The aim of this paper/roundtable discussion is to expose and discuss our experience with an alternative pedagogic method of post-graduate (management) education: a field trip, which combines student-led, inquiry-based learning approach with a critical collaborative reflection on the theme of ‘environmental degradation as a business opportunity in a contemporary global context’. The Bristol MBA programme has an established tradition of integrating into its curriculum a non-compulsory study-trip based activity where students are given the opportunity to engage with “live cases” related to various aspects of ecological crisis, globalisation and development (Cicmil, 2013). This year, it was the visit to The Eden Project in Cornwall, with an added unique feature - cohort diversity and multidisciplinary background of the academic team. The participating students came from two UWE programmes - Bristol MBA and MSc Sustainable Development in Practice while the research interests of the teaching team spanned the areas of organisational ethnography, complex projects, environmental agenda, financial sustainability, critical pedagogy in management education, participatory research and community development.
The presentation will outline the new insights that have emerged from this adventure from both pedagogic and strategic angle. The former will address the issue of student engagement – or lack of it – a hot topic for UK business schools and universities (Page and Gaggiotti, 2013) The latter will particularly highlight challenges and surprises related to innovating and enhancing a business school curriculum by changing the rules of engagement in teaching (ibid.); the tensions between staying practical and business oriented vs experiencing controversial topics (e.g. sustainability) which might otherwise remain outside the MBA framed learning about organisations.
Gaggiotti, H., Cicmil, S., Collins, K., Laurent, S., Bakare, A., Lockyer, J., & Akinbusoye, A. (2015, September). Learning from the sharp end in a Business School - A back-to-nature student fieldtrip. Presented at International Symposium: Learning from the sharp end – implications for sustainability in Higher Education