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Father Sergio Mariucci Isa Mara Alves Gustavo Severo de Borba

Changing the way we teach to promote transformation through experiencial learning

Historically, business schools worked to promote a learning process that considers the aspects of business more traditionally. In this process, students are trained to understand different areas of a company, and to make decisions with a common goal: profit. This view is connected to the approach developed by Milton Friedmann in his seminal essay published in The New York Times magazine at the beginning of the 70s. In this work, Friedmann postulated that the social responsibility of a business is to increase its profits. Fifty years after this paper our world changed in many ways, and nowadays we are facing global problems from poverty to climate change. At the same time, most of the global business schools are still training their students in this old paradigm, believing that companies should make always more money for the shareholders. At our university, we started a change in 2003 with a new concept of a business undergraduate program focused on innovation and leadership, and working with a broad curriculum that puts together business competencies, and socio-emotional competencies. In this process, we had the opportunity to work in a curriculum with art, history, and social and humanities activities. After this first experience, in 2018 we started a new change working with 3 principles to rethink our curriculums: how could we improve students understanding about their role in the world, and their personal and professional development? how could we work with XXI century competencies inside our curriculum? How can we foster interdisciplinarity by promoting meaningful learning experiences for the business curriculum program? The research methodology used typical strategies of Design Thinking, following principles of Strategic Design to guarantee that the exercise was carried out in a horizontal and dialogical way. To ensure that the design process would be consistent with the culture, values and principles of a Jesuit University, the teams directly involved in the re-design of the curriculum made a deep study of the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm. Considering this, we changed our business program curriculum promoting the restructuring of the humanities curriculum and changing teaching and learning methodologies. Nowadays we have activities from the beginning to the end of our curriculum that help students to develop global competencies and understand their role in the world to make changes and deal with personal and global challenges. In this paper, we share a survey we did with our students trying to understand how our new curriculum helped them to change the way they deal with their own careers, with teamwork, empathy, emotional intelligence, and other aspects related with personal e professional development.