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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » January 26, 2012
Special Section: Education
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MBA for Uncertain Times
January 26, 2012   
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Prof. Ewa Konarzewska-Gubała, MBA Program Director, Department of Management, Computer Science and Finance, Wrocław University of Economics:

We live in interesting times. The current stage of development of both the economy as a whole and its individual components is distinctive with its unprecedented dynamism in terms of technological, economic and social change. This is reflected by various kinds of turbulence and breakthroughs in the economy, but also by the uncertainty about its future shape on both the macro and micro scale.

We ask ourselves: Should we reformulate the program for educating business leaders in the MBA system, and how should this be done at a time of global crisis? As behavioral economist Dan Ariely argues, the crisis has put in doubt the fundamental assumption of traditional economics that people are capable of making rational decisions while markets and institutions are subject to healthy self-regulation.

After 2008 a growing number of experts are arguing that traditional economics has declined or even gone bankrupt. The science of economics is based on studies of regularities, on repeatability. The rapid changes typical of our times make it difficult to identify these regularities and ultimately result in changes to existing paradigms of how the economy and companies function. Preparing for the enrollment of a new batch of candidates for the Wrocław University of Economics Executive MBA Program, which is now being held for the 20th time, we thought about the changes and modifications we should make. Should we concentrate on building a corporate vision, new projects, breaking away from the present situation, or on improving skills for diagnosing and solving current problems? How strongly should we preserve routines, and how much should we stimulate the need for innovation? In specific situations this question can imply how much innovation and how much security there should be in experiments.

Regardless of the discussion on the extent of knowledge and the ways in which it should be taught as well as the ways in which specific skills should be developed, we believe that, to a much greater extent than before, MBA studies should contribute to the formation of an approach among the managerial elite that will facilitate the development of a “wisdom society”—as defined by Ewa Chmielecka in her article of this title—a society that combines the ability to make use of information and knowledge to serve worthy goals. The combination of knowledge and value creates wisdom.
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