Bob Diamond, Group CEO of Barclays, famously told a Parliamentary committee that the age of remorse over bank bonuses was over. In a more muted way, business schools were also made to go through a period of introspection about the role that they played in the financial crisis, and there has been much talk about how Harvard has revamped its curriculum to reflect the new needs of business leaders.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would say that Cambridge has been ahead of others in terms of refining our curriculum to suit the changing needs of leaders throughout the world. From an admissions point of view, we have always been admitting students who have a broader perspective of the role of businesses in society.
There was no greater example of that than the continuing work that our students are doing to support Aiducation, a project to provide scholarships to bright students in developing countries to go to high school.
Last Friday, the Cambridge MBAs organised an auction to raise money to support Aiducation. On offer were dinners with faculty, a dinner at the House of Lords, and, my favourite — a faculty member will name a character in a book he is writing after the winning bidder.
The response was outstanding. We raised more than £6,000 which is enough to award scholarships to 4 children in Kenya. And this is not some glamourous City charity auction where the emphasis was on being seen
. Our students continue to keep a close personal interest in the students that are sponsored through Aiducation and, they have applied what they have learnt on the Cambridge MBA to continually refine the Aiducation project.
I will end off by saying that I was completely bowled over by the response to my offer of a bike ride through the Cambridgeshire countryside with afternoon tea served later. It attracted a winning bid in excess of £200, which now puts the pressure on me to put together something very special for Pat Stirling and the others who bid. Hopefully, they will like the homebaked muffins and cookies…