How to train managers for the challenges of tomorrow?

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If you want to make real change in an industry, is it better to change course or start from scratch? In the case of the electric vehicle market, as Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of investment management firm Ark Invest, argued that GM and Ford just don’t have the DNA for the electric vehicle market and will be overwhelmed by others. from Tesla.

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and clean energy company certainly doesn’t have the accumulated baggage of a century of Detroit-based production, and that could explain why Tesla’s market cap is higher than that of GM, Ford. , VW and Toyota together. With electric truck maker Rivian now the largest US company in terms of market value with no revenue, the disruptors seem to have the upper hand.

What about introducing the change in business education? It is a challenge that Guillermo Cisneros, dean of the new Advantere School of Management in Madrid, is eager to meet.

“We will create solutions to the challenges facing business and society not by clinging to the case study of the past, but by thinking of solutions that no one else is thinking of. Business schools need to recognize that companies do not hire their graduates for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.

Cisneros sees the leaders of most companies as risk managers. “They avoid setbacks, they manage risks, the goal is not to lose. It is very important in organizations, but it is not enough. he argues that entrepreneurs, innovators and agents of change are managers of uncertainty. “The focus is on what to win, how to add value and create new solutions. True leaders are managers of uncertainty, facing day-to-day ambiguity and uncertainty and reducing it for others.

It’s a risk-taking perspective that echoes, albeit more eloquently, the belief of Space X founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who says, “There is a huge prejudice against taking risks. . Everyone is trying to optimize their ass coverage. “

Cisneros’ thinking is based on years of experience. In addition to launching a new campus and courses for one of Europe’s leading business schools, he was also vice president of global initiatives at Berklee College of Music, Boston, in charge of all international programs. and the launch of its first international campus.

The analogy that the Dean of Advantere draws between music schools and business schools is therefore relevant. “Traditional business schools are classical music, always good music, but classical. Advantere is rock and roll, jazz or hip-hop. In classical music education, students learn to recreate, perform, and perfectly reproduce what composers decades and centuries ago created. In modern music education, students have a solid technical background and preparation, but the goal is to learn to create things – ideas, compositions that were not there before. “

And that’s the key message to Advantere School of Management. They learn by design, face new challenges, and create new solutions never thought of before – a new model of business education to challenge the old way of doing things.

For Guillermo Cisneros, management is not just a business affair. “Business is only part of what managers do. That’s why we don’t want to be seen as just a business school. We are committed to a better world, where issues such as sustainability and social justice are accessible to all. More than a business school, we train challengers.

Founded by two prestigious Spanish universities, the Pontifical University of Comillas and the University of Deusto, and with Georgetown University as a strategic academic partner, Advantere relies on these stakeholders as well as on business partners, educators and students to make the business a disruptive co-creation project.

“If you analyze the companies and organizations that are transforming their industries, they are not following the classic rules,” explains Cisneros. “Companies like Amazon and Tesla are changing the rules, creating new rules. So at Advantere we want students to play a key role in defining what the institution is, creating new rules for what it should be.

He recognizes that co-creation is not for everyone, but sees it as a fundamental sign of strength in an organization. “Giving a role and a voice to your ‘customers’ is the most effective way to innovate and always move in the right direction. You have clear goals and purpose, you know what you want to be, but you’re smart enough to know that you don’t have all the answers and that the future is being written with others.

The Madrid-based school is launching four master’s programs in management, finance, marketing, and talent management that will start in October 2022, and Guillermo Cisneros says they’re not looking for the typical business student. “At Advantere, we are not looking to train more business leaders, but to create Challenge Managers. Those who can handle uncertainty, take risks, and lead with determination. We want to welcome what we call “resolvers“, and our admissions process is designed to identify such individuals.”

With a wide range of scholarships and financial support programs, provided by both the Society of Jesus and the founding universities, the school hopes to attract students from all over the world with diverse backgrounds who share the common goal of making l ‘incredible possible.

“If you want to have an impact, if you want to add value, you’re a re-solution,” Cisneros insists, “and we want you on board. “