Higher Education in High-Gear I just finished reading “From Higher Aims to Hired Hands” by Rakesh Khurana. I have to tell you it hastruly motivated me from the standpoint that higher education has a window of opportunity that can propel aninstitution to a new level. The theme and supporting research of this book focuses on the American Business School and the quest forestablishing business and management as a profession. The author walks us through noteworthy and historicalevents that have led us to where academic business and management institutions are today. The Epilogue is perhaps the most intriguing section and sets the tone as to where he believes theseinstitutions are today. He suggests that American Business Schools appear to be moving toward the followinginitiatives:1) A focus on school ratings versus curricula and research;2) The use of the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a tool to manage students as customers;3) Shifting from academics and research to social networks/networking;4) Away from establishing management and business as a Profession and more toward Leadership; and5) Reinvention My initial impression of this book was much different from what I expected. I really believed the authorwould paint a vision that the elite business and management schools have arrived at their destination and now needto progress to the next level of excellence and challenges. In fact, he presents a much less positive view. A viewthat almost suggests these institutions are stuck in the past and are constantly bouncing back and forth over issuesthat are probably not very important today or in the future. After thinking about this for some time, I came to the conclusion that all institutions have a window ofopportunity. We need to prepare our business and management students to be the next generation of leaders andthinkers. Prepare them to apply the tools necessary to be effective, efficient and successful in business operations.The following is what I believe is a blueprint for success:1) Focus on the student. Provide great customer service through efficient processes and internal functions thatassist, not impede the student;2) Provide rich content and an effective delivery platform. Continue to automate delivery and integrate learningcommunities. The learning platform needs to be available around-the-clock and provide the same level of rigor andvalue as the classroom;3) Evolve an applied focus. This is where the rubber meets the road. Provide tools the student needs to beproductive in industry;4) Improve corporate ties and relationships. Bolster these efforts and gain an even deeper understanding of whatbusiness organizations need. This includes forming active industry advisory boards;
5) Embrace and leverage technology. Although most institutions have successfully implemented technology, makethe experience similar to the interaction of the classroom and deliver rich and meaningful content. This includesintegrating emerging social media tools and technology;6) Integrate/thread the framework of people, process and technology. Integrating these three dimensions willprovide students the tools they need to better understand organizations; work and deal with people; develop andestablish efficient business operations; and gain insight to leveraging technology;7) Prepare students for “internationalism.” As organizations and markets move globally prepare students to dealand integrate with other cultures, values, and operations;8) Continue to innovate and improve curriculum and content. Consistently review and assess programs, courses,and delivery methods. Be INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE;9) Build faculty bench strength. Simply hire and train the best. Focus on the scholar and practitioner. Individualsthat possess an advanced education along with practical experience culminate a powerful combination;10) Incorporate Ethics into the curriculum. Expand it and include Environmental and Social Responsibility;11) Create an educational culture of delivery and not consulting. Develop a culture of delivery and execution andnot produce a bunch of clipboard carrying individuals with a gimmick. A high percentage of issues mostorganizations experienceis the failure to deliver;12) Improve Graduate Research. Have the ability to perform a solid trade study, analysis, or craft a researchapproach. Introduce students to various methodologies and have them apply it at some level in their projects; and13) Manage the entire student life-cycle. This begins with the very first contact through graduation and on as analumni.Integrate retention efforts into the entire life-cycle and not just collect a bunch of metrics.Dr. Phil Burian’s career spans over 30 years of technical and leadership positions in government, industry, andacademic environments. His diverse background coupled with operational experience gives him an extremely broadinsight from a technology, program management and business perspective. His framework of vision, objectives andstrategy; people, process, technology; productivity, performance and innovation form the foundation of strongorganizational leadership. He is currently the Chair of the Business and Management Department at CTU SiouxFalls. Dr. Burian and his family are the owners and operators of Diamond Burian Ranch in South Dakota.