Strengthening Connections

An Indonesian business school's goal to strengthen its relationship with the business sector and play a larger role in regional economic development.

Over the past 50 years, business schools have been among the most successful higher education institutions in Indonesia. In the fields of economics and business management, they have provided essential leadership preparation for Indonesia as a developing country. Moreover, management education has played a pivotal role in providing social uplift and triggering an entrepreneurial spirit in our society.

Yet despite this success, management education has faced mounting criticism, fueled in part by a series of economic crises in our country during the past two decades. One of the major criticisms of business education focuses on the gap between the theory taught in schools and the competencies needed in the workplace.

At the same time, business schools are under enormous pressure from stakeholders and external environmental forces—i.e., the rapid trends of globalization and technological innovation—to accommodate changes in the business world. Many observers are calling for business schools to enhance the quality of education they provide.

WE NEED TO EMBRACE ADAPTIVE THINKING, DEVELOP INDUSTRY NETWORKS, UNDERSTAND HOW INNOVATION WORKS UNDER RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS, AND KEEP UP WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THAT IS UNDERPINNING INSTITUTIONAL AND LEARNING CHANGES.

 

These criticisms and challenges have provided a future direction for FEB UGM, which is committed to being the best in the nation at delivering education in business and economics. One way we have shown that commitment is by pursuing an appropriate performance measurement—that is, by earning AACSB accreditation in 2014.

Accreditation has dramatically changed our school and brought us multiple benefits. First, undergoing the accreditation process required us to internalize our mission, develop our strategic plans around that mission, and make sure our mission is clearly articulated in our learning goals and objectives. We have transformed our economics and business education programs to ensure that we are preparing well-rounded employees and future leaders. We also have committed to preparing leaders who operate across borders and who have the entrepreneurial mindset to create innovative organizations.

Second, earning AACSB accreditation has helped us improve relationships between the school and its stakeholders, including donors, industry representatives, business partners, and the companies that employ our graduates. For instance, we have increased collaboration with businesses to improve the level of meaningful engagement across multiple sectors. This collaboration enhances the expertise of everyone in the school—from students to faculty to staff—and helps the school realize the full potential of everyone on campus.

Today, FEB UGM is seeking more ways to strengthen its relationship with the business sector and play a larger role in regional economic development. For instance, FEB UGM has established a faculty advisory board whose members guide the school on curriculum choices that will provide a better quality of education to our students. The school also has become secretariat of the ASEAN University Network for Business and Economics. In these ways, FEB is indicating its commitment to advance management education both on our campus and in the wider community.

The future of business and economics education will unfold in a complex landscape. We know we will need to embrace adaptive thinking, develop deep and meaningful industry networks, understand how innovation works under resource constraints, and keep up with the technology that is underpinning institutional and learning changes. But we are confident that we can find the right balance in this landscape and align ourselves with the latest developments in the marketplace.

Wihana Kirana Jaya is Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) at the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.