Day 53Put a suit on someone and they look more respectable, smarter, more prepared. There is plenty of room in the world for a tailored, well made suit. But a dark suit with a light coloured shirt (the typical MBA uniform) also makes everyone in the room look similar. One could argue that the act of requiring students to wear suits to certain functions also encourages them to act, maybe even think in a certain, similar way. It adds an element of formality that can stop students from speaking up, saying or asking what they want to say or ask, being open to discussion and exploration. It may even discourage those who don’t own, have never worn, and are not interested in careers that require suits from applying in the first place.

If business schools are about bringing together a diverse group of people, sharing and connecting those differences to create a future workforce that can strengthen and innovate the business sector and make it more sustainable, then differences should be celebrated within the school. Creating a more casual dress environment (within reason) may provide a better setting for the sharing of information and insights, drawn both from successes and failures. It may give students the opportunity to focus on being what they are and not what the sector wants them to be.

This may seem like a small thing, but sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest difference.