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New Undergraduate Module and Conference for Business Students: University of East Anglia & Tomorrow’s Company

Tomorrow's Business Leaders: a Force For GoodTomorrow's Company has set as one of its two priorities the objective of improving the way business is learned. This year, in collaboration with the Norwich Business School at UEA, we co-designed a module for undergraduate students. Last month we held a conference to conclude this module, inviting guests to join the students.  Our aim in focusing on how business is learned is to influence the future generation of leaders and inspire and enable them to create profitable businesses that are a force for good in society.  Our module was undertaken by 258 first year undergraduate students from the BA business degrees. Some of the key themes were entrepreneurship, business as a force for good in society and thinking & challenging”.  In the course of the module carrying out these themes, we have offered a  variety of guest speakers; challenged conventional assumptions about the nature of business and the way it is taught; introduced a method of assessment that tests entrepreneurial creativity; and, although not our original intention, delivered this year’s module entirely online(!) We offered both classes and mentoring sessions, and our assessment method included the option of a variety of practical formats, such as videos, podcasts, narrated PowerPoints and conference posters. The students also kept a diary in order to allow them to reflect and process after classes.  We are delighted to update you that the module and conference were a big success, with students and participants providing great feedback, indicating “I loved the creative freedom we were given to try and put theory into practice in actualizing a business idea” and “we could make our own decisions on what societal problem to prevent…” and that “everything taught could be used in our future”. Students also found “The module conference was insightful” Overall, nicely summarised “The module wasn't about learning from a textbook and repeating it, it allowed us to research and discover things we were interested in.”  and “freedom of choice, guest speakers, creativity” And even the assessment “I love the summative task as it is so flexible and really makes you think!” In the conference our keynote address was from Nick Linney (5th generation Linney Group) and interviews with students about the ventures (with a purpose) they developed throughout the course:  Carolina Dos Santos Marques talked about ‘period poverty’ and her business idea while Harry Smart discussed his business solution in addressing ‘plastic pollution’.  There were two sessions of breakout rooms for students and people from business to discuss views, and share some of the module feedback whilst encouraging others to become involved. The positive comments reinforce our plan to run a second module next spring improved by the feedback received. We will extend this thinking to students studying other subjects, beginning with students of International Development Management. We want this initial work with UEA to be the start of something that is adopted elsewhere. If you are able to help us realise this ambition through your own support, whether by way of introductions, intelligence of work being done elsewhere, offers of help in kind or charitable donation, please contact one of us. Kevan Williams UEA  kevan.williams@uea.ac.uk Mark Goyder Tomorrow’s Company mark@tomorrowscompany.com

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