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UCL and Umbria Business School help train responsible entrepreneurs of the future

UCL School of Management and Umbria Business School in Italy have worked together to develop a unique executive education programme to train the next generation of sustainably-minded business leaders.

Photo of Canary Wharf, London, from above the clouds

30 November 2023

Participants of the first programme – which took place in summer 2023 in London – included CEOs and other executives from leading SMEs operating in various sectors including manufacturing, retail and regional economic development.

The programme, titled Building Sustainable and Competitive Organizations, was delivered by leading UCL academics as well as external industry leaders and covered sustainable transformation of business; sustainability disclosure and reporting; and sustainable finance.

Such was the success of the programme, it will be repeated in 2024, with a view to making it an annual offering. The programme was facilitated by UCL Consultants (UCLC) and led by Professor Paolo Taticchi, who comments: 

London is of course a very vibrant business hub, while UCL is a world-leading university, so this type of collaboration, with two brands working together, is something that can be very appealing for small, emerging business schools like Umbria. 
“The feedback on the program was incredible. Participants really enjoyed it, were impressed with the facilities, and went back with some ideas for work that they could start in their respective organizations.”

Preparing for a changing world 

The UCL School of Management is focused on creating disruptive research and entrepreneurial leaders for the complex, interconnected world of the future. 
Professor Taticchi is Deputy Director of the School (MBA, Executive Education and Global Engagement), and Professor in Strategy and Sustainability. He is a world-leading researcher on corporate sustainability as well as being a prolific writer and public speaker. One definition of corporate sustainability that Professor Taticchi uses is an ‘approach to business aimed at enhancing competitive positions and profitability through the sustained creation of shared value; co-creation practices with stakeholders; and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in decision making’. 

The process of adopting and integrating these principles in response to a rapidly changing world is sometimes called sustainable transformation. 

“Sustainable transformation is still a relatively emerging topic, and although it’s becoming more and more integral in the agenda of business, you still don’t find expertise everywhere, and at UCL School of Management we do have a lot of authority on the topic.” 

With strong links to Italy, Prof. Taticchi sits on the board of Umbria Business School. The School started out as a regional educational branch of the General Confederation of Italian Industry, and has steadily built a strong reputation for delivering executive education to businesses in the region.

Riccardo Stefanelli, President of Umbria Business School and Co-CEO of Brunello Cucinelli, comments:

Today's education transcends traditional boundaries of space and time, and the collaboration between UCL and Umbria Business School is a clear demonstration of this. Education is no longer a confined activity, but a daily process that elevates us, providing the tools to achieve our goals. People are naturally inclined to evolve, and education should be seen as the essential nourishment for this evolutionary process. Through programs like ours, we encourage learning that goes beyond barriers and limits, catalyzing personal and professional growth."

A practical framework for sustainable transformation

Professor Taticchi and UCL colleagues, including Professor Cristiano Busco and adjunct Professor Cristiano Zazzara, set about working with Umbria Business School on a new executive education project facilitated by UCLC.

It was delivered as part of Umbria’s Program for Global Leadership Development, which included a 3-day summer attachment called the London Immersion, which included modules at the Italian Embassy in Mayfair; The Houses of Parliament, including Westminster Palace; and the UCL School of Management, headquartered on the top floor of the One Canada Square skyscraper in Canary Wharf. 

As a rather unique client offering, the UCL-developed programme, Building Sustainable and Competitive Organizations, was delivered entirely in Italian for the Umbrian business leaders in attendance. 

Professor Taticchi reflects on the experience: “Many of the participants already had a basic understanding of corporate sustainability and they didn’t need too much convincing of the strategic value of it, but it was more of case of: ‘how do you implement this in the context of an SME’. We were able to give them a practical framework to integrate these principles into strategy and daily work. That was the key takeaway for them.”

Professor Taticchi and team are now busy preparing materials for a new cohort of entrepreneurs for summer 2024 and beyond – building on the success of the first and also making some modifications to reflect what is a constantly evolving space. The team is also actively working with other clients in both education and business to advance the gloabl cause of sustainable transformation. 


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