What kind of leader do you aspire to be?

The way we do business is changing: the digital revolution is disrupting long-established business models.This is why, during 2018, a World Economic Forum team explored a new leadership paradigm “to help leaders navigate today’s disruption to influence tomorrow’s success”.

A Leadership Transformation Map resulted from the project, which puts forward six key elements of leadership essential in the fourth industrial revolution: responsibility and accountability, entrepreneurial leadership, systems leadership, shaping society, adaptive leadership and technology leadership.

Wits Business School (WBS) has long recognised that strong, effective leadership — essential for an organisation to thrive in the changing business landscape — must necessarily include a level of thinking outside the confines of driving profit and shareholder value. The school has put critical thinking, sustainability and entrepreneurial action (within our African context) at the core of its curriculum.

In addition, WBS has placed renewed emphasis on individual leadership development.To facilitate this, the school has moved away from the lengthy thesis, traditionally part of any master’s degree, and has divided the independent study component of the programme into two parts:a shorter research report or project, and a Leadership Quest.

“We have a model that not only develops knowledge in the key areas of business but also ensures that the students develop their own leadership capabilities.We are one of the few business schools that has a dedicated project which involves research, self-reflection and an action plan to help MBAs develop great leadership skills,” says Professor Imhotep Alagidede, academic director at WBS.

The Leadership Quest requires the student to, firstly, research the topic of effective leadership to help crystalise in their minds the kind of leader they wish to become.Secondly, it challenges the student to explore, through the literature, how to bring about change in their own behaviour and habits to become the best leaders they are capable of becoming.

As a generalist degree, the Wits MBA teaches both “hard” and “soft” business skills. Core modules such as financial accounting, investment decisions, marketing, strategy and economics still take centre stage, but are taught alongside the likes of collaboration, critical thinking and effective communication.

“These leadership traits are critical to guiding any successful business, especially in a context where organisations are having to tackle the challenges associated with digital transformation and lead their teams through uncharted territory,” says Alagidede.

Wits Business School offers three main study formats for its MBA, providing as much flexibility as possible for working professionals:part-time weekday evenings, part-time Saturdays and a block-release programme.

Applications for the January 2020 intake are now open. For more information, visit www.wbs.ac.za

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