Irish university business courses ‘light years’ from global standards, says Isme chief

Universities ‘paying lip service’ to enterprise, Mark Fielding says

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding: “We need more specific structured training and workshops, mentoring, business networking and incubation space, together with on-the-job experience while studying.” Photograph: Frank Miller

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding: “We need more specific structured training and workshops, mentoring, business networking and incubation space, together with on-the-job experience while studying.” Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Irish business students are not being prepared adequately for life in the entrepreneurial world, with universities “paying lip service” to education in the area, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association has said.

Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said universities are “light years away” from global standards.

However, DCU president Brian MacCraith said the notion of entrepreneurialism was built into all nine of its business-related degree programmes.

Isme said graduates should be exposed to a practical approach to business subjects, with participation in real and potential enterprise scenarios.

“We need more specific structured training and workshops, mentoring, business networking and incubation space, together with on-the-job experience while studying,” Mr Fielding said.

“Many of these institutions are just paying lip service to entrepreneurship education without involving business and especially SME business. Most of our universities are light years away from the cutting edge of entrepreneurship education in global terms.”

He said that while there was an obvious demand for skills in mathematics and science, this was the case for multinationals only and “the importance of entrepreneurship to the regeneration of the Irish economy is of far greater consequence”.

He said this would be vital to instilling in the individual student a sense of entrepreneurialism that could translate into viable business ventures, as well as help reposition the Irish cultural relationship.

Responding, DCU president Brian MacCraith said: “It’s almost like he has never heard of DCU. Almost everything he says isn’t being done is being done here.”

He added that every business student comes through the Dice programme (digital innovation, creativity and enterprise) programme, which aims to address the points raised by Isme.

Mr MacCraith said the university had canvassed 100 chief executives and managing directors about what they looked for in graduates, the outcome of which also shaped the structure of the relevant courses.