"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Friday, August 3, 2007

Management in the 21st century

Although I am still very new to management education, I believe it will greatly change in the 21st century. Up until now, we have been though on traditional values and we have learned from stories dating as far as the 50's ( I am thinking of some old movies we watched in a previous management class). It has been a great tool to learn the fundamentals and remove the complexity to teach us the basic theories of management, but in 21st this will simply not work. The situation and overall picture of how we manage an organization is changing so much that new expertise and different qualities are necessary for our future leaders, managers and employees. One that we are all already aware of is information. In the future, a class like Management Information System might be more like Managing Information, where people not only learn that: "yes there is technology around us", but rather that: "Yes, there is technology, and we must learn how to use it to find the information we need right now. Put differently, the emphasis will not be on how we can access information, but how we are able to manage the most relevant information at the right moment, and how to differentiate it from the incredible mass of information that is currently being produced. Also, I think we should be educated on a broader sense, to see that what we are doing today, and what we will do tomorrow, might have greater impacts around us. I also think that should not only focus on teaching traditional skills, but rather on how to apply new skills such flexibility and adaptability that will be both necessary towards dealing with people and technology.

I believe that a management class should be very small. It could be 15 or 20 people maximum. I am thinking of a language class, where learning a language in a group of more than 20 people becomes very difficult. I think that in the ideal management class, students can participate freely without doing it for the 10% or 20% mark of participation. I think that we should not emphasize on grades, but this might also depend on the subject of the class. Of course, in a class like Finance, we need to focus on grades and marks to differentiate students, but for more general classes, we should focus on driving an interaction between students to students, and between students to professor. We should build more relationships with the people in the class, through games or group projects. I also think that the idea of a class as a workshop, or more as a training session could be very useful in some cases. For instance, a class focusing on global issues could be taught in a country where these problems happen. Learning by seeing the really can definitely have strong impacts. Also, I think we should have classes that focuses on helping other countries. For example, it could be as simple as classes where students from rich countries go to 3rd world countries to help students on subjects like mathematics, English, or biology. This already exists, but they are seen as extreme cases.

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