, Dallaire managed to save the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children by facing down and outwitting the greatly superior forces of Hutu militia.

In comparison to today's world of commerce, Dallaire’s achievement makes running a simple business look fairly straightforward.
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Matt Symonds
Chief Editor
Matt Symonds
Matt Symonds is chief editor of, a website dedicated to the world's top business schools. Author... vezi profilul »
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