Recently, Jesuit business school representatives gathered in Montevideo, Uruguay for the 21st World Forum of the International Association Jesuit Business Schools, together with the 18th annual meeting of Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education (CJBE).The following post was written by Tina Facca-Miess, Ph.D who participated in the panel entitled “Big Picture Thinking: Macromarketing, Shareholder Advocacy, and Jesuit Networking and Methods as Tools for Differentiating Jesuit Business Education” The full panel conversation can be found here.

As we strive to differentiate Jesuit Business Education, and position our offering in the minds of consumers, we look to our network for collaborative partnerships and pedagogical reflections. While networking implies social connections, collaboration suggests working together, in our case, toward the common good. The promotion of faith that does justice (Kolvenbach, 2000) requires networking and collaboration within and among three Jesuit business education market segments: faculty/administrators, students, and alumni. Engaging these markets in consistent networking and collaboration is integral to amplifying the voice of the poor and marginalized, and serving one another to our fullest capacity.

Spirit of Collaboration

One-on-one “inspired global movements” are happening every day all day within the vast network of Jesuit ministries, universities, and among our students and alumni. The global reach we literally have at our fingertips facilitates the inspired movement toward collaboration. Our twenty-first century communication technology truly is, as Pope Francis clarifies, “a gift from God” (Pope Francis, 2014). On the other hand, it is this simplicity of communication exchange and instantaneous collaboration that can overwhelm us. For this author at least, there is a fine line between empathy and apathy, and a constant battle between networking and collaboration. Networking seems natural, collaboration seems cumbersome.

Overwhelmed yet steadfast in commitment to Jesuit business education, one turns to the Society’s local leadership for guidance. Fr. Brian G. Paulson, SJ, Provincial, Chicago-Detroit Province and Fr. Thomas A. Lawler, SJ Provincial, Wisconsin Province comfortingly summarize:

Foundationally, we are to invest in apostolic projects that give hope for yielding “greater fruit” for advancing the values of the Kingdom of God—God’s dream for our world, as Jesus gave witness to in his preaching and his ministry… Our ministry is to be a “learned ministry”; we engage young people because they are the future of our church and society; we go to the frontiers and peripheries of our society where the needs are greatest; we provide ministries “of the Word” and ministries of interiority (retreats and spiritual direction); we educate future leaders; and we foster a multiplier-effect of whatever we do.”

Taking a step back to review the Provincials’ perspective provides a refreshing framework for approaching the complexities of collaboration. Discerning questions for reflection might include: Does this collaboration…

  • advance God’s dream for our world?
  • engage students in the future of the church and society?
  • reflect a response to the greatest needs of the marginalized?
  • stimulate reflection and interiority?
  • offer significant potential for scalability?

Coupled with daily reflection via the Examen, one begins to understand how the Jesuits are able to accomplish so much with so little so consistently. Theirs is the ultimate example of effective networking and collaboration – how can we, in our vocation as business educators, mimic the Jesuit spirit of collaboration and develop within our students, a twenty-first-century Ignatian business perspective?

Learn about practical tools for developing an Ignatian business perspective through the full panel conversation.

Look for upcoming posts on Superior General Adolfo Nicolas' address to the IAJBS Conference.