As you begin your academic year this week, many of you will be taking MGMT 5150 as a critical foundational course in your program.

Here Gareth Morgan, Professor of Organization Studies and Distinguished Research Professor, helps you understand the design and motives of the course.

Get acquainted in detail with 5150 as you dive in this term – it will have great significance in your development in leadership and management thinking.

Why MGMT 5150?

This course is designed to introduce MBA students to some of the management and leadership mindsets needed for success in today’s turbulent global economy. In the current context of rapid economic, social and technological change, capacities for flexibility, innovation, and new ways of thinking are at a premium. For example, today’s leaders and managers must be adaptable and have the capacity to deal with unpredictability and the integration of multiple priorities and points of view. They must be able to spot and anticipate emerging trends and patterns; ask and explore provocative questions about their organizations and the world at large; deal with challenging ethical dilemmas; and generally think both “inside” and “outside the box” in a deep and probing way.

To begin meeting these needs the course helps to foster the “seeing and thinking skills” that are required to meet the demands of a turbulent world. In particular, it takes the challenge of promoting sustainable business development and the need for reflective personal awareness as core themes for guiding your studies and applying what you learn.

Specifically, by the end of the course students will have enhanced critical awareness and skills in three areas:

  1.  Leadership and management thinking – mindsets and skills needed for success in a turbulent world.
  2. Improved social and environmental responsibility – especially awareness of some of the key contemporary challenges and the importance of marshaling our creative capacities in pursuit of innovative solutions.
  3. Career development challenges – an awareness of some of the key things that you need to do personally to position yourself for success in your future career.

Soft-Skill Building: Why Does It Matter?

While many of the attitudes and skills addressed in this course are thought of as “soft skills” – in that they cannot be easily quantified or tied down through rigorous technique – successful students from previous years have told us that they are very demanding. They tell us that the course often takes them into new territory and out of existing comfort zones. They also tell us about the importance of rising to the challenge – that the benefit that one derives from the course is directly linked to the personal commitment and effort that one puts in. Personal development requires that we embrace and learn from personal challenges. Experience of this course will be no exception!

How Should I Approach MGMT 5150?

You are invited to enter the course with a spirit of inquiry and adventurousness, recognizing that personal awareness of one’s strengths and limitations are crucial for success in today’s world. We invite you to be prepared to be challenged; to be provoked; and, at times, to be frustrated. Learning new skills requires practice and an awareness of the deeper factors shaping the learning process, especially those forces that can get in the way. The class discussions, assignments and exercises will help you get on this important learning journey – one that will hopefully continue throughout your future career.

Don’t miss the MBA Research Tools Workshop on Thursday September 24, 2015, which will cover strategies and examples specific to MGMT 5150! Register here.