open access

Abstract

Purpose: Business Education is everywhere. But is business and management education modeled mostly in the North American model or corporate business model, suited for a developing country like Bangladesh, where most of the businesses are small businesses? Who teaches what to whom for whom, using what resources, and following what approaches? Is the need for entrepreneurial and small firms being fulfilled by current business education and management graduates? If not, what to improve? Where to start? This article explores these issues and draws a concrete scenario of business education in a developing country like Bangladesh.  

Methods: This is an ethnographic reflection of eighteen years of corporate and academic experience. The author consolidates experiences from 'direct observant participation' including observations coming through continuous interactions with other stakeholders. Thus, the 'going native' syndrome has been minimized through peer validation from both industry and academic professionals. 

Results: Business education has a gap or mismatch in expectation and orientation. Teachers are recruited fresh out of universities without any exposure to the industry. Research and journal articles by faculties are hardly relevant and read by industry practitioners. Textbooks are foreign, mostly North American, or copycat translations. Graduates are blindly taught theories, and examples of multinationals. Business schools are nurturing this corporate blindness without any homegrown exercise or comprehensive local need analysis. So, industry, particularly, huge and varied SME sectors are not getting 'person-job' fit management graduates with realistic orientation. All know some of it for sure but none knows the entirety. So, the paper also made actionable propositions for all stakeholders - who could do what from their respective positions.

Implications: Current situation of business education in a developing country like Bangladesh is analyzed in detail. To initiate improvement in a meaningful way, all should have a starting big picture consolidation or situation analysis, on which a broad consensus can be developed, and synergistic progress can be made. This study consolidates that big picture of business and management education in one place, and it can be used one of those springboards from where stakeholders can take away their imperatives, and also work in collaboration with other actors.

Originality: All issues are partly known and discussed partly, in a range of papers, seminars, and dialogues. But consolidation in one place, drawing a summary of all actors and stakeholders, along with the context they operate, is rare. This paper attempts to do that.