Global Challenges for Business – University of Edinburgh Business School

Global Challenges for Business – University of Edinburgh Business School

The Global Challenges for Business course is an innovative new approach to the University of Edinburgh Business School’s first-year core requirements. All of the students, and those on a joint programme (330 + students) take this course where they grapple with global challenges businesses face (including topics such as digital disruption, globalisation, environmental disruption etc). Moreover, part of the course explicitly teaches critical thinking skills (Quality of Argument, Strength of Evidence, Clarity of Presentation) which the students then have to apply to the topic discussions. They are focused on students learning how to think, rather than what to think, and preparing them for the complex world they will face when they graduate, with the skills that will help them to understand and cut through that complexity.

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The strength of evidence group with Andrew Milligan, Head of Global Strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments

The students’ first assessment is a Group Poster Presentation where they apply one of the global challenges to a business. They develop a poster, oral presentation and written report which is assessed based on our three critical thinking criteria (Quality of Argument, Strength of Evidence, Clarity of Presentation).

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The quality of argument group with Emma Hay, Matthew Gill, and Tom Prew at Stewart Investors

Together with Aberdeen Standard Investments, Canon Medical Research Europe, and Stewart Investors, the Asia Scotland Institute hosted three poster prize sessions. The winning groups of students excelled in one of the critical thinking areas. Michailis Angelides, undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh and part of the winning strength of evidence group, commented:

“The lunch meeting with Andrew Milligan was an amazing opportunity for so many reasons. For one, it was useful to get his critiques and opinions on our poster presentation as he gave us tips as to what would be crucial in a practical business setting. It was also amazingly unique to receive perspective, insights, and advice on the ever-changing business world from an exceptionally experienced and high-achieving individual from within it. This truly was a unique and valuable experience that would be treasured by any business student.”

Sarah Ivory, lecturer in Climate Change and Business Strategy and course coordinator, commented:

“A Business School’s utility – for its students and for society – comes from maintaining close connections with the business community.  This ensures that our students understand the complexities of the global business environment, that we as business academics are up to date with pressing business issues, and the businesses have a window to the next generation of business people coming through.  Such a symbiotic relationship is made possible by organisations such as the Asia Scotland Institute who have been instrumental in linking first-year University of Edinburgh Business School students with leading members of the Edinburgh business community.”

Canon Medical commented:

“We were delighted to host the winning team for lunch here at Canon Medical, where they presented their winning posters to a representative of our Leadership Team. We, in turn, were able to give them an insight into our first-hand experiences of working in a global business, which we’re glad to hear they found very useful”.


Picture taken by Eoin Carey


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