Boston University Questrom School of Business Reports Findings from Global Brainstorm to Improve Business Education

BOSTON (April 8, 2015) —Boston University Questrom School of Business announced the release of its report providing findings from the unprecedented Business Education Jam, focused on revolutionizing the future of management education.

“Reimagining Business Education: A World of Ideas” summarizes findings from the Business Education Jam and provides next steps for business schools to consider as they strive to remain relevant, broaden their reach, and increase their level of respect with employers. A number of areas are highlighted: enhancing value for students and business, producing relevant research, embracing technology, supporting millennials, collaborating with industry, fostering ethics, developing next-generation entrepreneurs, and revamping rankings.

The Business Education Jam was conducted last fall with almost 4,000 participants from 40 industries and more than 300 hundred academic institutions, and 93 countries. During the course of 60 consecutive hours, participants from industry and academia logged on to IBM’s online platform to discuss and crowdsource ideas to improve business education in a dramatically changing world.

“For the first time, industry and academia from around the world came together—deans, administrators, executives, human resource and talent development leaders, students, and recent graduates—to share, learn, and envision the future of business education,” said Kenneth W. Freeman, Allen Questrom Professor and Dean at the Questrom School of Business. “This was not your typical academic conference, because we brought employers, a vital beneficiary of our educational efforts, to the forefront.”

Recent presentations at conferences sponsored by AACSB, EFMD, and GMAC demonstrate the intense desire of business school deans around the world to make positive change to better support the needs of employers. IBM’s analytics helped highlight the most significant Jam findings, which are leading to the development of specific actions to innovate business education at business schools around the world. These include:

  • Enhancing value for students, employers, and society
  • Creating business school research that drives insights for business
  • Adapting business education to utilize new delivery technologies
  • Determining how best to deal with policy, accreditation, and rankings
  • Establishing close collaboration among business education and industry to develop critical leadership and management competencies
  • Identifying ways to tap the potential of millennials
  • Fostering ethical leadership skills across business education and industry
  • Developing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators

“We expect that the report will stimulate participants and others interested in business education to expand their networks, collaborate on solutions, and gain new insights that will inform their own professional focus in industry and academia alike,” Dean Freeman said.

On March 30, 2015, the School of Management was renamed the Questrom School of Business, in recognition of the largest gift in Boston University history, from Allen and Kelli Questrom and the Allen & Kelli Questrom Foundation. Allen Questrom, a 1964 graduate of the School, is a retailing industry icon having successfully transformed several of the nation’s largest department and specialty stores, including JCPenney Company.

“We are honored to become the Questrom School of Business,” Dean Freeman said. “Through their generous gift, Allen and Kelli Questrom demonstrate their desire to keep business education innovatively moving forward, which the Jam itself symbolizes.”

The Questrom School will continue to seek new partnerships to further innovation in business education and unite leaders in industry and academia. Interested organizations can visit for more information on how to get involved. Other efforts include hosting a conference to review Jam findings and identify next steps in bridging the interests of academia and industry, launching webinars in collaboration with the Financial Times, and conducting additional events with broader global participation in 2016.


Through a series of 10 discussion forums, including topics such as “Engaging New-Generation Students & Employees” and “Harnessing Digital Technology,” the Jam enabled participants to engage in a free-flowing convergence of ideas on how to transform business education. Participants used a variety of digital tools to prompt conversation including polls, word clouds, and real-time chats with featured VIP guests, who posted comments, responded to questions, offered insight, and sparked dialogue. Among the 99 VIPs were 17 CEOs, 18 higher education deans, and six of the Thinkers50 top management thinkers.

In addition to Boston University Questrom School of Business, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) presented the Business Education Jam. The Financial Times was the designated global media sponsor.

Collaborators included IBM, Santander, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), and Boston University Human Resource Policy Institute. Ernst & Young, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Fidelity Investments provided additional support.

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Boston University Questrom School of Business prepares and empowers leaders and innovators to anticipate change, harness it, and to positively affect society. The Questrom School and its faculty focus on bridging research and practice in providing students with core business skills, insight, and relevant experiences to master the forces transforming the global economy. These include: digital technology, social enterprise and sustainability, and health and life sciences. The Questrom School of Business offers a broad array of undergraduate, graduate, part-time, executive, and doctoral programs.

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Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.