By Daniel Hunter

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has announced that it is to work with the Association of Business Schools (ABS) to close the gap between British business schools and managers, following a new report published which shows how better alignment could boost the employability of business school graduates — and make a significant difference to economic growth.

The report from the ABS and the Innovation Task Force, The Role of UK Business Schools in Driving Innovation in the Domestic Economy, details six areas for practical action which include: designing practice into courses, bringing more practitioners into faculties, and improving the way the impact of research is measured. CMI contributed to the report and will be working with ABS to make these recommendations a reality by:

- Rolling out a review of the management curriculum working with the CMI's Regional Boards, comprised of managers from all sectors of the local economy, and their local business schools.

- Encouraging business schools to draw case studies from the local business community and facilitate access to these.

- Exploring how business schools can adopt a more practical approach to management education, which includes incorporating Chartered Manager into the MBA curriculum as a part of a ‘practical MBA’; this requires students to demonstrate and measure their positive impact on an organisation in the world of work through a ‘real world’ management project.

Facilitating real-world ‘mentors’ for students with local businesses and organisations.

“CMI welcomes this report which highlights innovative practices that help students engage with the real world of management and improves their employability. Yet despite these pockets of excellence, far too many business schools aren’t providing the practical management skills and access to employers that really will improve students’ job prospects," Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, commented.

“We are delighted to be working with the Association of Business Schools to put the key recommendations from this report into action. By implementing these measures we will enhance business school students’ practical management knowledge, improve their satisfaction and ultimately create better, more employable managers as graduates.”

Following the report, the Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, said: "Business schools are vital to growth, but all the incentives have been for them to focus on research.

"This important report, together with Lord Young's work, offers business schools a key role their local economies. Sir Andrew Witty is also carrying out an independent review into how universities can work with business and other local interested parties to increase economic growth.”

Professor Angus Laing, Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University and Chair of the Association of Business Schools said: “I wholeheartedly welcome CMI’s support for the critically important task of helping business schools align with management priorities. Today’s independent report provides a robust evidence base to inform both policy in respect of supporting economic growth and practice within the business school community.

"There is much work for the ABS, our members, government, business, funders and other stakeholder bodies to do to respond to deliver the culture change recommended. Reigniting growth in the aftermath of the global financial crisis remains a national priority and business schools have the potential to play a very significant role as local economic anchor institutions.”

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