The Importance of Business Education in the Jesuit Tradition

By Alan Miciak, Ph.D., Dean, John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business, John Carroll University

Alan Miciak, Ph.D. (Photo by John Carroll University)

Alan Miciak, Ph.D. (Photo by John Carroll University)

Business is a career and a calling. It is the Ignatian heart of the Jesuit business school. The John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business at John Carroll University embraces our mission of education for leadership and service in the Jesuit tradition. It inspires our vision to graduate students who live inspired lives.

Live Inspired
The challenges facing business and business education today are complex, and we find ourselves in continuously evolving surroundings and conditions; in essence, the “ground rules” are changing. Competing priorities such as resource depletion, technological displacement, governmental regulations, community obligations, employee relations, climate change, and global competition all impact the bottom line. More than ever, a company’s success depends on leaders throughout the organization who understand how to navigate, persuade, and inspire its many stakeholders to influence change. At the Boler School of Business, we come together as classmates, friends, teachers, and mentors to answer an important question: What am I doing with my life? The call to live inspired—or Magis (the greater good), as the Jesuits would say—takes on a central and defining role here. 

Taking the Long View
The next generation of business leaders must integrate business decisions within the broader environmental, societal, and ethical context in which today’s businesses find themselves. While this added complexity presents some significant challenges for educators and students alike, there has never been a more exciting time to be part of the global Jesuit network of higher education. A great business education starts and ends with a foundation in liberal arts and sciences. We soundly reject the notion that it must be one or the other, and insist on competency and mastery that is the hallmark of the Jesuit educational tradition. 

Historically, American business has demonstrated an unrivaled capacity to innovate and compete, while raising the bar on environment, health, and safety practices. It is time for business to regain the ethical and intellectual high ground by going beyond its legal and regulatory obligations. The growing body of evidence that socially and environmentally responsible business practices create long-term value is compelling. The market will increasingly demand and reward this behavior. Boler is governed by this thinking, and these are the principles that frame our academic, research and community outreach programs.

As leaders of Jesuit business schools, we cannot hesitate to lean into our core values without fear of alienating business and political establishments. We need not be apologists for our system of capitalism, but at the same time, we are called to a higher level of responsibility informed by our Jesuit, Catholic heritage. I favor viewing our role as the educators of responsible capitalists. Imagine the shared value creation and game-changing assets that could be developed in the pursuit of social, environmental and economic justice. Jesuit business schools have the chance to play an outsized role in the move toward responsible business leadership and community stewardship devoted to regional growth, prosperity and service.

Graphic by John Carroll University

Geared for Growth
Outstanding academic programs are the centerpiece of our strategy. From the beginning, our Accountancy program has set the standard for reputational excellence. Since our founding in 1934, Boler’s focus has been on innovative programs that are regionally relevant, while navigating the increasing demands of the globalizing economy. We have integrated business program innovation, advances in socially responsible management, liberal arts education, strong corporate partnerships, and bedrock Ignatian values to position Boler as the region’s conduit to a sustainable future for Northeastern Ohio and adjacent markets.

If you are mechanically inclined, you may know that large gears are designed for speed and small gears for strength. Boler is powered by our Ignatian heart, liberal arts foundation, and amazing alumni who helped to define Cleveland as a 20th century industrial powerhouse and are now redefining leadership in the 21st century.

The Boler Impact       
Boler alumni are leading organizational efforts nationally and internationally, ranging from Fortune 500 companies employing thousands of people, to non-profit NGO’s that are improving the lives of people all over the world. 
Furthermore, the commitment of Boler students, faculty and staff to serve the community spans the Greater Cleveland region and across the globe. Our local efforts support food banks, shelters and urban gardens. In addition, our Accountancy program sponsors a free tax preparation program (VITA) for low-income individuals.

We want our graduates to succeed in their careers, fulfilling their dreams and ambitions. But professional milestones, however plentiful or notable, will never fully satisfy or define a Boler alumnus. Talk to a Boler graduate five, seven or ten years into their career—as an accountant, financial analyst, operations researcher or brand manager—and they will describe in detail the difference between simply pursuing a career and crafting a well-lived life.

Click here to learn more about Alan Miciak, Ph.D., Dean of the John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business at John Carroll University.