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

Friday, August 3, 2007

Management Education in the 21st Century

In a century of uncertainty and dynamism, management education needs to continually evolve to keep up. The role of management can be seen as narrowing and widening itself at the same time. On the one hand, ever increasing workplace democracy is reducing the load on managers by dividing management functions among workers. But on the other hand, this new era of exponential change has introduced many new factors into management, such as changes in workplace demographics. To better prepare management students for the workplace, management education must go beyond just introducing new workplace trends. To achieve that, I think it is important to first understand the source of these trends. New trends start because our society goes through change. Therefore key to 21st century management is to understand people. This can be done by reducing faculty barriers between social science and management. Finally, business ethics need to be highlighted in management education. Apart from focusing on traditional business ethics topics such as fraud, management schools also need to emphasize on new topics such as sustainable development.

My ideal management class has no distinct boundaries across different management disciplines. I think students can relate their knowledge better when the barriers between courses are removed. For instance, operations management and marketing can be combined to give the benefit of aligning effective input/output management with marketing opportunities. Also I disagree with cramming hard facts about management, especially upon entering the faculty. I believe that starting students off with a concrete picture about the workplace can severely limit their creativity. It would be interesting to have a class where the objective is to design a business organization, and then slowly analyze the problems with the design model before finally applying methodologies from modern day organizations.

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