New insight into old problems

Ignacio Canales

Glasgow B-school holds a Refresher Day to arm managers with relevant tools



For most managers, formal management education usually ends with an MBA. But in a complex and rapidly changing environment, does your MBA arm you with all the tools you may conceivably require? The University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School believes that, like technology, your MBA degree, too, needs to be updated periodically. Ignacio Canales, Reader in Strategy, Adam Smith Business School, tells Business Line why it runs an MBA refresher for its alumni.

Why is it important to keep ‘refreshing your MBA?’

The practice of managing is one that deals with unstructured problems without a single solution. Therefore, revisiting existing paradigms with a critical view enhances the capacity of MBAs to face their own organisation’s problem with a renewed view.

How important is it today for any MBA curriculum to keep pace with global developments?

It goes without saying that it is crucial. However, good theories can prove to be the most practical tool that MBAs have, to face changes in global development.

Why a Refresher Day?

The refresher day was a way to enhance the community of practice by offering value adding lectures from the best professors who currently teach in the Glasgow MBA.

By attending the refresher’s day, Glasgow MBA alumni benefit from the latest knowledge taught today in the Adam Smith Business School MBA and discuss one of the most important events organised in Glasgow, the Commonwealth Games.

In what ways did the event help students enhance their knowledge?

To update their capacity to make decisions in real time, while assessing relevant risks, considering the global economic situation and using the best possible tools. Business administration at its core deals with addressing unstructured problems. The refresher’s day provided new insight into old problems by having world-class academics visit decision-making situations to familiarise managers using the lens of the latest theory in management.

The event started by questioning vulnerabilities of people within organisations and managers’ perspectives, that viewing risk is inherently problematic. The discussion centred on how we can validate knowledge and how we know what we don’t know. Heretical economic thoughts were voiced regarding the deficit hysteria — suggesting that government debt should not be a worry as there is no need to repay the debt.

The focus then shifted to business-to-business marketing, discussing what marketing professionals can do with data, following evidence that marketing data was not being analysed properly.

Looking ahead to the imminent start of the Commonwealth Games, being held in Glasgow for the first time, discussion centred on the strategy developed to build a lasting Commonwealth Games legacy.

Which are the areas (in management education) that are likely to be emerging in the near future?

Nobody can claim to know what the future will bring but it would not be surprising to see modularisation of management education, whereby specific short-term courses will become more important than they are today and perhaps degrees will be formed of different combinations of modules.

Published on June 10, 2014

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