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Unlocking the Power of Research in Teaching: Shaping Business Education by Jenifer Lewis, Ph.D., Vice Dean Academic Affairs and Accreditation, GSB

In the Graduate School of Business at Nazarbayev University, we believe teaching and research go hand in hand, shaping not just what our students learn, but also how they learn. We're committed to using research to inform and improve our teaching, and it's making a real difference in the way we prepare our students for the world of business. Our school’s mission is to "develop principled leaders and generate knowledge to transform business and society." In practice, that means knowledge generation (research) and leadership development (teaching) work together for the positive transformation of business and society.

As part of GSB’s Societal Impact Strategy (2023-2028), we seek to "generate and disseminate knowledge that contributes to transforming emerging markets in the heart of Eurasia." Building on our university’s strategy and charter, we define transformative knowledge as scholarship that guides leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, and regional scholars to promote principled innovation for sustainable economic diversification and to prepare for a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. To us, transformative knowledge is applicable and practicable for business leaders.

In practice, our professors bring the latest discoveries from their research straight into the classroom. Instead of just teaching knowledge from textbooks, our professors use what they're discovering in their research to make their courses more relevant and up-to-date. This means our students get firsthand insights into what's happening right now in the business world. They also use relevant local case studies and examples in the classroom. Many of our professors are conducting research in local and regional contexts which makes their work even more relevant and readily applicable to our students. One prominent example is the research conducted by the NURCE team on entrepreneurship in Central Asia.

Unlocking the Power of Research in Teaching: Shaping Business Education by Jenifer Lewis, Ph.D., Vice Dean Academic Affairs and Accreditation, GSB

But it's not just about keeping things current – it's also about helping our students become better thinkers and leaders. By involving them in real research questions and challenges, we're teaching them to think critically and solve problems faced by business professionals. The final projects in all of our programs require students to engage with businesses to solve problems or develop projects on their behalf. This kind of active learning not only makes class more engaging, but it also sets our students up for success once they graduate.

Research-based teaching doesn't stop when our students leave our classrooms. By sparking their curiosity and love for learning, we're setting them on a path of lifelong discovery and growth. We want our GSB alumni to keep asking questions and seeking answers long after they've left our doors. The GSB alumni association exemplifies this approach as they regularly offer workshops, seminars, and other events designed to continue the growth and development of the alumni community long after they’ve completed their degrees. This commitment to lifelong learning is a hallmark of our business school education.
By combining teaching with cutting-edge research, we're not only creating better students and alumni, but we're also building a reputation for excellence in business education. Our professors aren't just teachers – they're leaders in their fields, and their research is helping to shape the future of business education. In short, research-based teaching is at the heart of everything we do here at the Graduate School of Business. We do not engage in the mere passing on of knowledge but rather in empowering our students to think critically, learn continuously, and succeed in the fast-paced world of business.