“Leadership is all about nurturing innovation and understanding change,” according to Vangelis Tsiligiris, writing for Gulf Business. Vangelis is an economist and faculty member at the University of Roehampton, London Online.

There are several current drivers of change in our ever-fluctuating business environment, and understanding these is key to tackling the challenges faced by today’s leaders.

Technological advancements have democratised the markets

New technology allows the entry of new businesses into the market, shaking up the existing corporate status quo. Business leaders face more competition, less certainty, and shorter product- and industry life cycles.

The emergence of new business hubs

Local business hubs in BRIC and MENA countries and in Southeast Asia have easier access to production resources (namely human talent and major customer pools) because 80% of the world’s population resides in these regions.

Customers demand quality at a low price

Frequently, this means products have features that exceed customer expectations. Organisations face increasing customer demands to continually improve their return on investment.

Tsiligiris compares past and present: “The MBA was introduced in the United States in the 20th century as a response to the need for appropriately trained senior executives, because most had an engineering or non-management background. Since then, the MBA has grown to become an iconic management qualification, mere possession of which could guarantee significant differentiation in the employment market.”

Professor Henry Mintzberg, in his book entitled “Managers Not MBAs”, criticises the highly technical nature of certain MBA programmes, and their lack of focus on essential skills like creativity, the ability to deal with uncertainty and the ability to develop innovation.

Thankfully, the response of several universities around the world (including the University of Roehampton, London Online) has been to review their MBA curricula in the light of business environment changes and challenges for future leaders. Here are three learning outcomes you should expect from a forward-thinking MBA programme:

  1. You should have an understanding of contemporary leadership
    Companies and leaders must innovate or die. Contemporary leadership should be able to encourage, reinforce and manage innovation. The challenge is for leaders to be able to conceive and visualise the “other direction” rather than the “right direction”. This requires the ability to consider and reflect on a wide array of issues that are often not part of the traditional leadership decision-making process.
  2. You should embrace change at all levels
    Change is now a fact of all stages of the organisational life cycle. In a fast-moving business environment, success is a function of the ability to embrace change at all levels of the organisation. Modern leaders should be able to see changes as an ongoing and never-ending process.
  3. You should know that leadership should be everywhere
    Today and in the future, leadership should be integrated into several roles within the organisation, far from the traditional model of leadership as a top-down process. In order to respond to the need for continuous innovation and change, organisations must shift away from traditional hierarchical structures to form a network of teams and decision centres that integrate leadership and management actions. The leadership of the future will be situated and integrated not only at the top but also at the middle-to-lower management and operational levels, and will be a critical element in achieving quality and encouraging innovation.

In today’s world, the right MBA programme can inspire leaders who will rise to meet today’s global business challenges confidently.

Take charge of your future and find out what the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at Roehampton Online has to offer.

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