New Year’s reception provides tactical/strategic vision

Skrevet af Bjørn HyldkrogFelix Kasperek, translation - Foto: Jørn Albertus - 20. januar 2014 - 13:050 kommentarer
As prelude to the main story, the president presented the gathered employees a number of years they had to guess the relevance of; the years were mainly regarded universities, wars and state bankruptcies.

President Per Holten-Andersen switched the traditional New Year’s speech for a spot of storytelling. The stories contained where CBS is headed and what the senior management does to lead CBS in the right direction – and what they’ll do this year.


Usually, the New Year’s reception is where CBS’ management and employees meet so the past year’s events can be informally discussed and thanks for the effort can be given, over a glass of bubbles.

Not this year. The bubbles and informality was there, but Per Holten-Andersen had chosen to look to the future for three examples of what he and CBS’ management are doing on behalf of CBS:

The first was the yearly round of visitation to all the educational policy spokespeople; an initiative first launched by the president in 2012. The second was the president’s round of visitation to the CEO’s of Denmark’s biggest companies, of which he’s visited 22 and have yet to show the CBS flag at 30.

The third example was the internal OPERATE project, under Head of President’s office Martin Kramer Jørgensen. The purpose is finding good examples of CBS research for large Danish companies, where the company can point to concrete value creation based in CBS research.

The ongoing effort for fair treatment

The three initiatives are actually part of a total effort – aimed at correcting the historic unfairness in the distribution of the basic research funding and taxi meter funding that makes CBS the definitively most meagerly funded university in Denmark, no matter which measurement is used.

The first year had brought two themes. One was CBS’ equity – whether or not it’s important for a university to have one – where CBS, according to the Public Accounts Committee, was the ‘best practice’ university. The other was the social sciences taximeter funding raise – which in the globalization agreement resulted in DKK 50 million over three years – the continuation of the funding raise is uncertain, as the current agreement ends in 2014.

Throughout 2013, there was only subject: CBS’ incredibly low basic funding, per student, when compared with other universities. And here in 2014, the themes will be basic funding, the quality of the different programs offered at CBS and CBS’ collaborations with the industries.

Unfair distribution in black and white
Leading up to the politician round in 2012, a memo had been produced regarding CBS’ financial challenges (something which, according to Per Holten-Andersen, is a constant subject of discussion on the board of directors) for the senior management, which is continuously updated.

In the memo, it is documented that CBS receives the without a doubt lowest basic research funding per student FTE. If CBS was to receive the same amount of funding as RUC, for example, it would mean an extra DKK 250 million a year, and if CBS received the same amount as Aalborg University, it would mean an extra DKK 500 million a year. If CBS’ basic research funding was adjusted to just the average for the social sciences, it would mean an extra DKK 200 million a year.

The difference in funding has no reasoned explanation (‘historical reasons’ are cited). There’s no competition between funding either. Well, there is, and CBS actually attracts up to 5 percent of the funding that’s subject to competition, as opposed to the mere 2 percent of the basic funding for research – a total of 3 percent of total funding.

The distribution model is completely locked and won’t be modified over time. But the discrepancies are almost impossible to change. So the message must be presented to the relevant politicians, again and again, year after year.

In addition to the fact that CBS receives the lowest basic research funding, CBS also receives the lowest taximeter funding per student FTE.

Same message to the industries, but…
President Per Holten-Andersen brings along this information to the CEOs of the biggest Danish companies. But here, he’s asking what university the CEOs consider the industries’ own.

The answer hasn’t been satisfactory – because the answer wasn’t CBS, but rather The Technical University of Denmark. That makes the big question how CBS should build a closer relationship with the industries. Because CBS should and must be their university.

The prerequisite for reaching that goal, which is also included in the yearly politician round, is that CBS has backup from the industries in the discussions. This is where the OPERATE project comes into play, where CBS must be able to clearly document value creation for the industries and the national economy.

That’s why the OPERATE project will soon be presented for the Confederation of Danish Industry’s research committee, from which inspiration will be taken for CBS research profile going forward. Meanwhile, with his visits, Per Holten-Andersen will look into how satisfied with the graduates the companies are, and whether or not CBS train the profiles that the companies need.

It was important for the president to note that CBS isn’t in any sort of financial troubles currently. But if CBS plans to live up to its own expectations and be the leading business school in the Øresund knowledge center, an improved research profile and more funding.

As a closing remark, Per Holten-Andersen shared that Dean of Research Allan Irwin has agreed to extend his employment for five months, until the end of the year.