#SBSStudents: Learning in Context (and in the sun!)

Students from the Suffolk Business School at the University of Suffolk have recently returned from a cultural tourism field trip to southern Spain.

The students studying Event and Tourism Management and Business Management visited Seville, Cordoba and Cadiz.

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Suffolk Business School students and staff in Seville. Photo (C) Suffolk Business School

Gintare Liutkeviciute, first year Event and Tourism student said “It has been an amazing trip, with the best people! I enjoyed every minute of it and it was great to use our Spanish language knowledge. I was impressed with the discipline and dedication of Spanish students at the Dance Concervatorio, it definitely taught me how important is to focus on my goals and to be committed no matter how hard it can get. Overall, this trip was absolutely amazing, can somebody turn back time por favor?”

Laura Locke, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Event and Tourism Management  who accompanied the students said “We visited museums and galleries, marvelled at the combination of Moslem, Jewish and Catholic heritage architecture displayed in the Mesquita in Cordoba, explored the Plaza de Espana in Seville where Game of Thrones and Star Wars was filmed and questioned the tour guide in Cadiz about the opportunities for developing destinations, thus extending the students’ learning from their year one and two modules.”

“There were many highlights of the tour; students were unanimous that the visit to the Conservatoire for Spanish dance in Seville was enlightening, inspiring, and inspirational.”

Accompanying Laura on the tour was Lecturer Gloria Picton. With a background in banking, Gloria teaches the Language and Culture for Business module so the students were able to put their Spanish to the test.

Fellow student Alioune Sylla said “I would recommend that every university should offer their students this opportunity. We really have been blessed to experience it. This trip offers students to get to know each other at different levels, to connect and also build friendships…we were able to practice what we have been studying in Spanish seminars for the past few weeks.”

 

Jainism and Ethical Finance

The world is reeling with the tsunami of finance – complex, confusing, overpowering and fraudulent. And now we have Trump to add to all this. There is a real shortage of different cultures and perspectives of finance – and nothing about the Jains. Finance is a core subject in thousands of business schools all over the world. Even The Economist recently noted that the Gujaratis and the Jains are the worlds most successful entrepreneurs. Given the unique philosophy of the Jains, and their wide and sustained success in finance, Aidan Rankin and I have written this new book by Routledge to help change the study of finance, and show students all over the world that different cultures of finance exist, are possible and above all, can bring a sustained spirit of contentment and success. It is published by Routledge and comes out in April 2017. It provides radical and timely new theoretical insights into the arid and turgid desert of finance which is highly transactional and exploitative. Here is the Routledge website where you can order it. If you wish to read a summary of the book, then click on this link here.

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The reason we wrote the book was because we are concerned to help the world and heal its wounds, like all of you. The book is nearly 200 pages long and contains Jain perspectives on typical finance subjects like profit, ownership, markets, investments, risk, return, debt, dividends and valuation. It also explains the basics of Jain philosophy and its relevance to the business world. There are stories and examples from true life stories of Jain businesses, current and historic. On this page, we would like to hear your comments and suggestions about how this book can be promoted widely. We are willing to speak about it at educational institutions and also our priority is to get it reviewed widely in blogs and media all over the world. There is a plan to do a UK launch event and one in India and perhaps also USA and Kenya if we can get partner interest. If you wish to review it for your own blogs or websites, or newsletters, then you are most welcome to do so.

 

TESTIMONIALS

This book provides a fascinating and detailed insight into a relatively unknown culture and code of ethics. I am sure it will help inform the corporate governance debate in the West.

Professor Janette Rutterford, Open University

Mere self interest and short termism has proven to be a catastrophic failure in finance. This books shows a very different and wise proven alternative – sustainable and ethical. –
Satish Kanabar, Former Director, Barclays
Jain teachings date back 5000 years to Northern India. Today, these teachings support a non-theistic religion, offer a practical living philosophy, and provide a set of values that inform the lives of some ten million Jains worldwide. Shah and Rankin explain how the Jain values of Anekant (respect for the views of others), Ahimsa (non-violence in action, speech, and thought), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) can offer a useful guide to responsible business practices. The authors provide numerous examples drawn from the Jain business community. The examples are offered both as an anecdote to an overly arid and typically incomplete orthodox view of business activity and as a useful supplement to contemporary thought on sustainability and corporate social responsibly. The ideas are interdisciplinary and holistic and should appeal to a wide audience, including sociologists, business ethics scholars, accountants, bankers, economists, and business people generally.

Daniel T. Ostas, J.D., Ph.D., James G. Harlow, Jr. Chair in Business Ethics, Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, USA

Jainism and Ethical Finance represents a groundbreaking divining rod for the 21St century’s most pressing moral imperative: a guide to wise restraint and the simultaneous embrace of compassion in everything that human beings think, intend and do. Atul Shah and Aidan Rankin have written a treatise that clearly elucidates the underpinnings of a moral universe that is at once revolutionary –in the best sense- and crucial to the future of humanity and of all biodiversity on this precious earth.

Michael Charles Tobias, President, Dancing Star Foundation, USA

In the face of widespread public distrust of modern banking and financial services, Shah and Rankin examine the enduring business practices of the Jain community and find hope for the future. Eloquent, timely and packed with wisdom.

John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network.

 

Our vision is that in time, Jain Business and Financial Ethics become an important part of business education all over the world. This will help people understand that not all problems require new solutions – some of them have been there in our past, but we have forgotten them today. It will also showcase a practical role model of how business can be performed differently and still bring sustainable success. If anyone would like to help us realise this vision, through events or sponsorship, we would be glad to hear from you.

Please contact Dr. Atul K. Shah if you have any queries about speaker requests or how this book can be read and discussed all over the world by students and business owners and professionals. We are also available to speak about the book at Universities or public events. It would be great if you could post your suggestions below so that the whole world can see what you think about this perspective and its possibles. Perhaps you would like to add your own story about how you apply Jain ethics in your business and professional life?

Introducing Professor David Collins, Head of the Suffolk Business School

david-collins-smallMessage from David Collins, Suffolk Business School

It has been suggested that I should take a few moments to introduce myself. I am, of course, more than happy to do so. Yet I will confess that I am not quite sure what I might usefully share on this my first ever blog post. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and while I have no wish to appear, either, secretive or aloof I genuinely don’t want to over-share…so mindful of the tight-rope walk that is blogging I offer the following.

I am – the Vice Chancellor informs me – the founding Head of the University of Suffolk’s Business School. This is, I tell the Vice Chancellor, a great honour since it carries with it a real opportunity to share in the future of the institution and the School.

In November last year the University invited me to prepare a short press release to announce my appointment. In this press release I made two observations which, since they signal something about my preferences and orientations, may be worth re-visiting.

In the press release I claimed that I am ‘an academic’s academic’ and I stand by this statement. I do however recognise that it is potentially problematic and more than slightly ambiguous. For the record therefore the claim that I am ‘an academic’s academic’ should not be taken as signalling to the uninitiated that I am poorly dressed and have personal freshness issues. Rather my suggestion is intended to convey an understanding that while I am keen to work with business, and while I am keen to prepare graduates for careers in business and beyond, I remain at root an academic who has devoted most of his adult life to researching the complex problems and dilemmas that managers face. Yes, that’s correct I have always been an academic. But I don’t apologise for that fact. I mean to say, you don’t looks sideways at your GP and say, ‘So you’ve never been anything apart from a doctor!’

The truth is it takes a long time to become an expert…and I’m still working on this project. That is why I am ‘Professor in’ rather than ‘Professor of Management’.

My second observation relates to jargon. I don’t like jargon and I try not to use it. I do use ‘big’ words of course and sometimes I have to write in long sentences. But I like my writing to be crisp, clear and elegant. I acquired this conviction from a local boy named Eric Blair. You may know him better as George Orwell.

Many years ago Orwell published two rather important essays that have had a profound impact upon how I write. These are entitled ‘Why I write’ and ‘Politics and the English Language’. If you have an essay or a report to write in the near future you might like to read one or both of these.

Thanks to President Trump’s focus upon ‘alternative facts’, Orwell’s ‘1984’ is now topping the best sellers lists again. If you haven’t read this book you really should. It is in fact the first novel I ever read…but then I never actually started reading seriously until I was 16. I might talk more about this in a future blog.