How The MBA Creates Modern Day Leaders
We often hear that leadership cannot be taught – according to some, it is the natural instinct of those who are ‘born to lead’. As a business school, we tend to disagree with this perception. While some are naturally more comfortable as leaders, we believe that it is a person’s experiences that shape their ability to effectively lead. We truly believe that the MBA creates modern day leaders through the unique experiences that it provides students – see the below points to understand how.
A practical and applicable approach
Business schools around the world are beginning to move away from entirely theory-based curriculums and are starting to see the importance of practical learning. As the practical business school, AIB programmes have always been closely linked with the practical application of theory in the workplace, which allows students to get the most out of their degree. Skills in leadership cannot be purely learnt in a classroom; real-world application is required too. It is the fusion of the two that enables modern day leaders to tackle issues in the ever-changing business environment.
Increased confidence through new knowledge
Modern-day leaders must not only be confident in their strategy development, decision-making and issue handling, they must also be able instill confidence in the people they lead. Time after time, MBA graduates explain that an increased level of confidence in professional abilities is one of the most enjoyed yet unexpected benefits of the programme. Many students begin the MBA unsure of their potential, but as they undertake the subjects and apply knowledge to their workplace, this confidence begins to grow. Knowledge is power as it fuels this self-confidence, leaving MBA graduates feeling better equipped to take on leadership challenges within the workplace and pursue their goals.
A focus on effective communication
MBA World sums up the importance of communication in leadership brilliantly, stating, “You cannot lead people if they do not have a clear and concise understanding of what your aims and intentions are.” Effective communicaton is a skill that can always be improved upon and is valued in employees in almost every industry, if not all. Throughout the MBA, practical assessments, collaborative online learning and networking are just a few of the ways communication skills are honed. In order to succeed in written assessments, students must be able to articulate themselves well while summarising theories and applying them to practical scenarios in a succinct and clear way. The same applies for oral presentations, networking events and other verbal or face to face interactions. This is practiced throughout all 12 units, ensuring MBAs graduate with strong business communication skills.
Speaking with AIB at a recent networking event in Sydney, MBA student and Operational Team Leader at Infosys BPO, Sunil Kumar, explained that his view of leadership has completely changed throughout his MBA journey. He began to recognise the importance of communication in leadership and described that the MBA leadership unit helped him to communicate with his team members as a leader rather than a manager. If you’re unable to relate your vision to your team, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re all working towards the same goal. Through effective communication, a leader can forecast problems in the team, and ensure that staff know exactly what is expected of them at all times.
A shift in thinking
The MBA is known for its holistic perspective on business – AIB students study 12 subjects that represent core business functions and graduate with an understanding of how these functions work together. This knowledge alone can change the way people think. Students often start the MBA with a focus on their own field, but upon graduation, they are able to see the bigger picture, viewing issues, decisions and strategy from a whole-of-organisation perspective. This is important in today’s workplaces, as leaders and teams with cross-functional abilities are highly valued.
Sanjay Singh, AIB MBA graduate, said that the MBA helped him to think strategically and trained him to understand complex business issues. He said, “The MBA provided me with the business skills I was lacking and it also enhanced my leadership skills, cross-culture understanding and teamwork – all of which are important for future business leaders.”
For those who are looking to take that next step into leadership, the MBA provides the critical knowledge to create that shift in thinking. Do you agree that the MBA is creating modern day leaders by providing unique and enriching experiences?
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.