THE RICHARD IVEY School of Business is launching what it is calling 'the first major break from the traditional 'functional disciplines' model', which dates back more than a century. The functional disciplines model was introduced by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania when it was established as the first collegiate business school in 1881. Under this model, MBAs were built around such disciplines as finance, accounting and marketing. The new model, known as Cross-Enterprise Leadership, was developed by Ivey to train business leaders with 'the breadth and capacity to always see the bigger picture and lead initiatives that enhance the whole enterprise'. It will affect all facets of the school, including its MBA and EMBA programmes and its executive short courses in Hong Kong. 'The world is changing at a relentless pace, and business education needs to innovate in order to serve the needs of tomorrow's executives,' said Carol Stephenson, dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business. 'Cross-Enterprise Leadership provides future leaders with the skills to adapt to the societal forces swirling around them such as globalisation, competition and technology. It envisions a generation of executives who can think, act and lead cross-enterprise.' Despite the changes, the school is not forsaking its commitment to the case method, which will continue to play a central role in its curriculum. New cases, in fact, will continue to be written solely for its exclusive use. 'When we looked at the business school landscape, we realised that tinkering with the traditional model would not suffice,' Professor Stephenson said. 'So we decided to turn it inside out - to start with the goal of producing cross-enterprise leaders and to build from there.' The school's own alumni as well as business leaders and major corporations provided considerable input into how business education could be improved, and this helped the school develop the new approach. 'With Cross-Enterprise Leadership, we've designed an unparalleled learning experience that combines the rigour and intensity for which we are renowned with a holistic approach to the challenges that businesses face and how students learn to deal with these challenges,' Professor Stephenson said. Kathleen Slaughter, associate dean and executive director for Ivey Asia, believes one of the principal strengths of the new approach, which will be launched next year, is that it will put more focus on the development of decision-making skills. 'It will allow people to lead across the whole organisation,' she said. 'Learning competencies will include management skills, doing business in China and how to compete in a global environment.' The business community has reacted positively to the development. Arkadi Kuhlmann, president and chief executive of ING Direct USA, said: 'This is the kind of business leadership capability that's been missing. 'With the introduction of Cross-Enterprise Leadership, Ivey graduates will be able to solve issues that challenge the entire organisation. It is truly a revolutionary approach.'