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Leadership To Digital Innovation: These MBA-Style Courses Help You Upskill For The Future

To advance in 2021, business leaders will need to upskill in areas like data literacy and remote leadership—and a specialized post-graduate business credential could be the perfect solution

In 2020, the World Economic Forum found that 94% of business leaders expect their employees to upskill on the job—and in the face of constant change this is hardly surprising.

Today's leaders must grapple with a more flexible workforce, new technology developments, and an increased emphasis on adapting to change in the workplace.

To prepare for these challenges, many are turning to a part-time qualification from a reputable business school that can be studied alongside full-time work. 

“Interest in short, flexible courses is growing—especially as leaders are becoming more hesitant to jump into full-time study,” observes Dr. Maurizio Floris, Director for Part-Time MBA programs at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School in Sydney. 

The AGSM recently renewed two or launched four Graduate Certificate programs—ranging in scope from Digital Innovation, Strategic Management, Leadership, Change, Management and Technology Management.

In each program, students learn alongside part-time MBA participants, and students can use their Graduate Certificate to articulate into one of AGSM’s MBA programs if desired*. 

The courses are tailored to develop high-demand skills that leaders will need to thrive over the next few years. Here's what you'll gain from studying an AGSM Graduate Certificate program:


You’ll learn to manage in a hybrid team

In 2020, a record number of workers switched from in-office to remote working. It’s a trend that seems unlikely to be reversed, even as the effects of the coronavirus dies down.

A Future Forum study found that just 12% of knowledge workers want to return to the office full-time, while 72% desire a hybrid working model. 

The transition to flexible working was already on the horizon, Maurizio comments, but the pressures of coronavirus accelerated this change more quickly than anticipated.

“Essentially, we’re on a bullet train to the future,” he says. “All resistance to remote working was taken out of the equation and businesses had to adapt.”

Leading these new virtual teams requires a different set of skills compared to traditional management. However, these skills can be cultivated through the AGSM Graduate Certificate programs, which can be studied either online, in person, or through a mix of these delivery formats providing students the flexibility to choose a study mode that best suits them.

“Students will learn to collaborate with a team of incredibly busy people, who are often dispersed geographically,” Maurizio explains. “That combination requires teamwork skills that go above and beyond what is expected in an office-based job.”

“In a face-to-face environment, the number of hours your team works was often seen as a proxy for productivity. But now, with people working from home, you really need to focus on what each individual is actually contributing to the team,” says Maurizio.

“Also, conversations with your team members now need to be more explicit and structured when you can’t rely on those incidental chats that happen in a physical office,” he advises.


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You’ll gain data literacy

According to the World Economic Forum, 84% of employers are set to rapidly digitize working processes, which is creating a notable skills gap when it comes to handling data. 

When developing the AGSM Graduate Certificate programs, Maurizio and his team were mindful of this gap, and carefully chose topics that would help professionals navigate and thrive in today’s accelerated world.

Students can choose to specialise their study in Technology Management and participate in courses like Managing with Digital Technology, Digital Innovation and Project Management, which focus on the challenges of successfully leveraging developments in information technology in a business setting.

But also in the more generalized Graduate Certificate in Management, students can opt for courses like Digital Strategy, Digital Business and Marketing Strategy, and Business Analytics. 

“There has been a high demand for technology skills in the last 20 years, ever since the shift to online—and the use of technologies like Big Data and AI have been accelerating that shift globally,” Maurizio explains.

In order to work with these new technologies successfully, leaders need more than technical skills, he adds.

“It’s about critical thinking—and being data literate allows you to look two or three layers below the surface. You need to be able to develop insights from raw data and understand the implication of these insights in a real-world context,” Maurizio says.  


You’ll practice being adaptable and learning fast

To advance in the fast-changing world of business, it’s important that leaders are motivated to learn and adapt. 

“Flexibility is set to be an important trait in the coming years—you need to avoid being locked in a particular mindset and be able to change the way you work really quickly,” Maurizio explains.  

AGSM’s Graduate Certificates allow you to demonstrate this quality, he adds. Not only can leaders develop an adaptive mindset through the Change Management certificate but excelling in a course designed for MBA students is also a good indicator of your ability to work flexibly and study at a higher educational level. 

“Completing these programs signals that you are someone who is willing to learn new skills and frameworks, which is particularly important when you’re looking for a new job or career path,” Maurizio explains.  

For leaders who want to accelerate their careers in 2021, an adaptable attitude, willingness to learn, and a tech savvy mindset will play an important role—and business school programs like the AGSM Graduate Certificates are designed to support your development through immersive active learning experiences and build your in-demand skill set.

* Subject to achieving a weighted average mark above 65%, and additional admissions criteria

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