Merging Disciplines to Meet Industry Needs

Manuel Acevedo-Jaramillo, dean of EAFIT Business School, talks with AACSB about the need to apply cross-disciplinary learning to meet global industry demands.


Manuel Acevedo-Jaramillo: [00:14] Business schools can easily engage with disciplines, such as humanities, law.

[00:18] It is a little bit more complicated when you engage with science and engineering. The experience we have had in EAFIT show was that it is physical and, not only physical, it adds a lot of value to these students' experience.

[00:28] These type of collaborations deliver two types of benefits, internal benefits and external benefits.

[00:33] What we have seen in terms of internal benefits are basically that students fell in love with their own careers. It is important to know that our business students, they had an image of what engineering students did or do at the workplace.

[00:47] Working together, they got to learn what is it that they do and how they do it. The engineering students got to learn what the business students do and how they do it.

[00:56] Now both of them value each one of their careers, and they value how to work together as a team in order to fulfill larger goals that companies or that they face in normal life.

[01:07] Those are the internal benefits that we saw. They learned from one another, and they have learned to recognize the importance of education and having dedication within ourselves.

[01:17] In terms of the external benefits, these projects come out of the idea that we need to be responsive to the industry needs. The workforce of tomorrow, or the workforce of today, not of tomorrow, they require commitment.

[01:35] They require cross disciplinary activities. They require high pressure work, working teams, collaboration.

[01:40] Those are issues that are not easy to teach in the normal classroom setting. Having a class four times a week, or two times a week, or once a week is not going to teach you how to work in teams.

[01:51] In terms of external benefits, we are seeing that these students are behaving differently, and some of them are starting to pursue their internship time at the companies. Those companies tell us they look and they act different.

[02:05] Companies are now knocking on the doors and they're saying, "Tell us what is it that you're doing. We heard that you are doing something that is innovative, that is different, that is helping the students develop skills that we want to see in them once they work with us." Those companies are now starting to open the doors to the possibilities of then funding the projects.

[02:26] This is not going to bring new funds to the school. Basically, our business model is going to remain as it is.

[02:32] As long as we get those funds to funnel these initiatives, these initiatives will be more widely available to students, and we will have better students and better students trained for the workforce.

Filmed February 2017 on site at AACSB's Deans Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.