Professor Rod McNaughton: “An entrepreneurial mindset guarantees the future success of business schools”

Rod McNaughton, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, visited the LUT School of Business and Management in the autumn. According to McNaughton, students should be taught fundamental skills that will ensure their success in the constantly changing world of work.

Less lecture halls and exams, more space to meet different people and solve problems.
According to Rod McNaughton, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland, this is what the future of universities looks like. McNaughton visited the LUT School of Business and Management in the autumn.

"Knowledge is not the source of competitive advantage anymore. Instead, a number of fundamental skills are needed" McNaughton says.
He would like to see more spaces like LUT's rapid prototyping center, the J. Hyneman Center (JHC).

"We need more spaces like JHC. Places which are always full of life and possibilities to learn" McNaughton says.

In other words, universities need to become entrepreneurial.

"There is a difference between the words entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial. Not everyone becomes entrepreneurs, but everyone needs entrepreneurial skills, like learning about trial and error, risk-taking, adaptation to continuous change and focusing on the right things."

McNaughton highlights that the mission of business schools should be empowering innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset. It is important because an entrepreneurial mindset is a way for universities to respond to social, economic and political changes, including migration, an aging population and rapid technological change.

Fundamental skills are needed everywhere

The nature of work is changing. People change jobs frequently and need diverse skills. Skills such as problem solving, creativity, communication, general knowledge and a solution-oriented approach are important because they are needed everywhere.

"The primary issue regarding education, is how we can better prepare young people for jobs which don't exist yet. We need to provide students opportunities that resemble environments they are likely to encounter in the future" McNaughton says.

What McNaughton calls core fundamental skills, are ones that help people cope with change, such as resilience and adaptability.
"Those skills make us more humane. Machines cannot take over emotional intelligence or collaboration."

According to McNaughton, the key issue is to stop separating education and the working world. In the future, education will not be something which you complete once and are then done with, but something that lasts a lifetime and provides a better and more flexible life.

Rod McNaughton is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Academic Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland School of Business, New Zealand. He is an internationally recognized researcher known especially for his research related to international entrepreneurship.