Deans’ Corner

words from the deans at lusem

Welcome to the Deans’ Corner! This is where our Dean Mats Benner gives you the latest from his perspective. But from now on (January 2022) you will, from time to time, also meet the other Deans here, like Ulf Johansson and Martin Blom below. With new posts communicated in LUSEM Staff News you will always be up-to-date with Mats and the other Deans!

Postcard from the Dean in Finland!

29 September 2022
”I am currently in Finland as part of a large university delegation led by the vice chancellor, to look into the topic of university profiling and how it might be done – as a preparation of things to come also in Sweden (irrespective of the color of government, if you ask me). I have had the opportunity to meet with many kind and informative people, including the dean of our sister school at Aalto, Timo Korkeamäki. What have I learnt? Profiling is nothing new to Finnish Universities, and they have learnt to live with an astonishing flood of government initiatives, to create flagships, centers, and now profiles. They have learnt to distill something useful in each of these instruments. Profiling for instance has sharpened the universities' stance towards recruitment, to renew faculty and to outline future directions and ensuing recruitment needs. For Aalto University, where I am now, it has enabled a collaboration between business, economics and ICT in data analytics, to meet the growing demand for competence in this expansive field. Thus, profile areas might be a blessing in disguise, a way to force us to think carefully about our future and where we should go. We may not live in the best of worlds, but we must do our best in the world in which we live.”

15 September 2022

”Surely, we know ourselves best and should be cautious in letting others tell us what is right and rightful. But from time to time it may be worth the effort to consider what others think of us and how we compare to the world. When we do so, we can be proud of our international standing – we are a triple accredited business school, one of only about 100 hundred of the world!
Continue reading below.

We should also be proud of the international standing of our programmes. At the time of writing, the Financial Times ranking of the programme in International Strategic Management came in. Fantastic news! Read more about them elsewhere in the staff news. 

Rankings and accreditations are receipts rather than recipes, they are evidence of the hard work we do, not guidelines into the future. These guidelines we have to figure out ourselves, on the basis of what we are and where we aim. But our critical eye should not disguise what rankings and accreditations reveal – that we are a school to be reckoned with. We should be proud of what we are in the world, and what we are for the world: A progressive and ambitious place of learning, more than a business school.”

1 September 2022

“First of all, I would like to thank you for all the kind and encouraging words I have received during the last two weeks. As usual in the beginning of the fall semester I am amazed by the energy, activity and professionalism among both staff and faculty – routines, roles and relationships make this logistical challenge work.
Continue reading below.

This year I have had the pleasure of working closer than usual with my new colleagues at the Dean’s office and I have been further convinced of the importance of physical co-location. So many ideas that can be discussed and problems mitigated if we just make ourselves available to each other – may it be spontaneously around the coffee machine or by just leaving our office door open from time to time.

During my last twelve years as director for various programmes here at LUSEM I have noticed how coordination and cooperation among faculty (and administration) really makes a difference for our students. Therefore, I would like to strongly encourage all programme directors to meet regularly with your course leaders in order to facilitate a better understanding for what part their particular courses play in the programme structure, where the students are coming from, and where they are going. By being able to refer to previous and future programme courses we can help the students see the “programme” rather than just a bundle of courses. Of course, the same logic applies to individual courses where a close team of teachers can explain and deliver a coherent course rather than a series of modules or lectures. By working closer together, we can help the students connect the dots. Together we can make a difference.“

/Martin

10 June 2022

“Looking back at the Spring semester, many memories come to mind. How we opened in a dour mood – will the pandemic never end? – and closed on an optimistic note, we can meet and greet once again, in the Hall of Light, in the corridors, in the meeting rooms! 
Continue reading below.

How our world moved from stability to turmoil, but also how we learnt to rediscover the virtues of cooperation and friendly encounters, building bridges and – perhaps – planting the seeds for a more resilient future. At the School, we have set the direction for the future, rediscovering our roots as an encompassing and ambitious business school, that is so much more than that – embedding business knowledge in broader societal perspectives. We also constantly learn to reinvent ourselves, welcoming new members of our community and greeting those who depart for other opportunities and other adventures. As a School, we want to make a difference, we want to make the world a little better. Let’s cherish that ambition and wish one another a restful vacation.“

20 May 2022

“Universities are places of hard and stern work done in utmost seriousness. The amount of time and the degree of fatigue that lie behind an exam or a paper, or the efforts behind a conference and course administration, cannot be overestimated.
Continue reading below.

However, universities are also playful places, where the mind is young and where joy emerges out of the unusual and unexpected. These words are written with the backdrop of the Lund Carnival’s emergence, and with the festivities of the Lund Race (Lundaloppet) in fresh memory. How great it feels! Lund is a place of joy and a place of exploration, of finding the unexpected, meeting with new and creative people and opening doors that may lead you everywhere. Take part, have fun and maintain and refine that wonderful Lund spirit. Lund is similar to all other eminent universities with one exception: it is fun too.“

6 May 2022

“Can we make the world better? This is one of the top priorities of our university, and of our school – to explain but also, most importantly, improve the world. Things certainly look somber at the moment...
Continue reading below.

...with geopolitical turmoil, rampant inflation (at least by the standards that we have grown accustomed to), and continued heated confrontations between polar positions in our social landscape. Indeed, seldom has the need for cool, cautious advice been greater. In this, we draw on the breadth of the university, but also of our school; we are indeed a unique business school – more than a business school in fact – which can mobilize expertise in a wide variety of areas and fields. Only yesterday, this was evident in one of our morning talks with Fredrik NG Andersson, confronting heads-on the issue of inflation and if we are about to enter a new economic era of instability. In matters like this, we can shine as a place of learning but also engagement. To quote the novelist Tove Jansson: 'All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured'.“

21 April 2022

“Where is LUSEM heading? For a university faculty located in Sweden, we are somewhat unusual, in the sense that there is a ’we’ and there is a ’heading’ – most faculties tend to be loose federations of only marginally connected disciplines and fields rather than a coherent ’we’.
Continue reading below.

For many faculties, 'heading' depends on where you ask, who you ask and what you ask. But for LUSEM, these words matter. As we speak, the faculty board is about the set the strategic direction for us in the coming years, and it would be inappropriate of me to preclude that process. But in the process of planning the proposed strategy, a few words have gained ground in all quarters. One is balance, all we do should be in balanced – between education, research and collaboration. We should excel in all, not in one of them, in everything we do. Another is more. We should be more than a business school; we should have everything a business school is, highly profiled as such, but also draw on a breadth of competences. And we should benchmark, not in a simplified manner to just emulate “best practice” from others, but in the sense that we learn from others to see where we are in the world, to the world. Balanced, broad and benchmarked, that is how we can meet the future.“

7 April 2022

“Just back from today’s Morning Talk with Sofia Ulver in the Hall of Light, I want to share with you the sensation of seeing so many of you around, listening, chatting, having a coffee or the with a sandwich and letting the day start off. We are...
Continue reading below.

...a compact school – just about the right size to meet and interact across borders – and should take every opportunity to engage with our many shared interests. Sofia gave many thought-provoking examples of how ideals and practices vary in the area of sustainability, and also pointed at some ways of resolving the tensions. (I for one learnt that is best to bicycle even if it is raining). For those unable to join, Sofia will present her work on the contradictions of living “green” on the staff pages. 
 
Another opportunity to meet and greet your fellow LUSEM-ites will be in the afternoon on the 22nd when we celebrate the advent of spring and – more generally – the possibilities to again meet in the corridors, meeting room and class rooms of our school. Register today for this event! And take the opportunity to cherish the sensation of "being there", at long last...“

24 March 2022

“One of the lead words of today – reflecting uncertainties in society as a whole, in the labour market, in the economy, in the environmental ecology – is life-long learning (LLL). It is not always clear what is meant by LLL: is it the individual’s search for more knowledge and perhaps a little more wisdom – that is , life is for learning? Continue reading below.

Is it the transformation of society as a whole, and the preparation for entirely new jobs and outlets - prepare everyone for a future of electrical power and environmental sustainability, perhaps? Or is it to mitigate critical labour shortages in society, in teaching, health care and the like – train new teachers by the day? The debate is not always very clear. What we as a school may contribute with is most likely the gradual upgrading of competencies and capabilities, to cultivate professional expertise in a wide variety of settings and adopt it to changing circumstances. LUSEM is therefore uniquely positioned to play a role in LLL. Our areas of expertise constitute a generic advantage in many sectors. If we are to achieve this, we need flexibility and agility to meet new student groups and novel ways of working, and to work over disciplinary boundaries in new combinations. Life-long learning may not be all that easy, but it can be support us in our aim to be an active part in society.“

10 March 2022

“In these troubled times, glad tidings are more necessary than ever. Three come to mind, there are many more I am sure. 

One concerns the Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management. Continue reading below.
 

This year’s prize winner, Linus Dahlander, has made significant contributions regarding the interface between technical change and entrepreneurship, and will provide valuable impetus into our work in that area. Congratulations, Linus, and very many thanks, Jan and Åsa Söderberg, for creating this opportunity to highlight significant work with repercussions within our school.

Our internal interaction will benefit from two initiatives taken very recently – one concerning the opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues in a friendly environment, over breakfast and for an enlightening talk. First out is Stefan Sveningsson, today, more to come. And may I take the opportunity to inform you that all your inputs for change – small and large – will now have an outlet open 24/7. A suggestion box* will be available - whenever you see something, come across something, miss something, long for something, just tune in and drop your suggestion! Let’s all work together to make the world a little bit better.“

*To reach the suggestion box, send an email to suggestion_box@ehl.lu.se

24 February 2022

“In the unstable era that we live in, where knowledge is abundant but where wisdom is more scarce, expertise is more important than ever. As citizens we seek an understanding of complex social, economic and political phenomena and processes. As a school, we must take the responsibility to meet these expectations, and confront the challenges of uncertainty. Continue reading below.

Knowledge is never the ultimate response to everything, but it certainly enables a degree of security and overview and contributes to a calm and cautious conversation on tricky issues.

Lots of efforts are being made to spread knowledge and expertise, and LUSEM of course also takes part and contributes its share. We do so in many ways, and we now open up another channel where LUSEM scholars comment upon evolving events, in real time so to speak. We call this Expert Comment. This will cover issues of great ramifications throughout society, and will show that what we do at LUSEM is both salient and reliable. Tune in and take part in conversations on relevant knowledge and expertise, and how they may contribute to making the world a better place. First out is Johan Anselmssson, and I can’t wait to learn from him how the world will look when the pandemic is over.“

10 February 2022

“While it is tempting to use the space here to say something on the post-pandemic state of affairs, I must take recourse to Zhou Enlai’s famous analysis of the impact of the French revolution, ’it is too early to say’. Continue reading below.

What is not too early to say is that the spring semester has begun, with a wonderful turnout at the spring semester staff meeting and with intense discussions within the management team and with heads of departments on the future ambitions and directions of the School.

We will take the opportunity to discuss and debate this in full with all members of staff in the spring, but let me just give you an indication of the direction that we aim to set. The overall direction will be to ascertain our position as a leading internationally recognized business school. This goal in turn will be decomposed into a focus on directionality, campus development, quality, recruitment, and governance. If we succeed – and your input will be central here – we will enhance our understanding of our destiny as a school, our physical environment, our conception of quality, ways of recruiting and promoting and rewarding faculty and staff, and how we are organized and funded.

Nothing of this can be said, and even less so done, without input from us all. Only then we can say, with some confidence, that we will remain a world leading business school. So stay tuned for a year of interaction – social of course, intellectual as well, but also strategic – Reaching for the stars!“

27 January 2022

”Welcome to the Dean’s corner!

And no, we have not changed Dean, but Mats has kindly let me use this space to inform of some things regarding my responsibility area, namely external engagement/external relations. Continue reading below.

As some of you may have seen (or you might even have met him), we have recruited Stefan Dahlin as responsible for external relations at the Faculty. Stefan is an alumni from LUSEM and has, among other things, a background as sales manager for Ernst & Young. In his role, Stefan is the new CEO of our Partnership and while a lot of his time will be spent dealing with the Partnership, he will also be engaged in external relations for LUSEM in general. Stefan started 1st of December last year and is still trying to ‘find his way’ around the School. But if he contacts you, I hope you will accept his invitation and meet with him.

One of the main areas that external engagements/external relations are involved in is trying to connect interesting organisations to LUSEM. And here we want your help; what would – from your perspective be interesting organizations’ to connect to LUSEM? Please note that the word ‘organisations’ is used deliberately, instead of ‘companies’ as we feel that it is necessary to reach out and establish collaboration also with organisations outside the traditional business sphere; municipalities, government agencies, Not-for profit organisations, NGOs etc etc. If you have suggestions here – and these are then organisations that we will aim to bring into both teaching and research at the School – please get in touch with me.
 
Building on the point above, do you have connections with organisations that you think could benefit LUSEM if more co-workers at the School were able to connect to these organisations? Let me take myself as an example, I have worked together with Ingka (the largest franchise take for the IKEA brand) for many years. At the moment we are discussing how we can broaden the collaboration so that more co-workers at LUSEM can work with Ingka. From Ingka's perspective this comes with a lot of advantages, as their interest is to have broad connections to LUSEM as their operations and future challenges cover a lot of areas (and not just my area of marketing). So, if you have connections where both LUSEM and your contact organization(s) could benefit from a broader connection, get in touch!

During 2021, Faculty of Engineering (LTH) has experimented with what is known as affliated competence. This means that organisations outside the university and key senior staff there are given the opportunity to spend shorter or longer (usually 6-12 months) time at the University, and then working with (for them) relevant researchers. This way of working is much simpler set up than other tools we have for connecting people on the outside to the University (co-opting/adjunct). The experiment at LTH has turned out really well with a lot of positive experiences, and a number of other faculties at LU now also want to try this out. LUSEM is one of them. We will start with approaching our Partnership companies and Alumni to get a sense for the level of interest. From that, we will try to match with research groups etc. at LUSEM (and then ask if they are interested in hosting people there). At the LTH, it has turned out to be a win-win situation, benefitting both the organisations outside sending people, and if you already know that this is something you (and your group) would like to be involved in, please get in touch. Also if you have contacts with organisation where you feel LUSEM could benefit

Last but not least, I also would like you to know that we are on the verge of starting LUSEM’s External Engagement Council. This will be a forum where initiatives from Lund University External Engagement Council will be discussed. The council will also identify, discuss, coordinate and develop external engagement initiatives at LUSEM, trying to create an overall approach that also aligns with our strategy.  The council will be advisory to the Vice dean for external engagements. The tasks for the council will be broad, ranging initiating and developing collaboration and setting up collaboration agreements with external partners to create focus for these collaborations and also create relevant connections to teaching and research at the School. As lifelong learning (including commissioned education) is climbing up the agenda at the University and at LUSEM, this is sure to be a topic in the council. The previously mentioned affiliated competence will also be something that the council will work with. Vice dean for external engagements will be chair, head of external relations will be member as will representatives for all the 6 departments at LUSEM. The council also has the possibility to co-opt others to their work and meetings.

That was all from me, I hope to hear from as many of you as possible!”

Ulf Johansson
Vice dean for external engagements

21 December 2021

”When the year is coming to an end, and cheerful hopes and sighs abound, some eternal questions remain. One concerns how we communicate. This is certainly none of my areas of specialization, so I took the opportunity to chat with Anna Löthman, our very own editor-in-chief of staff news, on the why’s and do’s and don’ts of communication. Continue reading below.

Somewhat impolitely, I begun by asking Anna about why we should engage with communication as a school – when there is so much communication going on anyway. She responds cooly but passionately. Without communication there would be no humankind, we are humans because we communicate. This holds also for schools and other organizations. An organization without communication would be a top-down dictatorship, where things just happen, so we must allow for open-ended yet curated interaction. We cannot have enough of transparency, Anna argues, as there are so many questions, worries and hopes that need to be articulated and met with careful communication and dialogue. As for the coming year, Anna muses on the possibilities and opportunities of even more personalized communication, to allow for even more nuanced interaction and learning. And, she says not without an ironic twist, she nurtures the hope that the faculty leadership will be more visible to faculty, students and staff, meeting them in person more often. Mark your words, Anna, this will be my new year’s promise as well. So, town hall meetings, dialogues at staff meetings and the odd breakfast invitation for all at the school, will all happen in 2022. With that, thank you all for your keen interest and engagement in my and my colleague’s thoughts and reflections at this corner and elsewhere. You are the salt of the earth.”

7 December 2021

”A key to success and impact in a professional organization like ours is internal interaction. At the core of this interaction lies our staff within departments and centers as well as within the Dean’s office. Continue reading below.

To enable students and faculty to maximize the impact of their efforts, professional support is crucial, saves time and efforts, and provides support in tricky issues. LUSEM benefits enormously from the dedicated work of our staff, porters, communication officers, study advisors, international advisors among many others. A very recent addition to this group is Stefan Dahlin, who will lead the dean’s office work with external engagement, and bring about even more intense and rewarding interaction between our partners in society and our scholars and students. You will hear more from and about Stefan soon, this is just to welcome him and attune you to his role and assignment with us.  

We are a unique faculty with our feasible size and compact environment, where colleagues are close by, and help and support only a mail or a door away. This density is one of our greatest asset and we should make good use of it and nourish it.”

23 November 2021

”The Academy is a complex place where many different forces and motivations co-exist, not always easily. Continue reading below.

One is the painstaking patience that lie behind the achievements that are so seemingly smoothly crowned in completed courses, funded projects and other achievements. Speaking of which, this is the time of year when research funders announce their outcomes. LUSEM is unproportionality successful in national competition for funding, and our portfolio of external grants is both deep (with many large-scale grants along with project support) and broad, with a notable presence throughout the school’s portfolio.  2021 is no exception to this, as the observant reader of the staff pages will have noted. We take great pride in all the achievements that our researchers have had, in securing grants, showing the significance, novelty and impact of their research. To enable this, and to top up some of the achievements, the faculty can be supportive, and this is a role that we take very seriously – to enable and motivate the bottom-up initiatives that are the foundation for all we do. But without the efforts of our faculty no strategy or ambition would be possible. It is the foundation for faculty management and will continue to be so.”

10 November 2021

”What are brands for? LUSEM is some twenty years old as an independent faculty and business school in its own right within Lund University...Continue reading below.

...and it is of vital importance–necessity even–for us to consider what we communicate to the world, and to ourselves. If we do not consider what we communicate, we will be communicating anyway but perhaps not what we think we want to be identified with. A great opportunity to consider and reflect on our brand and our identity is forthcoming on Monday, when Mats Urde, from business administration and world-renowned for his work on corporate identity, affords his view on what LUSEM stands for in the world and to ourselves. A brand is of course not an island or something that can be conjured up to impress the world, it reflects what we do, how we do it, and with whom we do it. It should be trustworthy and resilient, and represent long-lasting values, virtues and convictions. If we do not take the issue of our brand seriously, others will. It is about taking charge of our own destiny and future, which is not an insignificant task, but something that a school of our standing should take on readily and intellectually honestly. So, tune in on Monday’s event and take part in shaping our identity and future directions.”

27 October 2021

”A recurrent theme in conversations with both faculty at LUSEM and with stakeholders beyond academia is collaboration, between subject areas, and between academicians and society at large. Continue reading below.

The motives behind this engagement is manifold: new scientific frontiers are often opened in-between fields rather than within them, and impulses from society are often intellectually enriching. (the opposite applies for both of course, but collaboration tends to sharpen minds and ambition). To further entice you as LUSEM members to venture into the collaborative mode, the faculty management has launched an initiative to form interdiscipinary groupsing centred around societal challenges. Take the opportunity to explore possible avenues for collaboration! And, while we are at it, take the oppportunity to address the strategic direction of the School. At the time of publishing, the first seminar on our strategic orientation, with Anna Jonsson, has already passed, but another opportunity is ensuing, when LUSEM and its position and identity in the world, with brand expert Mats Urde as presenter, is forthcoming in November. Let’s work together in making LUSEM a place of learning and change, for the betterment of humankind.” 

12 October 2021

”It's that time of year when economics is in the air. As a school we are taken pride in shaping the understanding of pertinent issues in our respective fields, evidenced though the role that members of our faculty plays in the process of selecting Nobel laureates in economics. Continue reading below.

As is seen in this newsletter, this year's prizes stress the role that economic knowledge has in understanding effects of interventions in different fields - where economics really make a difference and where there is urgent need of evidence. It is also, which is also highlighted in this issue, the time of year when new professors are installed, and it is a testimony to the breadth of our school that the two new professors have made core contributions in understanding regional disparities in growth and employment and the role of pan-European regulation for economic development. There are two of the most pressing issues in our time, when the future of European integration and the consequences of social and economic inequality  shape political agendas.

There is a lot of talk about grand challenges and how universities should contribute to the resolution of those. Some of this may appear vacuous. We on our side take great pride in being a change agent, in highlighting how economic knowledge actually can make a difference.” 

28 September 2021

”External engagement is at the core of our school. This fall will see enhanced engagement in  our external relations, in a variety of forms. Corporate connections have a special assignment with one of the School's institutes, the Institute for Innovation Management which is eloquently presented by Thomas Kalling in this staff news, and the activities therein will be even more profiled this semester and beyond. Continue reading below.

The other institutes also play significant roles in their respective areas, in engaging with the public sector and its challenges (INSPA) and opportunities and the regulation of environmental affairs on the market and in society more broadly for LISI. The institutes have just begun and will make their mark even more in coming months. The Partnership foundation (Partnerskapet) has historically been a major interface for companies to engage in our education and research, and for faculty to meet with and be supported by external partners. it will benefit from the ongoing recruitment of a director of external engagement, who will align the foundation with work done elsewhere in the dean's office. A variety of other activities are ongoing, I have for instance the privilege to serve as LUSEM's representative in the steering group of a so-called strategic partnership with Tetra Pak, and this will most likely yield opportunities for collaborations with one of the region's most important companies in both education and research. We never compromise with out integrity but we do not hesitate either to engage with stakeholders - for the benefit of them and ourselves. We are an outgoing school, this is our heritage and we should make every effort to retain and refine it. "

14 September 2021

"We live in a world of profiles and priorities to make an impact, and universities are not exempted from this. We can no longer reside in the comfort of doing 'everything, equally well'. We need to describe what we do particularly well, and how we do it. Continue reading below.

In the last research bill of the Swedish government, the issue came to the fore with the introduction of so called profile areas, where Swedish universities are expected to formulate areas where they are particularly strong, in research but also with adjacent excellence in education and outreach. Thus triggers the question: How should Lund University profile itself? And what does LUSEM do in this? The work on formulating profile areas begun already in the spring but is now taking another step, under the auspices of the university leadership but with all faculties engaged. For this we as LUSEM faculty and staff need to sharpen our understanding – who are we? Where do we excel? And with whom do we excel, as profile areas are expected to span faculty borders? 

These and other issues are on the table as we speak, and we as faculty leadership welcome any inputs into the process. Another opportunity will arise in about a month’s time when all faculty and staff are welcome to a seminar on the future strategy of our school – an opportunity to discuss where we should be heading, with whom and in which way. Exciting times!"

31 August 2021

"Welcome back after this summer, with so many opportunities to reflect on our way of living and working, in the world, for the world... The fall promises to be an opportunity for reinvigoration, of our work modes, ways of interaction, ways of aligning with the world. Continue reading below.

You will hear lots from the management team and from all the activities in the school. Suffice to say that this semester will be like none in our history, with the return to campus which has already started (read more in the LUSEM Staff News on the students' return and start of the semester), new strategic directions for the school, an overhaul of our ways of recruiting and retaining staff, and lots more. The format of our communication will also be expanded, and we will move from the dean's corner to the deans' corner, a small but not insignificant change... Stay tuned.

And on a personal note, and as a reflection of the intersection between the private and the public: While everyone must make their own choice, vaccinations seem to be key to a more viable future. You can take it for free, during office hours. Please consider this opportunity.

Welcome back, again, let's make this a fall to remember!"

15 June 2021

"We live in interesting times. After a decade of more or less uninterrupted growth of university funding and remits, we are now at a watershed. The last year has seen a massive increase in short-term and earmarked programmes in teaching and in research, possibly to the detriment of long-term and stable funding at our own disposal. This serves as an indication that future funding and missions will reflect priorities and ambitions set outside the university to a far greater degree than before. Continue reading below.

Universities therefore need to be proactive, now more than ever, and formulate their own ambitions and goals to meet the increasing political propensity to intervene in how universities teach and do research. This holds true for Lund University and LUSEM as well. LUSEM is prepared to take part in such a profiling and in the formulation of the broad mission of a university. Breadth will always be Lund University’s premier identity, but this is sometimes forgotten when all the the talk about the University circles around large-scale facilities or research centres in fashionable areas. Important as they may be, they only cover parts of the experience and remit of Lund University. LUSEM brings to the table a unique proximity between students, teachers, administration and external partners, a true Lund learning experience. Such an experience must be part of the University’s offer to profile itself. And we will ensure that we will be central in future formulations of the university’s profile and missions. LUSEM has a good story to tell, both of our accomplishments so far and our future ambitions. 

With that I wish you a relaxing summer, and very much look forward to welcoming you back – with the usual disclaimers – to campus in the fall, a fall that promises to be festive and fruitful!"

1 June 2021

"As summer slowly but surely announces its arrival with the promises of rest and rejuvenation, questions might arise regarding the season that inevitably will succeed it. How should we think about the fall? Continue reading below.

There is a flurry of announcements now, from the government, from the university and also from many other sources. As of now, the position is clear, we continue as before until late August in the predominantly digital and distanced mode. And a degree of caution is certainly called for as we still know only little of the dynamics of the pandemic and how it might play out in the coming months. 

But one way or the other, the fall will be quite different from the spring and from last year. It will be tangible and in the presence, and this is an opportunity to reignite our interaction. Most likely, there is an urge and a longing for shared experiences in real life. One of the key ambitions of the faculty leadership is to facilitate collaboration, with external partners of course, but also internally. We will experiment with novel ways of  interaction and sharing experiences between different parts and groups in the school. You will experience this in the form of public engagements and seminars, and in festivities where we cherish our environment. And mind you, there is reason to celebrate, not only because of the opening up but also in the fact that we as a faculty within Lund University turn 60 this year. The motives for the propelled interaction are not purely social but also intellectual: there is much to be gained from collaboration and for joining forces in matters large and small. We are a social school, and it is high time to think how we might channel that energy into new ways of meeting and learning from one another."

18 May 2021

”We get by with a little help from our friends. These eternal lines are valid not last for business schools like ours. As a school, we are fortunate to have an environment that is supportive and engaged in what we do, and willing to back up that interest with financial commitments, openness to collaboration, and engagement in teaching and research. Continue reading below...

A heated debate is currently ongoing concerning business schools and their dependence on external support, especially when it comes from companies, foundations and private benefactors. And it is indeed a balancing act to engage in fundraising, where interests must be disclosed – what does collaboration and donations entail? We on our side are fortunate to be largely publicly funded, which gives us the financial backbone to formulate our own goals and directions, and not be subjected to the vagaries of the market. However, external support is vital, sometimes even essential, to top up public funding. If managed well, it can be of great mutual reward. Again, we need to be clear about our values and expectations when we engage with external sponsors and benefactors. 

Our work with our friends and supporters will be even further revitalized in the coming years. One example is the Partnership foundation, which gives us a network of collaborators and opportunities to tie students and teachers to companies, and vice versa. We are also exploring opportunities to refine collaboration in specific areas, for instance regarding economic sustainability and financial stability. This will enable us to explore new avenues of teaching and research, and form alliances with social interests in so doing. Such explorations could well be, to use another immortal line, the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

4 May 2021

”Our school is quite unique among Lund University’s nine faculties, by being compact and integrated. We sit in close proximity and our subjects intersect. We have a shared commitment and engagement in educating students in a broad yet delimited area. In our work, we all articulate with the economy in a wide sense. Continue reading below...

Nevertheless, proximity and mutual obligations are not in themselves sufficient to drive collaboration and exchange. For that, a culture and a practice of sharing and collaborating is needed, articulating and representing a 'we' that extends beyond individual ambition and identity. 

As a school, we have a unique opportunity to propel that collaborative sentiment and practice when we return to campus in the fall, when interaction will take on physical forms again. 

To prepare for this, the school management has already begun to take intiatives to profile us as one unit, and more will come. The three institutes that have been incepted aim to operate beyond boundaries, and profile LUSEM’s collective voice and ambition in a volatile environment. Our ways of utilizing digital forums for education, research and collaboration will be further refined, to prepare for a future where the physical and the digital will be blended. 

We have also begun looking into how we may make our physical campus more coherent and supportive of meetings and interaction. Enhanced cross-disciplinary collaboration and topics-driven interaction, with stakeholders and representatives of different areas of the School, are also something that we will see more of in the future. Overall, we should be even better at engaging students, staff and faculty in setting joint goals and ambitions for the School. 

It is all rather simple –LUSEM should be shaped by inclusion, diversity and engagement in everything we do. Only so can we live up to our goal: of making a difference."

20 April 2021

”What is the business of business schools? This is of critical importance for a school that teaches and researches on the efficacy and legitimacy of organizations. One central part is how we allocate resources that we get from the state, via the University centrally (sometimes called floor funding or institutional support). This amounts to about 200 million Swedish kronor annually for education and almost 90 million Swedish kronor for research. Continue reading below...

Currently, the model for education is rather straightforward, but some reallocations are made to cater for specific needs that pertain to our school: internationalization, programmes at advanced levels, and life-long learning are among those. For research, resource distribution is based on a combination of the number of professors, number of students, PhDs awarded, publication output, and external grants, to allow for both stability and dynamics. 

It is essential that our own allocation system gives the right incentives and provides motivation for great efforts. Hence, the design and outcomes of the models are issues that must be monitored and discussed: do they stimulate recruitments, external grant seeking, the formation of strong networks and high-impact publications in research, and renewal and quality in education? 

It is as important to expand our financial foundation, and to build on opportunities and networks that reside outside of the School. Tuition fee-paying students is one such category for education, as is commissioned education. For research, external grants form a core source of expansion of research and PhD training, and one of the key challenges for the School is widen and deepen our external support. Another resides in donations and external alliances of different sorts, an area in which business schools have been very active; ours included. 

The business of business schools is therefore more multifaceted that one might surmise: to perform topical and trustworthy education, and do research that expand knowledge frontiers and that also aligns with broad tendencies in society. To be an eminent business school, we must therefore be prepared to do many things at the same time – and distribute resources in a way which enables that balancing act. Complex and challenging, indeed, but also rewarding, for a business school that wants to improve the world."
 

7 April 2021

”What’s in a word? The term 'institute' has many associations. At LUSEM, institutes are initiatives to mark the presence of LUSEM in areas of topicality and societal importance. 

In 2021, three such institutes have been launched, funded from the dean’s designated budget, and decided on an annual basis. Continue reading below...

The aim is that this funding will be leveraged by external support and recognition, and that it will reinvigorate activities within the School. Internal and external added value are key deliverables, in the form of collaborative ventures with external stakeholders, of events and seminars, and in other activities of high visibility and impact. 

The institutes also serve as an experiment in organizational variation. They may proliferate, may change, or be terminated. They do not supersede or collide with departments and research centres; they instead function as additional measures for swift and decisive responses to areas that span disciplinary and organizational boundaries. 

The three institutes serve as a beginning. One covers public affairs, how common interests are articulated and managed by the state and public organizations. Another covers sustainability, and how business and economics affect, and are affected by, the adjustments and adaptations that the climate crisis brings with it. Yet another cover innovation, how economies change and transform, and how firms evolve and adapt in a transient economy. 

Thus, LUSEM institutes shall serve as catalysts for our core activities. Their exact form will vary, and they will have different foci. They are all tokens of the overarching ambition of LUSEM to make a difference. For real."

22 March 2021

”It is sometimes said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And indeed, lofty strategies often fall flat when they meet the realities of organizational life. That does not mean that strategies are necessarily mere distractions. At best, they set directions and provide instruments and conditions to meet them. Yet, devising a strategy is, as is well known in an expert environment like LUSEM, an intricate matter. To make sense, a strategy must align with current position, potential movement, available resources, and future ambitions. Continue reading below...

Lund University has a ten-year strategy (2017-2026), which emphasizes a number of critical elements: that education and research shall meet the highest standards and be intertwined, that societal challenges shall be addressed, that eminent study environments be provided, and that we shall achieve this through credible leadership and excellent working conditions. LUSEM is now in the process of revising its strategy, to align with Lund University’s broad ambitions and to articulate the School’s own directions. The faculty board will decide on the strategy in December this year, and many activities will be pursued to ensure that the strategy takes into account both internal and external conditions. One part of that is an internal audit that will be commenced soon, where Anna Jonsson (from Department of Business Administration) will conduct a series of conversations with a randomly selected number of LUSEM staff about our work environment, sense of identity and belonging, what the School means and does, as well as what we can learn from each other (both at a collegial level and between departments) to make better use of our organization. Such an audit will be salient in our efforts to ensure that LUSEM is a world-class school. I hope that you will take your time to share your ideas and thoughts on how we as a business school can further improve!"
 

9 March 2021

”It has been a little more than two months since I became dean of the School and took over faculty leadership together with Maria Stanfors, Anna Thomasson, Ulf Johansson and Alf Rosenbäck. It has been an exciting and slightly overwhelming time. Continue reading below...

First and foremost it has been a true source of joy to get to learn faculty, staff, students and stakeholders – in the midst of a pandemic that circumvents traditional ways of interacting. Second, it is daunting but also encouraging to begin forming a conception of the school, and how we might evolve into the future. Third it has been very rewarding in all senses of the word to be part in the accreditation visit of AACSB, where we, after almost seven years of preparations, finally had the chance to show what we are and what we can do. In all of this, I have been struck by the firm dedication of all the people of LUSEM, in all its variety, to share and to contribute, to be part of a learning environment, and to mobilize even more efforts and resources when the world has been turned upside down.

Spring will see the commencement of work to form a new strategy for LUSEM, a strategy that will reflect the realities and aims of the school and its staff and those engaged in what we do. The school has also launched a number of initiatives to highlight our engagement with important issues in society, and we will continue to uphold and raise ambitions in education, research and external engagement. A major issue will be to formulate the lessons of Covid and the enforced digitalization and what we should learn from them when we return. It is a sincere pleasure and source of pride to serve as the dean of such a vibrant and daring environment. It’s nothing if not lively at LUSEM – no pandemic can curve that. "

Contact

Mats Benner
Professor, Dean
mats.benner@ehl.lu.se
Phone: +46 46–222 76 20

The Deans at LUSEM

Mats Benner, Dean
Maria Stanfors, Deputy dean
Martin Blom, Vice dean for education
Ulf Johansson, Vice dean for external engagements