3 Reasons to Study Change Management in B-School

TOPWAY-MBA 2017-08-11
The speed of technological innovation and the constant state of flux in the stock market can be anxiety-inducing even for the most optimistic business professionals.

That’s one reason why experts say prospective MBA students should target business schools with coursework in change management.

This management approach focuses on transforming companies into more profitable enterprises, experts say, and training in this subject provides guidance on how to revive distressed companies.


Experts say knowledge in this discipline – which is sometimes called "turnaround management" – is applicable within nearly all business sectors. It is particularly relevant for MBA students who plan to become entrepreneurs or who hope to enter rapidly evolving industries such as tech and health care. It's also valuable, experts say, for business careers where an ability to analyze and solve complex business problems quickly is mandatory, such as management consulting and private equity, and it's also helpful for executives who need...
The speed of technological innovation and the constant state of flux in the stock market can be anxiety-inducing even for the most optimistic business professionals.

That’s one reason why experts say prospective MBA students should target business schools with coursework in change management.

This management approach focuses on transforming companies into more profitable enterprises, experts say, and training in this subject provides guidance on how to revive distressed companies.


Experts say knowledge in this discipline – which is sometimes called "turnaround management" – is applicable within nearly all business sectors. It is particularly relevant for MBA students who plan to become entrepreneurs or who hope to enter rapidly evolving industries such as tech and health care. It's also valuable, experts say, for business careers where an ability to analyze and solve complex business problems quickly is mandatory, such as management consulting and private equity, and it's also helpful for executives who need to motivate their employees to implement a business plan.

Some b-schools offer a specialization or concentration in change management, while other b-schools offer an abundance of courses on this topic spread out among several departments. Some b-schools have change management lessons embedded into various strategy courses, experts say.

Regardless of how change management lessons are labeled or categorized at a particular b-school, MBA professors say these lessons are an important asset in an MBA program.

Stacey Kole, a clinical professor of economics and deputy dean of the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, says an excellent business school is one that not only discusses current business trends but also teaches survival strategies that will help students confront unanticipated changes throughout their business careers.
Here are three reasons why experts say prospective MBA students should consider applying to a business school that offers opportunities to learn about change management.


1. You'll relate to your future coworkers better. Change management courses help MBA students understand the psychology of change, including both the motivation of a company's visionaries and the resistance of people who are frightened of a company's transformation, says Anat Lechner, clinical associate professor of management and organizations with New York University's Stern School of Business.

Lechner, who is also Stern's academic adviser for its leadership and change management MBA specialization, says emotional and social awareness is a defining trait of many business luminaries.

She says the interpersonal skills MBA students cultivate in change management courses are just as important for business success as hard-core technical skills, such as company valuation and strategic analysis, because interpersonal skills are essential ingredients in the recipe for inspirational leadership.


2. You'll be ready if a future employer asks for help with a restructure. Karrie Prehm, CEO of the Florida-based Global Regulation Advisers consulting group, says courses in change management help prepare MBA students for the distinct possibility that a future employer will radically change its staff hierarchy.

"At some point or another, MBA students will be in a situation where they are either part of a company that is being acquired, where their firm is acquiring another firm, where their firm or division is in trouble, or in a business that is in need of an operational overhaul," Prehm, a 2011 MBA graduate from Florida Atlantic University, said in an email. "Those MBA students who have the education and training in this type of work will be ready to step in and play an integral role that will change the history of that business. "
3. You'll learn how to adjust business plans based on market conditions. Lisa Barrington, the founder and principal of a workplace strategy company, says that in order for a 21st-century company to thrive, it needs to continuously adapt, and MBA students should be learning how to respond quickly and intelligently to changes in their target industry.

"Technology, laws, and global politics are all changing at a rapid pace, and each has infiltrated the workplace," Barrington, an instructor at the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University, said in an email. "In the past, an organization could get ahead by managing change effectively. Now, if an organization doesn't manage change effectively, it will lose in the marketplace, period."
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