Theme: Can Business School Students Help Change the World? Lessons From a Pedagogical Experience at ESSEC Business School


Drawing on the lessons learned from a recent innovative pedagogical experience, our paper explains to which extent business education can pragmatically address the sustainability challenges, and why it implies to go beyond the classical business school curriculum.

Our approach consists in confronting perspectives on education proposed by philosophers and social scientists such as Aristotle, Dewey, Nussbaum, Sen or Rorty, with recent empirical experiences developed within business schools, and especially within a seminar named “Understand and change the world” carried out in September 2015 and 2016 at ESSEC Business School with 380 students, in order to explain why harnessing the ends rather than the means is a pre-requisite to meet the sustainability challenges within business schools and how we may proceed.

We argue that to address sustainability challenges within business schools students need to use their practical wisdom, cultivate their sense of the common good and their empathy with human ends. This implies to take a step back from the instrumental approach to careers, business education and business.

Contact: reza.mousavi@essec.edu