Increasingly, business education seems to be embracing a bigger picture. Alongside other discussion this week surrounding the merits of teaching Plato to plumbers, an article in the Wall Street Journal asks whether philosophy and abstract thinking may hold relevance to MBAs. The London Business School’s new “Nobel Thinking” elective, for example, invites business students to study the origins of revolutionary economic theories developed by Nobel Prize winners. At the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, students are supplementing case studies with anthropological insights. In a similar spirit, the Copenhagen Business School plans to grow its master of science in business administration and philosophy program to attract more international students.
This emphasis on studying ideas beyond the traditional realm of business not only allows future business leaders to draw on more varied theoretical perspectives, but also offers them a unique opportunity to ask important critical questions. “Courses like ‘Why Capitalism?’ and ‘Thinking about Thinking,’ and readings by Marx and Kant, give students a break from Excel spreadsheets and push them to ponder business in a broader context,” explains the WSJ article, adding, “Expect more abstract ideas in business schools soon.”