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Sino-UK Beacon Business School – Deans’ Forum

11 November 2019

The launch of the Beacon Business School earlier this year marked the start of New Beacon’s commitment to extend its academic footprint to become a globally-connected university of the future.

In line with its ambitious aims and exciting plans for the future development of New Beacon Campus linked to the emerging Sino-UK relationship which has been hailed as a new ‘Golden Age’.

The conference brought together Deans from Sino-UK business schools and other delegates from education and industry to discuss a range of topical themes linking East and West management trends, theories and practices.

Opening the forum, Professor James O’Kane, Dean of the Beacon Business School commented “this is another important milestone in New Beacon’s development. As well as providing a forum to debate and discuss global education and contemporary issues facing Business Schools over the new few years, the conference will also explore the challenges of working and setting up business ventures in China post-Brexit. We look forward to welcoming many more Deans and business delegates to New Beacon Campus in the future.”

Beijing University’s Professor Dashu Wang entertained and enlightened delegates by comparing how differences in east and west languages, words and ways of thinking frequently shape and inform economic behaviour.

Proclaimed as the ‘project of the century’ when it was launched by China’s President Xi Jinping in 2013, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is seen as a key strategic driver of China’s future economic growth.

June Dennis, Dean of the Business School at Staffordshire University, presented findings from a recent research study designed to determine awareness of the multi-billion pound Silk Road initiative, its potential benefits and associated threats in relation to small and medium sized businesses in the West Midlands region of the UK.

Her study revealed that 90% of the businesses surveyed had not heard of the Silk Road nor could they accurately describe what it is, yet 65% of businesses considered China to be an active or potential source of components or goods for their business.  

In concluding that “the New Silk Road initiatives are likely to change the dynamics of international trade” with opportunities linked to infrastructure development, investment and cultural exchange opportunities across 150 countries, June Dennis argued that businesses “must engage with this global development project in order maintain competitiveness” and she called for the UK government and regional trade bodies “to promote greater awareness of the ‘belt and road’ opportunities.”

Professor Monika Foster, Dean of the School of Business and Enterprise at Sunderland University talked about the value of engaging positively with the broad agenda around internationalisation of the curriculum.

Outlining the background to her research which led to the development of a reflective toolkit, Professor Foster highlighted why it is important to “develop students’ global perspectives and cross-cultural capability to be able to perform professionally and socially in a multicultural environment.”

The programme concluded with Robin Muir sharing fascinating insights on living and working in China. Having spent almost 20 years of his career developing, re-organising and implementing supply chain strategies in the UK, USA, Hungary and Holland, most notably with ABF Twinings Beverages, Robin drew upon his 7-year experience where he was responsible for supply chain operations across Asia-Pacific and the Americas from his base in China before establishing his own successful consultancy company.

Renowned for his ‘cultural intuition’, Robin emphasised the need for a “shared commitment to excellence and dedication to the uncompromising quality of products, service, people and care for the environment, while taking exceptional care of stakeholders” as critical success factors for industry leading companies operating in globally. 

If you’re interested in participating in next year’s Beacon Business School’s Deans’ Forum, please contact for further information.