Developing the next generation of leaders

We are developing a curriculum that holds responsible and ethical practice at its core. Throughout our programmes, we are working to develop a new generation of responsible leaders and entrepreneurs with the skills needed to change and challenge business on a daily basis in their future.

With students from across the world, our courses offer the opportunity to learn from different perspectives and gain a global outlook on business so that they can make positive and sustainable industry changes.

Examples of where we are embedding a culture of responsible business within our modules are:

MBA modules

A number of modules on our MBA programme cover aspects of responsible business. On the full-time programme, ‘Principles of Responsible Business’ and on the Executive and Distance Learning Programmes, ‘Business and Society’. These modules consider the overarching question of what sort of ‘social contract’ is required between business and its multiple stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, government, citizens and society as a whole.

From 2020 all MBA students will study a new Responsible Business module.

MSc Principles of Responsible Business Module

This module covers ‘responsible capitalism’ and also looks at the implications that business ethics, corporate governance and sustainability have on a business’s responsibility to its customers, employees (i.e. pay, pensions, training, working conditions and rights), stakeholders, and greater society. It considers the overarching question of a ‘social contract’ between businesses and the government, with the general public’s best interest at the forefront.

This course is part of our Management MSc.

MSc Responsible Marketing and Society Module

This module addresses the broad issues of ethics, social responsibility, and sustainability in marketing. The module seeks to encourage students to develop their own, well-informed understanding of responsible marketing. Topics covered include ethical marketing and decision-making, social and sustainability marketing, ethical consumption, consumer resistance and activism.

This course is part of our Marketing MSc.

Undergraduate Global Business Ethics Module

Business ethics looks at what is considered to be morally right and wrong in terms of how a business conducts itself. One of the key questions raised in this module is whether businesses should be held accountable for ethical responsibilities beyond maximisation of profit.

This course is part of our Business Management BSc.

Undergraduate Responsible Business Module

This module allows students to understand the challenges associated with responsible business transformation, and to develop a conceptual and pragmatic set of responsible business competences to assist in this transformation.

This course is part of our Business Management BSc.

Opportunities for students

Responsible Business Student Challenge

The Covid-19 pandemic has both created major challenges and opportunities in society and has the potential to fast-track business innovation and transform the way in which we work. Many companies and organisations (such as charities or governments departments) will be reviewing their operations, either to increase profitability or efficacy in the ‘new normal’, or simply just to survive. Changes to how we live, travel, work, and shop will likely last beyond the pandemic itself, and businesses and organisations need to respond. But how can they adapt responsibly? What can we learn from the pandemic to bring about a more responsible future? What does it mean for an organisation to do the ‘right thing’ in a post-Covid world?

The 2021 Responsible Business Student Challenge, in partnership with Deloitte, asked students to explore these questions, and by acting as a consultant to a chosen business or organisation, make recommendations on how they can be responsible in a post-pandemic world.

View the winners and finalists from the 2021 Challenge 

Future Leaders Certificate

The postgraduate Future Leaders Certificate, run by the Business School’s Careers in Business team, is an extra-curricular programme currently in its pilot year, and is designed to prepare our MSc students for the potential impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This is intended to equip students with the skills they need to stand out and succeed within this increasingly competitive market. As part of this, students will be encouraged to increase their awareness of responsible business and ethical considerations.

The Certificate culminates in our Gold Award, where students will receive expert coaching, mentoring and industry insight, and work on a group project set by multi-national companies which place high importance on their social and corporate responsibility. 

Birmingham project

The Birmingham Project is a two-week University-wide challenge that is open exclusively to first-year undergraduate students. Working in a mixed discipline group, students will tackle one of several 'real-world' challenges which are set by academics. Each year Ian Thomson, Professor of Accounting and Director of Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business, leads a ‘Responsible Business’ themed challenge. Participants gain invaluable skills and experience which will benefit their studies and set them apart when applying for internships and jobs.

The Birmingham Project logo