Soon after the coronavirus began spreading and almost the entire world entered a lockdown, the first voices began to promote the concept that we can and should see this crisis as an opportunity.

This applies to societies and companies alike – and also in an educational context. It should be an opportunity to question ourselves and find ways to invest in our own abilities. Why? Because the pandemic makes us aware of what many companies still need: leaders who can deal with crises and who can successfully and responsibly shape the digital transformation through sound knowledge of management and technology. Professor Claudia Peus, Senior Vice President Talent Management and Diversity, Founding Director of the TUM Institute for Life Long Learning and Professor of Research and Science Management at TUM School of Management, explained to us how the Technical University of Munich (TUM) trains leaders like this.

Leadership is particularly influential in times of crisis. Followers increasingly look to their leaders for direction and form their long-term commitment to the organisations,” explains Peus. Moreover, crises can also prove to be an opportunity for managers to (re)position their organisations, develop new business models, and exploit innovative potential. “On the other hand, bad management decisions can lead to organisational demise and bankruptcy more quickly than under normal circumstances.

In short, the way the crisis is handled will determine triumph or defeat, growth or recession in the aftermath. And the necessary knowledge about how to use the tools of the hour usually ensures that the curve at the end points upward. Educating managers and executives about such possibilities and imparting the corresponding knowledge is the mission of the TUM.

TUM School of Management – the right partner in the crisis

The TUM School of Management has been preparing its participants in management programmes to best handle these challenges as they have gotten insights into the latest technological developments, like robotics and machine learning, and experienced new technological advances, such as VR, first-hand,” explains Peus.

I think among the most valuable take-aways is the ability to understand the latest technological developments and their impact on one’s business, the ability to critically judge (scientific) information, and – maybe most importantly – the theories, values, and practical tools to lead effectively even in crisis,” Peus points out. In the crisis caused by the coronavirus, which left many organisations confronted with remote work almost overnight, the promises and challenges of digital transformation have become more real than ever. Participants in past Executive Education Programmes are now able to accompany and lead this transformation.

The right Executive MBA for everyone

Many of the skills that companies are increasingly demanding right now are anchored in the competence profiles of our courses. The part-time Executive MBAs, which focus on digitalisation, change management, and personal leadership, form the core of all Executive Education Programmes at the TUM School of Management.

Change management and self-confident leadership are important building blocks for getting organisations through a crisis. An Executive MBA for Executives and Managers is dedicated to these topics and focuses on personal development. This creates the prerequisites for successfully positioning oneself as a thought leader in companies and leading organisations through challenges such as the current crisis.

We are in the middle of a far-reaching digital transformation, which was accelerated by the pandemic. It has never been more important for managers to be able to evaluate digital trends and developments and drive transformation. An Executive MBA in Business & IT, with the interface between IT and management, prepares participants precisely for this.

Think new, think big: every organisation – whether a large company or a small start-up – needs visionaries and innovators in order to develop continuously. The current crisis has shown how quickly events can change and how important it is to have people in an organisation who think outside the box and drive products and services forward. An Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation trains solution-oriented skills and the entrepreneurial understanding of students.

During these times, the Executive Education at TUM was also able to prove that change management and digitalisation are not only taught, but lived. It reacted quickly to the special circumstances and virtually adapted the entire teaching programme and network events. “We have efficiently adapted our courses and taken new measures to support our students and to guarantee that this unusual situation does not affect the excellence of our programmes,” assures Peus. As soon as the regulations of health authorities, state and country allow it, the courses will be offered again as on-site formats.