Business x STEM: Perspectives from Deans of 14 Business Schools

International Campus of Zhejiang University successfully conducted the "2022 Annual Academic Conference & International Conference on Integrated Science-Education-Industry for World-Class Universities" from 5th to 6th Jan, 2023. More than 120 experts and scholars, including 7 academicians, from 28 universities around the world participated and presented special talks and research reports. Over 6,000 people attended this conference online and offline. 


Echoing the theme of the conference, the ZIBS 2nd Global Deans' Forum started with a comprehensive discussion on STEM-designated programs. The deans present in the conference offered varied perspectives on how well STEM programs can be blended with business education, government policies and the industry. 


Business x STEM: Perspectives from Deans of 14 Business Schools





WEN Wu (chair):

As integration of science, education and industry has been the goal for STEM schools, what role can business school play in this area?


Nick Barniville:

From the perspective of a business school, we should be a bridge between science and industry, rather than a trainer of scientists, and help students understand the mindset of scientists. We teach coding and data analytics to students who may be going to play a role in management of science functions, so that they can understand how people they are going to manage in the future are actually thinking. On the other hand, for pure science students who want to enter into industry, ESMT is running programs in five countries in Africa, which helps mathematicians who often lack the work: readiness skills that business schools can provide.


Steven Roberts:

For undergraduates, one of things we’re trying to do, moving forward, is to increase the opportunity of transitional education. For postgraduates, we create more opportunities for students to study across different colleges. One example of a degree we have at our university is a master degree of data analytics which actually spreads across three colleges: the College of Business and Economics, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and also the College of Arts and Social Sciences. In post-covid era, colleges in our university are trying to think more about degree combinations which are leveraging the STEM in-house expertise within the university.


Léon Laulusa:

ESCP Business School has undergone six development stages in the integration of science, education, industry and business. In the first stage, we introduced physics and chemistry courses in addition to the mathematics courses. Then in the second stage, we collaborated and exchanged with a number of overseas engineering institutions, and in the third development stage, the school integrated various emerging industries into the curriculum, such as big data, blockchain, NFT and metaverse, IoT, etc. In the fourth stage, the school introduced the "abcde" theory of integration, which refers to five types of master's degree programs- art, business, coding-culture, defense-diplomacy-design, and engineering school. The fifth stage of development was marked by the launch of the joint program at ESCP Business School last year. In the sixth stage of development,  we deployed five mindsets - "EAG" "Tech" "Entrepreneur" "Multicultural" and "Hybridization" - for any degree program.





We see a lot of new topics like the blockchain or metaverse being introduced in business schools. Do students who are interested in these new technologies want to go to business school?


John Finch:

The demand is very interesting and quite often from joint degree programs. The joint degree programs allow us, as a relatively new school in an ancient university, to join in with life sciences, engineering and computing. The ability for us to do joint degree programs is predating the rise in analytics, fintech and some areas of MedTech and life sciences that we’ve really seen four or five years. We are having this joint program in seven to nine years ago. Those joint programs position us to make some kind of offer which we can do and not all of world business schools can because not all of them have that constitution.

John Finch


Raul V. Rodriguez:

One thing we do across all the programs with the science component in particular is making sure students learn, develop and grow further in their critical thinking capabilities, not particularly from a philosophical or psychological standpoint, but from a technical standpoint, so they can question theories and theorems. This extra component, however, becomes a challenge for administrators who need to manage the faculty load, and the classroom load. Still, this is a good model of teaching, since we have seen increases in salaries for graduates. It especially works in India thanks to its cultural mindset and its rules of regulation.





Science is one of key pillars ZIBS aims to establish? Could you please elaborate on this?


BEN Shenglin:

At ZIBS, we are trying to take the advantage of the fact that Zhejiang University is a large university with students mostly study in STEM area. That is the reason why ZIBS is a STEM-focused business school. To be specific, firstly we want to make sure that technology entrepreneurship is thriving in its market and joint degree program as well. Among the seven degree programs, we are working with five different schools within Zhejiang University. Secondly, at the faculty level, we have joint appointments from the schools of engineering, computer science, and mathematics. Thirdly, when recruiting full-time faculty, we actually look at their background, and we prefer people with a hybrid background who have studied statistics, engineering, or computer science.





How many new interdisciplinary programs are already in your business school, especially in the sciences, perhaps medicine. If there are medical schools and business schools seeking to collaborate on projects, what you think of that?


Giuliano Noci:

First, as a technical school, School of Management in Milan University of Technology (Polimi) always try to combine science, education, industry and medicine. We segment target audience, identify their firms belonging to different industries, and provide each manager or technician with an interdisciplinary perspective. Meanwhile, Polimi has also worked for digital transformation by setting up about forty labs to go deeper into different aspects of digital innovations.

Second, regarding the involvement of specific scientists in business school, Polimi has set up an appropriate degree program in medicine and engineering. Using digital technologies has a key element for every training program.

Third, another element appreciated by our student base, companies, and industrial system has been the capability to provide fresh views from an international perspective.


José Manuel Martínez Sierra:

The strong comprehensive research backgrounds of Pompeu Fabra University's multi-disciplinary make it possible for the university to achieve cross-disciplinary teaching, which prompts faculty to get out of the traditional comfort zone to play a greater role. We should not only continue to expand in the traditional business field, but also make greater efforts in the cooperation and cross-integration with medicine, science, fintech, digitization and sustainability in combination with the new generation strategy.





How should the global business schools work together to keep making science, business, engineering inclusive to everyone?


Modimowabarwa Kanyane:

The digital society is pushing us into the paradigm of networking and working together, not working against each other. When we are thinking of coalescing education with science, we should also coalesce with the government and the industry, so that all of these together respond to the global markets and retain the stability of a country. BRICS, as an economic block, has emerged and created a niche. I think we should harness that space and bring in conversation that can strengthen the multilateralism.





How does the government in different countries encourages and helps make science, engineering and business school integrated? Through what kind of policy?


Didi Achjari:

I would like to share our experience in Indonesia, where the government has introduced a new policy to support collaboration and integration between the industry and the universities.

Government launched Freedom to Learn Program that comprises of nine activities, including student exchange, internship, teaching in primary or high schools, research in industries, entrepreneurship, community service, humanitarian project, independent project and military reserve. The other policy is that the government uses performance indicators to assess universities, mainly by three categories: graduates’ quality, quality of curriculum, societal impact and international recognition.





Geoffrey Garrett

Dean of Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California


Dan LeClair

CEO of Global Business School Network (GBSN)


Andrew Rose

Dean of Business School, National University of Singapore



Didi Achjari

Dean of School of Economy and Business, Gadjah Mada University


Nick Barniville

Associate Dean, European School of Management and Technology


BEN Shenglin

Dean of International Business School, Zhejiang University


John Finch

Dean of Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow


Modimowabarwa Kanyane

Executive Dean of School of Management, Commerce & Laws, University of Venda


Sanjeev Khagram

Director General & Dean of Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University


Léon Laulusa

Executive Vice-President, Dean for Academic Affairs and International Relations, ESCP Business School


Giuliano Noci

Vice Rector for China, Milan University of Technology


Steven Roberts

Dean of College of Business and Economics, Australia National University


Raul V. Rodriguez

Vice-president, Woxsen University


José Manuel Martínez Sierra

Director General of Barcelona School of Management, Pompeu Fabra University


Chair: WEN Wu

Professor, Zhejiang University International Business School

*Sorted by Last Name



Business x STEM: Perspectives from Deans of 14 Business Schools