Walking the talk: Fostering strong governance among next generation board members

One of GES focus areas is Governance. The last 5-10 years there has been an increased debate in many countries on how board governance can be strengthened. Back in 2013, the board of directors at GES discussed how the board, as part of the regular board work, could help developing stronger board governance among the next generation of business leaders in Sweden. This resulted in a structured co-operation with Jönköping International Business School (JIBS). Each year there is an application process where the master program students can apply for a board trainee position in GES board for one year. During this year the selected student participates in the regular board work (as an adjunct member) but has also a certain task to help the chairman of the board to prepare the board meetings with agenda etc. and also to write minutes after each meeting. The student also commits to write his/her master thesis about an ESG related area. Another reason for establishing this board trainee set-up was to get influx of ideas and thoughts from young people to the board not only in terms of ESG topics but also on other topics such as digitisation, HR etc.

The reason for co-operating with Jönköping International Business School is that the board felt there were many similarities and shared values. JIBS is an international business school, which has world-class research in the field of family owned businesses. JIBS also became a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) in 2013 because they believe in global social responsibility. JIBS wanted to educate students who could generate sustainable value for businesses and their societies. Thereby, JIBS committed to raise awareness of their shared responsibility to be ethical and sustainable global citizens.

Previous board trainees have shared their experiences from the board-trainee year they have completed at GES.

2013/2014: Sarah Hammoura

2014/2015: Alexander Wigren

2015/2016: Mattias Nokelainen


JIBS at a glance:

  • Approx. 2,000 students. Part of Jönköping University with 10,000 students.
  • Approx. 35 per cent of the faculty and close to 50 per cent of the students come from other countries than Sweden.
  • According to different surveys, JIBS has been ranked as the second and third best business school in Sweden overall and no. 1 for “Internationalisation”.
  • The Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO) has been ranked no. 1 in Europe and among the top five business schools in the world several times.
  • The three guiding principles of JIBS are: International AT HEART, entrepreneurial IN MIND and responsible IN ACTION.