top of page
MBA has NED governance hole

KEY findings from a recent paper on business diversification by Jiwook Jung and Taekjin Shin ( reveals that what is taught on the MBA core curriculum – aka what next generation CEOs learn in business school – has positive real world business impacts and does actually directly inform and influence business performance, mainly as a result of the beliefs CEO’s hold after completing their courses about what doing a good job could, would and should be. The bad news is that there is a 20 year time lag between lessons and execution.

Using collected data on 2,031 CEOs who ran 640 large U.S. corporations from 1985 to 2015 who earned an MBA before, during, and after the 1970s, Jung and Shin found that once later (post 1970) cohorts had control of the levers of corporate power that they were 17-24% more likely to pursue radically different business ideas and agendas. Not only did 25% of these senior executives implement what were then the newest/innovative ways of thinking about the business world they learnt about at Business School, 83% of them were even more likely to do so if they were taught and inspired by an expert thought leader.

According to corporate governance expert Gerry Brown corporate governance expert Gerry Brown, and author of ‘The Independent Director’ (, these latest research findings give yet greater credence, authority and urgency to his ongoing calls for a better understanding of the important role and function of non-executive directors by finding its rightful full place on our MBA and business degree curriculums.

“If what gets measured gets managed, then clearly what finds its way on the MBA curriculum gets taught and then finds its own way out into the real world business until it finally enters and dictates in the marketplace of ideas 20 years down the pipe,” says Brown.

“Given the complete and scandalous absence of the role and importance of independent non-executive directors in the current MBA and business curricula, there is surely no reason for any educational institution offering business degrees – whether under or post-graduate – to delay any longer in shaping our better futures?"

Though, gifted teachers deliver premium future results, Jung and Shin reveal that even average tuition of new, important or innovative ideas provides significant impacts and uplift decades hence.

“Obviously, no teaching of a key topic such as the importance of independent non-executive directors (NEDs) fails to shape any version of future CEO performance and, thereby, delivers absolutely nothing for businesses and society alike,” continues Brown.

“Currently almost all UK Business Schools do not even cover the corporate governance basics and practicalities.  Successfully educating, training and accrediting the non-executive directors (and executive boards) of the future requires actual attention on the curricula.  Just like artists and gifted sportspeople, the NEDs of the future need to be made rather than found.  Effectively educating the Directors and CEOs of tomorrow in how companies and boards should really be properly run should come fitted as standard on the MBA curriculum.”



bottom of page