Sep 8, 2023

Why are techno-managerial MBA programmes more relevant than traditional MBA to leverage Industry 4.0?

By Ramesh Venkatraman

Industrial revolutions are powered by innovation and technology. Industry 1.0 was primarily characterized by mechanization, steam power, and weaving loom; Industry 2.0 by electric power and mass production using assembly lines; Industry 3.0 by electronics, computers, and automation. Currently, we are living in the age of Industry 4.0, characterized by inter-connected cyber-physical systems and powered by intelligent automation, smart IOT devices, networks, cloud computing, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.

Every industrial revolution disrupts the business models and our living. It transforms the way businesses operate and how we live as a society. It also poses new challenges to businesses and society. This in turn brings significant changes on what jobs we do as professionals and the competencies required to do those jobs. According to the Future of Jobs Report (May 2023), published by World Economic Forum, technology adoption will remain a key driver of business transformation in the next five years and 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology increases. In this article, we shall reflect on the relevance of techno-managerial MBA programmes to embrace Industry 4.0 and leverage the benefits.

What are traditional MBA programmes?

Traditional MBA programmes focus on grooming managerial talent for general and key functional management requirements. These programmes are typically titled as MBA, MBA in General Management, MBA in Finance, MBA in HR, MBA in Marketing, MBA in Operations, etc. These programmes impart knowledge and skills in core areas of management, such as quantitative methods, economics, and key functional areas of management, including Finance, HR, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, and Systems. In addition, elective courses offered in these programmes help in gaining deeper and specialized knowledge and skills in one or more key functional areas of management. In a nutshell, the traditional MBA programmes are designed with a curriculum that is independent of technologies and industry domains.

What are techno-managerial MBA programmes? 

Techno-Managerial MBA programmes focus on grooming managerial talent for management requirements in specific techno-functional areas. These programmes are typically titled as MBA in Business Analytics, MBA in Digital Business, MBA in FinTech, MBA in Manufacturing Management, etc. Apart from imparting knowledge and skills in core areas of management and key functional areas of management, these programmes impart specialized knowledge and skills that are more relevant in specific techno-functional areas.

For example, a typical MBA in Business Analytics programme may offer courses, such as Advanced Statistical Models, Predictive Analytics, Data Visualization and Communication. These courses are highly techno-functional in nature and are required to build necessary competencies for the business analytics profession. Similarly, a typical MBA in a fin-tech programme may offer courses such as Digital Banking, FinTech in Wealth Management, Machine Learning for Finance, etc. These courses are also highly techno-functional in nature and are required to build necessary competencies for the fin-tech profession. In a nutshell, the techno-managerial MBA programmes are designed with a curriculum that is closely aligned to the techno-managerial function in specific industries or professions.

How do techno-managerial MBA programmes stand out?

Considering the interconnected nature of businesses and systems in Industry 4.0 powered by technologies, knowledge and skills in techno-functional areas are required for managers and leaders rather than just in one or two functional areas of management. Organizations are grappling with the challenges of upskilling and reskilling their existing talent and recruiting new talent to meet these requirements. It has become the need of the hour for educational institutions and organizations to groom managerial and leadership talent to embrace Industry 4.0 and leverage the benefits.

Techno-Managerial MBA programmes have become highly relevant in this context, as they provide the following key benefits:

Techno-functional competencies enable understanding of the complex business scenarios and problems at a more detailed level. 

They help acquire knowledge and skills to manage and lead the growing technical talent in designing and implementing more effective solutions.

They help drive business transformations in organizations, solve problems for the society, and make this world a sustainable place to live, by adopting appropriate technologies.

They help distinguish oneself from the crowded pool of technical professionals and achieve one’s career goals earlier.

They also help enrich one’s profile to earn higher compensation and benefits and achieve one’s financial goals early.

In recent times, we have observed a spurt in enrolment in techno-managerial MBA programmes by both freshers and experienced professionals. This is driven by trends, such as the potential that technology holds for the businesses, digital transformation happening across the industries, increased need for data-driven decision making in the organizations, etc. It is interesting to see even some management professionals with considerable work experience, who had pursued traditional MBA programmes in the past few decades are showing interest and pursuing techno-managerial MBA programmes now to enhance their knowledge and skills and stay relevant to the current and evolving industry requirements.

How to choose the right MBA programme?

MBA programmes are much sought after by both freshers and experienced professionals over the last few decades. They aspire to pursue MBA programmes for better career opportunities and higher compensation, besides leveraging various other benefits. However, the aspirants are faced with the challenge of which MBA programme to pursue, considering the number of programme choices available. 

Above all, the passion and natural liking to pursue something is paramount in deciding the choice by any individual. Hence, it is suggested to evaluate one’s educational background, length of experience, area of experience, career goals along with one’s passion and natural liking, while choosing the right MBA programme. This would help build a sustainable career in this ever-changing business and societal contexts, resulting in individual professional satisfaction and valuable contribution to the profession.