"Management education is in need of new and innovative teaching methods. It is not necessary for knowledge to develop only in classrooms. Higher education institutions need to encourage students and adjust their study programs to help them gain the necessary skills in real life situations in the business world and in companies,” was the core message of the keynote speech by Dr. Alenka Braček Lalić, Vice Dean for Research and Co-Director of Executive MBA at IEDC and CEEMAN IQA Director when she presented the key results of an extensive international research on management development needs Lead4Skills.
The fast changes and uncertainties affecting contemporary managers demand new business models and dictate a need for innovative, creative and flexible thinking. Prof. Sándor Takács from Corvinus University in Budapest explained that “digitalization is one of the key elements of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology is rapidly advancing and the business world is closely intertwined with it. Younger generations grow up with computers while older generations are familiarizing with these processes gradually. This is one of the challenges, technology is not and unsurpassable obstacle.” Moreover, Dr. Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia emphasized that “education is continuous - lifelong. Children in kindergartens are already learning and retirees are learning as well. Everyone has a right to accessible and quality education.”
The conference also presented the results of the extensive Lead4Skills research project encompassing 11 countries. The purpose was to present business challenges companies are facing today and prepare guidelines for higher education institutions to help them better understand and address these challenges. “We conducted 213 interviews with respondents from Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Estonia, South Africa and Russia. Experts addressed questions on the future of management and current priorities in the business world. The research has shown that companies in all participating countries strive to employ communicative, proactive and creative employees. Companies are looking for innovativeness, fresh approaches and new ideas. Companies are looking for staff that is striving for change,” Dr. Braček Lalić summed up.
The speakers also highlighted the missing links between development needs and higher education institutions. “The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has indeed well-defined project to encourage cooperation between the business world and the schools. But for change to really happen, initiative has to come from bottom up. Professors, higher education institutions, managers and employees all need motivation. This is a big challenge,” Dr. Alenka Braček Lalić concluded.