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The value of business education collaboration
New research uncovers the connection between business education and lifelong learning.
By Tim Harnett
The United States economy shows no sign of slowing. In July 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.7%, little changed from previous months.1 In this tight labor market, sourcing workers will become tougher.

A recent survey indicated recruiters already face challenges. Three-quarters of HR profes-sionals with recruiting difficulties identified a shortage of candidate skills as a roadblock to filling job roles.2 Mitigating this skills gap will require a multifaceted approach from both businesses and educators to develop workers who are ready to tackle the jobs of the future.

The vast majority of L&D practitioners see an opportunity for leaders and educators to collaborate directly on a wide range of mission-critical workforce development topics.
Nurturing a successful talent pipeline will take more than posting to multiple job boards or work-ing with staffing firms. Organizations will need to develop partnerships with business schools to fill their talent needs. Thankfully, today’s business schools are more than just recruiting centers. Educators help businesses create solid talent pipelines and networks. Business schools are also adjusting their programs accordingly and working with businesses to more thoroughly develop the incoming workforce.

As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB recently partnered with the Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group for insights into what these business education partnerships should look like. The purpose of the survey was to discover how organizations used partnerships with business schools and how these partnerships applied to the future of work.

What topics are most important to business leaders?
One way business education partnerships can be successful is by having conversations important to business leaders. Most L&D practitioners see an opportunity for leaders and educators to collaborate on a wide range of mission-critical workforce development topics, such as experien-tial learning, the future of work, lifelong learning, and skills/curriculum (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Critical conversations business leaders and business school educators should be having
Critical conversations business leaders and business school educators should be having
Corporate learning and development profes-sionals also value business educators for their applied research acumen. More than half of survey respondents expressed a desire to see new business education research on topics such as leadership (51%), workforce education and training (53%), and talent development (55%).

Now more than ever, organizations support their internal L&D efforts with external resources. In 2016, just half of all organizations used some external resources to support their internal learning function. By 2019, that number was 79%.3

leaders and educators collaborate on a wide range of mission-critical workforce development topics
What groups should businesses connect to?
When it comes to the business education ecosystem, many survey respondents reported that they are already connected to a number of groups, such as their peers (72%), area professional groups (71%), and credentialing organizations (54%). Educators should encour-age these connections and work with business leaders to create more. Facilitating local and regional networks composed of organizations and business educators may hold promise. A higher percentage of L&D professionals are currently connected to business schools in their immediate area as compared to schools globally. However, nearly a third expressed a desire to be even more connected to geographically proximate business schools.

There’s also an opportunity for business educators to collaborate with organizations on industry-related projects. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents said that the topic they most want to see at an event on business education is how to develop employees for the future of work.

Forward-thinking corporate learning and devel-opment professionals recognize the value that business schools can deliver beyond simply filling recruitment pipelines with newly minted graduates. By understanding today’s business pain points, adjusting programs to address skills gaps, and disseminating their research results, educators can work to meet those challenges and improve the workforce of the future.

Figures may not total 100% due to rounding. All data taken from the 2019 Business Education Partnerships survey unless otherwise noted. For additional briefing reports related to preparing future leaders, lifelong learning, and more, visit aacsb.edu.

1 The Employment Situation. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2019.
2 The Global Skills Shortage: Bridging the talent gap with education, training, and sourcing. SHRM 2019.
3 AACSB Business Practice Survey. Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group. 2016.
As the world’s largest business education alliance, AACSB International (AACSB) connects educators, students, and business to achieve a common goal: to create the next generation of great leaders. Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 1,700 member organizations and over 840 accredited business schools worldwide. AACSB’s mission is to foster engagement, accelerate innovation, and amplify impact in business education. The global organization has offices located in Tampa, Florida, USA; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Singapore. For more information, visit aacsb.edu.