09 December 2009
Palmer: The big manager on campus
(The Australian, 9 December 2009)
"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches," George Bernard Shaw said and his aphorism appears to apply to Australian business schools, where few deans have any significant private sector management experience.
It makes for easy accusations that business academics are theorists, incapable of cutting it in the real world, that they have never had to apply their theories on the factory floor.
Gill Palmer, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Business, at RMIT University becomes engagingly irate at the idea that multi million dollar faculties are somehow easier to run and less important to the economy than private sector enterprises.
"Business deans have come up a management training route," she says.
"Almost all of them have run a school, which is a business job. Most of them have large numbers of staff and the largest RMIT business school is a $40 million business."
With Palmer managing a $200m budget it is not surprising that she emphatically announces: "Business schools are businesses."