Suffolk Young Enterprise finals

By David Collins, Suffolk Business School

In my last blog which was, I acknowledge, quite some time ago I was looking forward to a family break. I have now returned – however reluctantly – from my trip to France. Indeed since this welcome break I have been to France, Belgium, Holland and North Norfolk!

I had intended to prepare a blog posting last week but a very crowded diary prevented this. Last Thursday, you see, I acted as the Chair of a University validation panel and in the evening I was privileged to attend the Suffolk Young Enterprise Awards, which was hosted by the University of Suffolk.

This event is the culmination of a process which sees groups of students prepare business plans designed to bring a product to the marketplace. At last week’s event the students reported on what they had done and on what they had learned and, perhaps most importantly, what they had earned through this process since this is no abstract exercise. In this regard it is perhaps worth conceding that I bought two ‘spinners’ for my kids from the team representing East Bergholt.

Aside from indulging myself in a bit of retail therapy I also took the opportunity to remind the students of the benefits of a degree education that will make them ‘career –ready’. In addition I took a moment to remind their teachers of the need to ensure their own continuing development. Teachers you see need to be ‘ahead of the game’ because they must prepare their students for a market that is always six years away! Given the complexities associated with leading a school I was pleased to be able to inform the teachers (and parents) who were present that we offer a range of postgraduate, MBA and MSc, programmes that have been designed to prepare participants for future senior management and executive positions.

The highlight of the evening was of course the prize-giving. I was invited to award a number of prizes on behalf of the judging committee and was pleased to accept. If I’m I really don’t enjoy having my photograph taken and would normally look for some way to wriggle out of this obligation. But I was pleased to set aside my normal reticence on this occasion for I was genuinely impressed by what the students had achieved. Indeed I found myself humbled by the quality of the presentations that they delivered last Thursday evening. In fact I am pretty well convinced that I could not do at 20 what the students last week had achieved in their middle teens!

Given these performance I do hope that I was successful in my attempts to persuade the students and their parents that they should continue their studies at the University of Suffolk.

Save the date! MBA 25th Anniversary Celebrations

Suffolk Business School alumni are invited to save the date for the 25th Anniversary of the MBA programme – staff and alumni will be coming together to celebrate this momentous occasion in the evening of Friday 9 May.

Watch this space!

In the meantime, read some MBA #SBSAnalysis posts:

Secrets of Jain Business Success Revealed

By Dr Atul Shah, Course Leader in Accounting and Financial Management at Suffolk Business School.

One of the world’s most successful business and finance cultures, the Jains, revealed their ethics and culture in a new research study completed by Dr. Atul Keshavji Shah and Dr. Aidan Rankin, based on thirty years of community work, engagement and dialogue. Titled ‘Jainism and Ethical Finance – A Timeless Business Model’, this 176 page book published by Routledge was launched globally at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich at a special event on Tuesday 25th April 2017. Speakers at the launch included Dr. Bharat Shah, the CEO of Sigma Pharmaceuticals, whose business history is featured in the book, and Jain Nuns Samani Pratibhapragya and Samani Unnatapragya from Jain Vishwa Bharti.

Book display

The book elaborates on the Jain theory of business, showing that the focus is on good and sincere efforts and service, with conduct which is not selfish or greedy and founded on building good long-term relationships with customers and suppliers. In his speech, Dr. Atul Shah, who has a PhD from the London School of Economics and is a Senior Lecturer at Suffolk Business School, explained how modern accounting and finance education is divorced from faith and culture, and as  a result is the cause of untold damage and inequality in the world. Given the huge urgency of sustainable business, the world needs to learn from ancient wisdom traditions who have a multi-generational track record of success. The Jain Nuns explained how Acharya Tulsi and Acharya Mahapragya constantly emphasised ‘anuvrat’ the need for clear vows and discipline in business conduct. Dr. Hedley Swain, Director of the Arts Council, chaired the event and explained how critical it was that Britain learnt from diverse cultures, and allowed them to speak in their own voice. Dr Bharat Shah explained how Sigma’s business growth was organic, and respect for customers and suppliers is critical to their culture. Key strategic decisions were taken after a dialogue with the inner soul, which is different from rational calculation and logical analysis.

The book has already received outstanding testimonials from academics from all over the world including Professor Prem Sikka, Professor Dan Ostas, Professor Janette Rutterford and Professor Al Bhimani of the London School of Economics. Mr Dhiraj Shah, General Secretary of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh explained that this book makes a profound contribution to the western crises in business ethics, opening a new dawn of research drawing from the vast ocean of knowledge that is India. Prof David Collins, Head of Suffolk Business School explained, ‘Dr Shah’s account of finance and ethics is both, unique and interesting because it builds upon an appreciation of the knowledge and experience of the Jain community. The book, therefore, offers a fascinating account of the Jains and builds upon this in-depth appreciation to demonstrate the ways in which this practical philosophy secures an holistic appreciation of the ecology of business and finance’.

The book is available as hardback or an e-book from Routledge or Amazon.