The Champagne Of Business Education


“When something extra-ordinary is called for.”

Want to hear a secret on business education? MUMs the word. This is the out-of-the-box MBA off just about everyone’s radar. In general, Business Education in the media tend to focus on classic MBA programs. Perhaps, it is the story of a generous alum donating millions to their alma mater. The worst articles come across as content driven exercises in marketing hype.

It is rare to see a discussion of values or how we as a society would like to see future MBAs behave and use their talent productively. Emphasis at MBA trade fairs focus on ROI, networking, pedigree, and enhanced competencies. Business Education is no longer about learning or becoming a better human being.

Business Education is sold like a commodity because it has become a commodity. About year ago, the FT ran a huge spread on the deluge of MBA applicants. The article although well researched spoke about obtaining an MBA as a must have. What was striking was the fact that this form of post-grad education was being flogged as this year’s hot new It bag. You get my point. MBAs are peddled like a luxury good, consumed, used, and then disregarded. I will not discuss here the reasons most people do an MBA or one of its variants. The answers are as plain as a pikestaff.

Just for argument’s sake, let’s take an another approach, and look at a program, which is dramatically different.

It is off everyone’s radar because it is non-traditional although it is AASCB recognized. The program I will discuss provides an unexpected solution to traditional education and career change. Perhaps, more importantly, it could serve more traditional MBA programs for a template of change to their own curriculums.

Reinterpreting Business Education
The MBA program I wish to bring to your attention is the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) based in Iowa. Before you click off this article, hear me out with an open mind.

What Steve Jobs might have said about this academic institution is that it dares to “think differently”. They offer MBAs another template on business, ethics, and values. Imagine, if the top MBAs taught the components on which MUM specializes?

Perhaps, we would not be in our current political, social or financial mess.

Examine the core curriculum. You can see at a glance, the issues, which constitute the on-going debate within Business Education. Just ask yourself, if you could institute one change in education, what would it be?

What is missing from contemporary business education?

What I have discovered at many noble academic institutions is that business education negates any understanding of consciousness. Without understanding who we really are and how we can implement positive change, all we learn are technical skills and how to manipulate people to assorted ends. It is not for nothing that many business education students supplement their studies by reading Machiavelli’s, The Prince or Tse Su’s, Art of War.

Gaining Awareness
Engaging in any field of study, an educator should recognize that there are three elements involved:

1. The knowledge of the field of study
2. The process of gaining knowledge
3. The type of knowledge a student gains

Most top universities are excellent in training students on mastering the first element — covering the subject of study. The best progressive schools such as IE Business School in Madrid improve the process through innovative teaching techniques, simulations, and stretching the student’s comfort zones to encompass new approaches, which are theory and practice.

However, conventional MBAs fail to expand the learning ability of the student to foster the “best” sense of community involvement and awareness. As practioners know, understanding the field of “consciousness” is like walking on a knife’s edge. It demands balance and commitment to handling adroit situations in a state of equipoise and harmony.

Without this third element, an information-based education is incomplete.
Imagine the Dalai Lama teaching business strategy, and you get the full picture.

Business knowledge might be gained by traditional formats, but what is the cost to the personal growth and potential of the individual?

What is the impact he or she will have on society once engaged in the work world?

The missing element, to borrow a term from Harvard Business School, is to create a truly unique “transformational” educational experience.

If a student can learn to transform their consciousness from within, they will have the capability to change the way the brain functions. Studies in Asia show that this is not wishful thinking but scientific fact.

What is consciousness-based education?
At Maharishi University of Management (MUM), MBA students do study serious business competencies and technical skills. However, added to this they learn to systematically cultivate their inner potential.

By learning how to “master the Self”, the students awareness expands. This not only improves their ability to see the big picture, but also impacts on their abilities to relate to others in non-confrontational and non-zero sum games.

Don’t business leaders recognize that the “financial crisis” has been self-inflicted by so-called experts motivated by their worst human instincts?

A consciousness-based education however, connects everything a real business leader needs to learn in order to the underline the wholeness of life.

All knowledge emerges from consciousness — and in essence, we are all nothing but consciousness. What differentiates MUM from any other MBA business school is their ability to “connect the dots” by tying knowledge of business practices to our inner intelligence.

This approach can have a positive impact by reshaping the principles we think of when it comes to business leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Everyone benefits when we harness such tools to generate a positive change for the commonweal.

Some readers will feel that instituting “Transcendental Meditation” as a form of business leadership training is a bit too radical. Well, in India and Japan, they have been teaching meditation for thousands of years. If meditation was truly inconsequential and bogus, they would have stopped by now. Common sense dictates that there is something here really worth investigating.

Extensive published research on TM found that the technique taught at MUM boosts learning, creativity, improves brain functioning, and reduces stress. If this sounds like an engaging proposition, it is.

I do not suggest that TM is only method nor would MUM. There are many types of meditation, and any serious study of the subject demonstrates that the results inevitably all lead to the same state of mind: self-mastery.

Now who doesn’t want to be master of his or her own being or career growth?

What you can expect from the MUM curriculum?
My investigations show that the MUM MBA fosters a specialized degree program in Sustainable Business. The program covers the following 5 key areas:

* Self-Sustainability: Develops your inner potential and leadership abilities through Consciousness-Based education

* Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Focuses on creating successful green businesses that produce real value for society

* Sustainable Business Solutions: Provides the knowledge and skills needed for transforming and managing businesses for lasting sustainability

* Sustainable Management: Emphasizes the people and organizational skills needed for managing projects and operations

* Sustainable Living: Provides advanced knowledge and experience in renewable energy, organic agriculture, and the other principal fields of sustainable living

Pragmatic Criteria
Students with a bachelor’s degree in business may be able to complete the MBA in Sustainable Business in as little as one year.

Other students may be eligible to receive credits for some undergraduate courses previously taken in the fields of sustainability, ecology, environmental science, and related fields. These credits, upon approval, can enable the student to graduate in less than two years.

Sustainable Entrepreneurship
As more and more people recognize the importance of sustainability, new opportunities abound, but an entrepreneurial approach is necessary to recognize and implement them. MUM offers a full range of courses to train students to create new businesses with life-sustaining products and services.

Green Business & Natural Capitalism
MUM embraces the vision that business can be “green both ways” — operating in harmony with nature, and making money. Each of the entrepreneurial business courses teaches principles and examples of green business and natural capitalism.

Sustainable Business Plans
Students apply the knowledge from their courses to create sustainable business plans. Experienced business managers, as well as a team of faculty, provide mentoring and feedback throughout the business plan project.

Continuous Sustainable Improvement
Students learn to design and manage new enterprises through the application of sustainable business process improvement, achieving balanced and integrated improvements in the performance of any organization, and delivering value to all the stakeholders including customers, employees, shareholders, community, and environment.

These improvements include reliability, efficiency and continuous innovation. Using customer-centered approaches, students apply process improvement techniques as consultants to an actual business.

Visit MUM at:

Maharishi University of Management participates in the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, an UN-backed global initiative developed to promote corporate responsibility and sustainability in business education. Their endorsement of PRME expresses their commitment to ongoing progress in curriculum development, research, and community leadership in support of sustainable management systems.

Article Title: The Champagne of Business Education
Photograph: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | MBA Admissions | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Talent Development | Life & Career Coaching |

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