In the fall of 2009, the faculty of GSB was looking for the next big thing in business management education. When they heard about the UN’s new initiative that would change the way business schools regarded their curriculum, they were intrigued. GSB experienced a transitional year in 2009, with the implementation of the freshman business introductory class, Ground Floor, and its entry into PRIME. And from that year to today, the former College of Business Administration has seen continuous advancement.
PRIME lays out six guidelines for any school looking to join: purpose, values, method, research, partnership and dialogue. Every two years the university will write a report demonstrating all the techniques and practices being used by faculty and students that fall under the PRIME guidelines. According to Dr. Frank Werner, this is where the beauty of the campaign lies.
“It forces us to look around and say OK, are we doing things that are consistent with PRIME, or are we doing things that are inconsistent with PRIME?” Dr. Werner said. “And it also allows us to reframe some of the things we are doing as being consistent with PRIME.” Through such introspection, the institution can see where its strengths and weaknesses are. It was from these reports that the PRIME committee viewed Gabelli as a leader with enhanced focus on social responsibility and ethical decision-making.
In the past, a businessperson has not had to worry about sustainability measures or how the actions of his or her company were affecting the planet or society. Today’s business leaders, however, are realizing that to obtain a successful tomorrow, they need a sustainable attitude today. Students of GSB start to learn this in their freshman year. Accounting and tax professor, Dr. Stan Veliotis, says his hope for his students is that they will be socially responsible and fair to one another in their business dealings. During Ground Floor, students are asked to look at a company, see what its role is in the world, and notice how it is affecting its surroundings. Werner was in charge of the creation of the course and realized how consistent this course and its objectives are with PRIME.
“We weren’t just teaching our subject, we were helping our students understand this greater view of the world and how they can contribute to it,” Werner said. “So that was for me the big number one win.”