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Digital Leadership for the Age of Transformation: The TUM School of Management Revolutionizes the Executive MBA in Business & IT for the Heilbronn and Munich Locations

Unforeseeable situations such as the effects of the Corona pandemic in 2020 present us with new challenges in digital leadership. In addition to all the skills previously required for the major management tasks of the economy, in the age of digital transformation, an understanding of information technology (IT) is becoming increasingly essential in order to identify innovation potential, further develop offerings, and adapt business models to the “new normal” of ever faster digitization. In the context of the pandemic, the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is also becoming noticeably more relevant.

Particularly in demand on the job market are those leaders who not only have crisis management skills, but who are able to shape the digital transformation sustainably and successfully through their sound knowledge of management and technology. Particularly in demand on the job market are those leaders who not only have crisis management skills, but who are able to shape the digital transformation sustainably and successfully through their sound knowledge of management and technology. In order to pass on this knowledge at the highest level, and to prepare future executives for their tasks at the interface between management and IT, the Technical University of Munich is now offering a number of certificate and Executive MBA programs in Business & IT, not only at the Munich location but at the TUM Campus Heilbronn location as well. The benefits for our participants and students are twofold. Firstly, through this new opportunity to question themselves and to invest in their own skills in a future-proof way, on the other hand, all programs open up previously unknown opportunities for flexible educational design – an aspect that is becoming more important every day, especially in times of uncertainty and upheaval.

This flexibility is the result of a restructuring of the academic offerings. “With the start of the new winter term, modules of the Executive MBA in Business & IT can also be completed as certificates at our two locations – with the option of having them accredited later as part of a master’s degree program in the same area at the TUM School of Management,” explains Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar, Founding Dean of the TUM School of Management Campus Heilbronn, Delegate Officer of the President at the TUM Campus Heilbronn, and Chair of Information Systems at the Department of Informatics. This opportunity arises from the merger of both programs. Until now, this possibility was only available at the location of the Technical University of Munich. From fall 2020, the BIT certificate programs will also be offered at the campus in Heilbronn. The credits earned as certificates can subsequently be credited as part of the Executive MBA.

Participation options have also been adapted to the latest developments. Not only are blended learning formats available (in which virtual and on-site modules complement each other), but also purely virtual programs are now being implemented by the Professional & Executive Education of the Technical University of Munich. For Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar, this is a decisive step in view of the developments of recent months: “The revised certificate program Blockchain & DLT Management will be available as a completely remote module starting in the fall, and more will follow. In this way, we are preventing the effects of another pandemic wave and ensuring that even far-reaching contact restrictions do not jeopardize the training goals of our participants,” explains Prof. Krcmar.

Despite the expansion of virtual teaching formats, the proven, practice-oriented approach of all executive education and certificate programs at the Technical University of Munich will remain untouched. “Whether in the classroom or virtually, our goal remains to enable our students to drive forward digitization and the use of new technologies, to build a network in which they can thrive, and to impart proven leadership qualities that will give them the tools they need to position their company sustainably in the marketplace,” confirms Prof. Krcmar. “With our Executive MBA in Business & IT, we want to impart different ways of thinking to those who strive to become thought leaders at the interface of IT and management and to equip them with new ways of thinking about old questions. We want to show them that different answers are possible. By creating a mindshift, a change of perspective, we teach them how to see and make use of those answers.

To give an example of how such a mindshift has the potential to shine new light on an old problem, Professor Krcmar, points out one of the most pressing challenges for companies today: “If you look at the core components of a digital transformation, many people think it is either technology, or people skills, or business models. But in reality, it is more about the fit between what the culture of the company allows you to think about, what the business models give you as a profitable approach to the market, and how to actually build and maintain the technology to support that value delivery. With our triple-accredited Executive MBA programs, we bring management and technology skills together while really focusing on that combination of the various factors and helping leaders to reflect whether they’re on a good course or if they could improve a little.”

Of course, making the best possible use of those skills not only requires possessing the skills, but also putting in the personal effort to apply them, to stay driven, and to internalize this new way of looking at problems and challenges. After all, not everybody is born to lead. “It’s a meta-skill to be willing to change yourself and to actually enjoy the change,” Professor Krcmar reflects. “But if you manage to instill enjoyment of change, the draw of development and of reinventing yourself, then you’re equipped to handle not only the challenges of digitalization, but also the next ones – whenever they come.”

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