Listen to this article
The Joseph Rotman School of Management in Toronto has received C$10m from Marcel Desautels, president and CEO of the Canadian Credit Management Foundation. The gift brings Mr Desautels total donations to the school to C$31m.
His earlier donations were used to establish the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking and to support student scholarships. His latest gift will be used - among other things - to hire more faculty, develop the curriculum and support research projects at the centre.
Integrative thinking was conceived by Roger Martin, dean and professor of strategic management at the Rotman, when he was a management consultant with Monitor in the US. At its heart, integrative thinking is about considering a problem as a whole and keeping the bigger picture in mind, even while working on individual aspects of the problem, says Prof Martin.
The dean is keen to change the way in which business schools teach business and he has nailed his colours to the mast as the Rotman school is redesigning business education for the 21st century with a curriculum based on integrative thinking.
Integrative thinking has been woven into the school’s MBA and EMBA programmes as well as its executive education courses.
“We want to change how MBA students conceive of their job,” he says. Managers he says are often presented with two choices where neither is perhaps the optimal choice. “Intergrative thinking is about instead of choosing one or the other, constructing a better choice, a better option, it is about how to make something better.”
Prof Martin describes Mr Desautels’ gift as “stunningly fantastic”. Whilst the centre would still have been established, nevertheless without the donations “We would not be anywhere close to where we are now”, adds Prof Martin.
“The world of business education has been fundamentally changed for the better by the emergence of integrative thinking,” says Mr Desautels.