Business schools ‘ignore’ mid-sized firms

“We are failing to make the most of our world-class business schools,” the Business Schools Task Force said. “Our society, economy and universities are all diminished by a failure to overcome the challenges of [working with] this important sector.”

The independent body, which was established by the Government last year, said schools must establish an “engagement plan” to improve mid-sized firms’ understanding of what they can offer, reports The Telegraph.

The report called for schools actively to target the UK’s 10,000 mid-sized companies – defined as having sales of between £25m and £500m – through “taster sessions” and tailored courses that meet the needs of local companies.

In turn, directors of mid-sized businesses should work with their local school to examine their management practices and look at how they could be improved, the report said.

Other proposed measures include business schools promoting careers in mid-sized businesses to their students, while company directors should join the boards of schools to “ensure the voice of local firms is heard”.

The report added that owners of mid-sized companies often have a number of misconceptions about business schools.

They believe schools can only teach “theory and not applicable knowledge” and either think courses will be prohibitively expensive or entirely free. Business schools and their students often prefer to work with big companies, the report notes.

Business minister Michael Fallon said: “Our firms will miss out if they do not invest in their people and see what their local business school has to offer.”

The Government is also backing a drive to improve the management quality of Britain’s mid-sized businesses through GrowthAccelerator, a training scheme which is working with the bosses of 1,500 companies.