No Taillights to Follow

Putra Business School provides home-grown content based on Eastern philosophy and wisdom traditions that are common in their multiracial culture.
Located in a tiny building within a vast 3,000-acre campus, Putra Business School (PBS) abides by its charter “to nurture leaders who subscribe to human governance as embedded in whole persons.” We believe that the recent proliferation of corporate scandals stems from the fact that companies have stopped focusing on the human elements of business, and we want to return business to its role of enabling societal well-being. All of us, from teachers to students, do our utmost to comply with this philosophy. We know there are no taillights to follow; we must go with what we feel is right.

PBS had its genesis in 1987, when business classes were first taught through the Faculty of Resource Economics and Agribusiness at Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. Over the years, the Graduate School of Management (GSM) took over responsibility for teaching business courses, and we became an AACSB member in October 2006. The following year, a Cabinet decision was made to restructure GSM into an autonomous institution. This decision was put into effect in 2011 when the Putra Business School Foundation was set up to administer PBS, the novated GSM. In 2012, we were accredited by AACSB International.

Today, PBS provides home-grown content based on Eastern philosophy and wisdom traditions that are common in our multiracial culture.

Our principle of human governance underpins everything from our teaching curriculum to our operations management. It’s not easy to elaborate on what we mean by this. We believe in emphasizing ethical conduct through teaching frameworks that recognize humans as spiritual beings with souls. We want to shift the prevailing business perspective from humans are resources for the economy to humans are trustees of resources.

Most important, we raise questions about how we now do things, how we model our behavior, and how we teach. As we have interacted with more established universities, we’ve learned that these questions often have not been raised before—but they strike a chord with those who will listen.

We have been able to participate on AACSB’s Committee for Issues in Management Education and the 2020 Committee, groups that seriously debate the future of business and business education. We like to think that—as we raise our voices in venues ranging from conferences in Singapore to board meetings in Florida—we are helping shape the way business leaders are nurtured and taught. We see ourselves as being on a journey, riding on the shoulders of giants, as we set out to correct many wrongs that have plagued business for decades. We are a little school, but we want to make big strides into a brighter future for business.
Arfah Salleh is Dean and Suleyman Tan Eng Tong is Chief Operating and Finance Officer at Putra Business School in Serdang, Malaysia.