‘Managers have to find the right balance between hard and soft skills’

Jun 02 2014, 04:28 IST
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SummaryEstablished in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute.

Established in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute. Earlier this year, it announced a 15-month MBA programme in collaboration with the University of Bradford for working professionals. R Theyvendran, MDIS secretary-general, tells FE’s Abhishek Chakraborty that management education has shifted towards an all-rounded approach as opposed to the traditional play-by-the-book approach. Excerpts:

What is the USP of your new MBA programme?

Our new programme offers students a head-start in the real world by fusing the two worlds of academia and business with each other. Taught by qualified teachers, MDIS students graduate with a firm grounding in both theory and professional practicality.

What are the latest trends in management education?

Management education, in recent years, has shifted towards a more all-rounded approach as opposed to the traditional play-by-the-book approach. In the past, educators would just impart the necessary knowledge and simply push the practitioners to follow the rules. But this no longer works.

Today’s business world is dynamic, and the rules of the game keep evolving. Every successful manager in the modern world is an all-rounder, and management educators now aim to produce mavericks rather than followers. They must learn to think out-of-the-box and train their minds to constantly innovate. Blind obedience and conformity is no longer an option.

Which are the most popular fields for MBA graduates?

While traditional industries such as engineering, banking and finance and services sectors continue to attract MBA graduates, we observe a great deal of attention paid to social media marketing. It will not be long before young managers start wrestling for priority positioning in the digital arena, and we must make sure that our students are prepared for this eventuality by arming them with appropriate tools and skills.

What is the importance of soft skills for MBA aspirants?

A challenge many managers often face is finding the right balance between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. Good managers must not only be able to apply the theories and concepts they learn in their course, but also be able to relate to their team-mates, solve problems collaboratively, deal with difficult people, different cultures and so on.

What is the right model for management education?

The best model is the one that works for any given person and place, but there is no model that has a universal fit at any point in time.

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