Techno-MBAs need of the hour

The existing compartmentalized approach to management education has inherent limitations to be able to walk hand-in-hand with the fast changing global business scenario.

Today’s technological civilization needs rapid and radical changes to tackle issues. Hence business management programs that connect with technology, design and innovation are indeed critical.

Survival as a manager in today’s techno savvy work environment depends largely on your ability to innovate and technology provides tremendous opportunities to innovate and differentiate.

The MBA of tomorrow therefore needs a strong foundation in technology.

Does this mean that one has to learn programming or be an engineer? No. What is required is an understanding of the available technologies, their strengths and weaknesses, possible applications of these technologies to real life business situations and the ability to visualize newer solutions as an integral part of business planning. Equally the MBA needs to be able to harness this technology effectively and therefore must have good project, process and change management capabilities.

We are slowly but surely moving to an era where all business is becoming e-Business.

Recognizing this need many B-Schools started adding a few subjects such as e-commerce, MIS and IT for Management into their MBA syllabus. These subjects are usually handled as very elementary courses on technology and the management aspects of technology.

With the growth of IT and ITeS businesses, the need for techno-MBAs is increasing by leaps and bounds.

Company’s both IT service providers as well as user industries looking for MBAs for traditional business roles seem to prefer MBAs who have some knowledge of technology.

Some B-schools, apart from having systems as specialization, which is more suited for roles in the technology domain, provide the possibility of dual specialization or a major/minor combination between functional and systems. This is an interesting way of addressing needs. Students who take finance or marketing for example can take these as their major subjects and take a few subjects such as CRM or ERP or E-commerce as part of the Systems Minor.

Since many of these industry relevant courses and indeed the manner in which they are offered do not fit into the sometimes rigid framework of traditional educational systems such as Universities etc, the MBA aspirant must remember that the industry today evaluates based on the students demonstrated talent and content of the courses and not merely affiliations to universities or government agencies. It is relevance which matters most.

Design and Innovation Management imperative for future:

In this era of uncontrolled growth, not only of population but also products, services, scientific and technical information, how does one make sense of human needs and aspirations?

Emerging unarticulated needs and realities need new approaches. We feel management education can play a very crucial role in creating a new genre of managers who are attuned to these realities.

All forward thinking business leaders agree that innovation is the only way forward. Design that delivers sustainable solutions will play a significant role in business transformation.

We need a separate genre of managers who are trained not only to manage but also innovate, looking at the human, social and psychological needs of the users of their products and services, to make better profits in their line of business.

There are several organizations that have innovation centers/innovation hubs that focus on internalizing design and innovation at all levels in the organization. Some of the roles one can expect to play as persons with business and design knowledge are: Design Strategists, Design Interface Managers, Business Analysts, Solution Architects, Information Architects, Business and Organizational Architects.

Certainly new output needs new input and therefore the pedagogy used while inculcating design and innovation thinking include unlearning workshops, integrated teaching and hands on learning.

An aspirant’s future success lies in selecting institutes and courses which have demonstrated their ability to deliver such as a blend of management, technology, design and innovation.