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August 2012

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News Briefs

KU Starts Program to Match Alumni and Retirees

The University of Kansas School of Business has launched a program aimed at preventing rural businesses from closing because an owner can’t find a successor or buyer. The Redefining Retirement program, nicknamed RedTire, will match qualified KU graduates who want to own a business with business owners who are looking to retire.

RedTire program staff will screen prospective replacement managers and candidate businesses, identify good matches, and help negotiate ownership agreements and financing. Ongoing support will help new owners run and grow their business.

An initiative of the KU Center for Entrepreneurship, RedTire is supervised by two governing boards that include experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders in Kansas.

Forté Foundation Pushes for More Women on Boards

The Forté Foundation has started an initiative to increase the number of women on corporate boards in the US. Forté will ask each of its 33 US MBA partner schools to name at least five women who are ready and qualified for service on boards. Forté will also consider self-nominations from its membership database of 60,000 professional women. Forté plans to release a list of US-based board-ready women at the end of this year.

The initiative follows Forté Foundation’s collaboration with its five European business school members and the European Commission, which recently published a repository of 7,000 vetted and board-ready women.

Ross School Takes Executive Education to New Heights

A unique executive education program at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business turns a mountain climb into a leadership laboratory. Backed by research that shows that testing leadership in real, unfamiliar, and complex environments has a high impact in teaching skills that drive success in business, the school offers a week-long program built around a climb up Africa’s highest mountain, 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

“We don’t simply teach leadership. We design experiences for [students] to learn leadership,” said Ross professor Scott DeRue, who guides the course. Passionate about mountain climbing, DeRue says that “climbing is the ideal experiential laboratory for learning leadership skills to transform you and your organization’s performance.”

The course will be offered this December and again in September 2013. During the trek, DeRue will translate lessons from the mountain to leading in the business world. Boyd Matson, host of National Geographic Weekend, will join the latter course, creating radio and video segments from the climb.

Olympics, Supreme Court Ruling Provide Teachable Moments

Keeping the management curriculum relevant and up-to-date, two business schools have recently integrated topic events into what students study.

In July, for example, nearly 30 graduate and undergraduate students from George Washington University School of Business headed to the London to study the organization of the Olympic Games. Part of their work included measuring consumer behavior around the event.

At the Kogod School of Business at American University, meanwhile, Donald Williamson, director of the MS in Taxation degree program, has brought the recent Supreme Court decision about the Affordable Care Act into the classroom. The justices’ view that the Act’s "shared responsibility penalty" could be considered a tax is a "fundamental redefinition of what constitutes a tax," Williamson said. Accordingly, graduate students in the program will now read and discuss the decision in one of their first courses, “Legislative and Judicial Foundations of Income Tax.”

BRICs on BRICs

The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad is collaborating with business schools in Brazil, Russia, and China to create an executive education program focused on economies and business practices in BRIC countries. IIM-A’s partners include Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, and the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in China. Modules for the program, which targets business executives, investment professionals, and government officials, will be offered in each of the four BRIC countries.

Wharton Embraces Team-based Admissions Process

After a successful pilot test, the office of MBA admission at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is adopting a team-based discussion as part of its admissions process. Describing the initiative on the Wharton MBA admission blog, Karl T. Ulrich, vice dean for innovation at the school, wrote that it will “allow candidates the opportunity to interact with fellow applicants through discourse involving real-world business scenarios, which will highlight how they approach and analyze specific situations.” In addition to giving the school added insights about MBA applicants, Ulrich wrote, “our hope is that this will give applicants a glimpse into Wharton’s group learning dynamic — which is central to our program.”

Biking to Business School

Demonstrating its strong commitment corporate social responsibility, Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School has joined Bike to Work, an initiative that encourages employees to leave their car at home when commuting to work. Today, some 60 percent of Vlerick employees bike to their jobs. The school provides bikes to employees who cycle 80 percent of the time, a total of 45 people. The school has an arrangement with a non-profit organization for bike repairs.

As another part of its CSR policy, Vlerick signed up for a car-sharing plan that gives access to a vehicle for school business trips.

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