Ahead of the game

Monash’s new MBA program teaches managers to adapt quickly to change. By Muriel Reddy.

Alexander Theatre
Professor Patrick Butler

Today’s managers must be creative and agile to succeed in a business environment that is increasingly global, complex and uncertain. This is the philosophy of the new MBA program at Monash Business School, which places personal and professional leadership development at its heart. The emphasis on  leadership, which is distinctive to the Monash program, reflects the significant advances in neuroscience and cognitive psychology in recent years. “Our leadership program is based on a contemporary understanding of human behaviour and motivation,” explains Professor Patrick Butler, Director of MBA Programs.

In a business world of constant change, managers must learn to adapt rapidly. “In the past, business thinking was focused on addressing the organisational problems of an industrial era,” says Butler (pictured below). “But the problems facing businesses now are more complex. Leadership demands a deep understanding of the forces of change and the ability to navigate new territory.”

Managers must respond quickly as markets and organisations transform. Even when companies launch products and services in rapid succession, the next generation is ready to go. “In this context, the risks of managers and executives being hesitant are significant,” he warns. “They must be able to think clearly, draw conclusions quickly, and act decisively.

“It is time to reimagine how we develop executives and leaders for tomorrow. We explore next-generation business challenges, and our students build the necessary competencies to tackle these while working on MBA consulting projects with leading technology companies. “In our new curriculum, we will have a range of strategy, entrepreneurship and international business projects with our business partners. “For example, our students are currently working on smart cities, regenerative medicine, solar cell energy systems and sustainability projects.”

The MBA class will visit business schools and study companies in Germany and Greece this year. Butler, who joined Monash in 2015, is one of a new team of professors and directors in leadership and executive education at the Monash Business School.

More information: business.monash.edu/mba