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  • UK & Ireland PRME Regional Chapter

Spotlight on Students – Jos Kowal and Anya Popat

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs we are publishing celebrating our student competition winners. As we celebrate our 10th Anniversary of the chapter at Aston University this year at the UK and Ireland PRME Chapter 10th Anniversary Conference and Doctoral Colloquium, we are reflecting on the past decade of management education and imagining the next one. Embracing this year's conference theme "Reflecting, Refreshing, and Re-envisioning," we are imaging the future of management education and focusing on students as the next generation of responsible leaders.

This year marks our 7th annual Student Writing Competition, read the full list of winners here We spoke to students from the University of Birmingham and Durham University about their winning entries in the PRME Writing Competition, why they got involved and their vision for the future of responsible management.

Jos Kowal - University of Durham, BA Business & Management

Title of work: “A global food system in dysfunction and implications for future governance”

What did you learn from your research?

When I first started my research for the assignment, I knew very little about our global food system beyond what I had read in the news about the crisis surrounding Ukrainian grain shipments. I found it fascinating yet concerning to learn about the relevant economic, political, social, and institutional landscape of the food system that we often take for granted, as well as the theory that underpins the wider sustainability movement. I think I must have read over 70 articles during my research, no other topic I’ve covered at university has captured my attention quite in this way!

Why did you decide to get involved with the PRME Writing Competition?

I first heard about the PRME Writing Competition from the head of my sustainability module and Durham University Business School’s representative on the PRME UK & Ireland Chapter, Professor John Hirst. Like a lot of young people, sustainability is something I’m very passionate about and I was grateful for an outlet through which to channel that passion.

What do you think the future of management education should look like?

That’s a difficult one—I think I would like to see a greater focus on building the skills and expertise on how to get the best out of people while looking after their wellbeing. There is also a need to continue to develop the established focus on entrepreneurial skills that are key to promoting innovation. It’s clear to me that social responsibility and sustainability should be at the core of any management education, and I think it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a reality.

Anya Popat – University of Birmingham, BSc Economics

Entry: Video exploration of the Business and Environmental case for Vertical farming

What did you learn from your research?

From my research, I learned about the impact agriculture has on carbon emissions and obviously how businesses can actually be a part of the solution and contribute responsibly for this. I learnt that the impact of the agriculture sector doesn't just lie in the big energy or oil sectors or manufacturing sectors. It boils down to our everyday supermarkets like Tesco's hotels, which can also use vertical farming.

I found out that what really sells vertical farming is the fact that it can be done indoors anywhere and everywhere. People can grow their produce on site and have it fresh that day whenever. I think it's a really important idea, because our current methods cannot sustain our growing population and be sustainable. It really interested me, thinking about how we can implement new methods.

What do you think the future of management education should look like?

I think there will be a lot more integration with technology such as AI, and more blended work that is online as well as in person. I also think there may be more of a focus on soft skills like leadership, communication and emotional intelligence in the future.

How do you envision the role of students in driving sustainable change within management education and the corporate world?

As current students enter the workplace, I think their consumption habits and investment choices will matter even more and so they should choose to support sustainable businesses when they can. I also think students can bring an entrepreneurial edge to sustainability and bring new solutions and figure out innovative ways to do business sustainably.

As we commemorate our milestone anniversary this year, we take great pleasure in continuing our tradition of hosting the Student Writing Competition. Through this platform we encourage student participation aiming to empower student voices with innovative ideas and fresh perspective on responsible management education. Congratulations again to Jos and Anya for their exceptional entries to our student writing competition!

Stay tuned for more content on the UKI PRME 10th Anniversary Blog as we delve deeper into the themes of reflection, refreshing, and re-envisioning in the lead up to the UK and Ireland PRME Chapter's 10th Anniversary Conference and Doctoral Colloquium.

Sign up to our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date with the chapter. We look forward to seeing you at the Conference in June, register to attend now.

Edited by Katie Lee, UKI PRME Intern

The PRME Chapter UK and Ireland is one of 16 Regional Chapters of the global United Nations PRME movement (established 2007). All Chapters are joined in a collective mission to transform management education and develop the responsible decision-makers of tomorrow to advance sustainable development. Globally, PRME has over 800 Higher Education Institutions as signatories.

Established in 2013, the UKI Chapter currently has 62 institutional members and is led by a ten person Steering Committee elected by the membership. The Chapter seeks to nurture a mutually supportive community of committed responsible management educators and researchers. Members benefit from a Chapter-wide event programme, an annual conference and doctoral colloquium, a growing set of Local Networks each with its own event schedule, and three annual, Chapter wide competitions focused on Innovative Pedagogies, Responsible Management Research and Student Writing. Full details of Chapter activities can be found here.

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