How can MBAs help transform the city?

I’m sharing with you a piece that I got published at the Financial Times just a few days ago. Please check it out here or alternatively, read below:

MBAs can help solve social problems

‘Special ops’ teams of students could test radical ideas for city authorities
Ivan Bofarull FEBRUARY 14, 2018 4
Cities are ecosystems made up of talent flows, with business schools the ports of entry for much of this talent. MBAs and other business school students could help solve the problems faced by local governments and the city dwellers they serve. But how? First, local authorities need to know these talent flows exist. I recently published with Esade the MBA City Monitor, which indicates the level of global MBA talent in a city. Global full-time MBAs hardly have any engagement and impact on the city in which they live and study for up to two years. If local authorities knew they were there, they could use these students to help solve social problems, such as homelessness in San Francisco, or unemployment among young adults in Paris or Barcelona. There are obvious benefits for a city that discovers and capitalises on a highly-skilled MBA talent pool City governments could tap networks and tackle myriad problems by implementing some of the methods used by innovative companies. Google and Telefónica embrace transformation by forming a team away from the core business, which aims to develop radical growth projects or “moonshots”. The results could have the ability to disrupt a company’s own industry. Waymo, the spin-off from Alphabet that focuses on autonomous driving, is a good example. One valuation has the company worth $70bn, higher than General Motors, but it has yet to sell a single car. This way of managing gives companies an opportunity to learn constantly in order to reinvent themselves. Recommended Business School Insider Corporate social responsibility is an essential part of today’s MBA In my view it is the same for cities. The local authorities with a global MBA talent base should be tapping into it to create “special ops” teams that can test radical ideas. These teams should be formed of MBAs as well as a diverse pool of scientists or designers. Esade is already applying this approach by partnering with Cern in Switzerland. Students from MBA, design and engineering programmes work together to find market solutions to great scientific discoveries. These efforts should be “localised” and led by cities. While there are obvious benefits for a city that discovers and capitalises on a highly-skilled MBA talent pool, the benefits for MBA students are also clear. Through collaborating across disciplines to solve social challenges at a local level, students can develop the entrepreneurial, “moonshot thinking” skills they will need to become infinite learners throughout their careers, as well as the social impact skills they will have to inherently nurture as a form of citizenship. Ultimately it will be a high-value experience and can be applied to any job following an MBA.
Ivan Bofarull, is director of global insights and strategic initiatives at Esade

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