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Benefits of Teaching Strategic Communications in Business Schools Gaining Attention

Joshua Passman

UCLA_Anderson_Mgmt UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is among the schools that have the widest array of strategic communications offerings for business students.

Many communications professionals have earned a seat at the table by offering counsel that is steeped in business acumen. But do their counterparts in functions such as finance and operations have the same knowledge of communications?

For the most part, the answer is ‘no,’ according to a new white paper from the Arthur W. Page Society.  As a communications professional and MBA graduate from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management, I jumped at the opportunity to contribute to the development of this white paper, which was launched today.

Research shows that the reputation of a company can directly impact its financial performance. Particularly at the senior levels, executives must communicate effectively with multiple constitu­encies, from customers to media to shareholders to employees to regulators.  However, the majority of graduate business schools have not elevated communications to an essential part of their curricula. That is changing, albeit incrementally. Some business schools – and hopefully more to come – have recognized the potential and the benefits of integrating strategic communications, including:

  • The ability to meet the high demand from companies and recruiters for MBAs with solid communications skills;
  • The opportunity to gain a competitive advantage at a low cost. Schools can build a good program with very little capital investment; and
  • A way to eliminate the risk of being left behind as other schools move forward.

The aim of integrating strategic communications into business school curricula is not to produce the next generation of chief communications officers. Rather, it is to create an understanding among the next generation of top leaders, including chief financial officers, chief information officers and chief executive officers, about the role, function and power of communications as an executive man­agement tool.

The paper, titled Teaching Strategic Communication in Business Schools: New Evidence from the C-Suite, shows that the majority of graduate business schools have not elevated communications to an essential part of their curricula and explains why it is increasingly imperative that they do so.

I encourage you to take the time to read through the paper, which includes compelling interviews with prominent business leaders including, among others, Keith Sherin, chairman and CEO of GE Capital, and Michael Lamach, chairman and CEO of Ingersoll Rand.  And, please help expand the reach of the paper by sharing it with your own personal and professional network. End of Story

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