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Recovering better through multi-value know-how

26 August 2020: A new MBA aimed at aspiring Chief Value Officers is being offered by Audencia in France. ICAEW is a partner in the programme. How does the Executive MBA Chief Value Officer accommodate post-COVID thinking?

Focusing on financial information will only get us so far – COVID has shown us that. Thinking around the longer-term and creating value for multiple beneficiaries is challenging traditional Chief Financial Officer thinking.

Audencia, Nantes, has partnered with ICAEW, CNCC and IFACI, amongst others, to deliver the MBA Chief Value Officer, part-time across 18 months in English. The programme starts in March 2021 with blended study across virtual platforms and Paris. The Capitals Coalition also supports the program and its development. 

Using value to measure success, relationships and the trust that should come with it, Audencia, with Delphine Gibassier, has created the first MBA worldwide, on the measurement, control and audit of global multi-capital performance. 

Gibassier is Audencia’s Associate Professor of Accounting for Sustainable Development and Integrated Multi-Capital Integrated Performance Research Centre Director. Now she is also the MBA Chief Value Officer Academic Director. She is additionally a member of the Climate Disclosure Standards Board technical working group, a board member of the Capitals Coalition and a UN global Compact Expert Network Member amongst other things.

The programme is aimed at executives with at least 10 years’ experience, with a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor degree. 

“The programme is the first in the world,” she says. “Conversations with ICAEW started in March and we launched the MBA in June. Our partners have helped us shape the executive MBA and define who we would target.” She continues: “ICAEW was the first to sign a partnership agreement with us. We are part of the ICAEW’s Partners in Learning Programme.”

So how will the teaching of this qualification be any different from what has gone before? “Business teaching is pretty traditional and the delivery of accountancy qualifications through professional bodies around the world is fairly standardised,” says Gibassier. “The programme we have tailored shifts the way the finance function will work, from measuring a single capital to multiple capitals, and also shifts how management thinks. Management will learn that they have to consider society and the environment and not just, for example, their customers and investors.”

She continues: “That kind of shift requires partners and help. Audencia was one of the first business schools in France to deal with accounting for environmental, social and governance issues, and is a PRME Champion. However, having the support of the likes of ICAEW has been key for this launch. It has validated that there is a need for this qualification. Not just that there is a market, but that companies require their CFOs and senior executives to have expertise in multi-capital thinking.”

Gibassier and her colleagues are hoping that ACA-qualified chartered accountants will be interested in gaining the knowledge that this executive MBA will offer. “We are not just aiming this at multi-nationals,” she says. “We also hope smaller organisations will be interested in their CFOs becoming CVOs.”

Audencia expects the first MBA cohort to be derived largely from Europe, but there is interest already from around the world. The fact that a partial presence in Paris is required means that it is inevitable that the first batch of students will be located within reach of the French capital.

“Interest so far has mainly come from CFOs who have 20-30 years’ experience. This means that the knowledge that we deliver can be implemented within their organisations quickly. This is good, but we also welcome younger professionals starting from around 10 years’ experience of course,” she says. This knowledge will help businesses deliver a better, more holistic and future-facing impact as we move into the recovery stage post-COVID. 

Multi-capital value creation means that you are creating value out of not creating harm or even creating a positive impact on nature and wellbeing, she says, adding: “It can be a daunting task. Students will learn how to create multi-capital and how to use it in decision-making and even business modelling, for example.”

To date, ad hoc articles and webinars have been the main source of this type of knowledge. This is the first time that multi-capital thinking has been pulled together into a single structure with definite outputs and uses.

Anyone who acquires these skills will ultimately participate in the movement for change, not change for change’s sake but to embed responsible and systemic thinking in the way businesses operate and account for their activities.

For more information about the MBA Chief Value Officer, please click here. There is a recorded presentation of the MBA in June here. There will be a webinar on 8 September 2020 you can sign up for here.