Despite difficult conditions the group is not only the largest but also the most international cohort of students in the program's history.
On April 5, 2016, the WU Executive Academy and the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management invited the new Global Executive MBA class to Vienna's splendid Palais Coburg for a remarkable welcome reception: Despite the difficult economic climate and a decline in the global MBA market, the class is not only the biggest but also the most international cohort of students in the program's history.
Jochen Borenich, Member of the Management Board of Kapsch BusinessCom and himself also an alumnus of the Global Executive MBA, extended a warm welcome to the 48 new participants from 21 countries and offered his congratulations on this extraordinary achievement. In his keynote speech, he talked about his MBA experience, explained how digitalization and new technologies are changing the business environment and outlined what challenges tomorrow's executives will face.
A diverse group of participants
In total, 48 students from 21 countries make up the current class of the WU Executive Academy's double-degree flagship program, which was off to yet another successful start at the beginning of April. Three quarters of the class come from countries other than Austria, including Russia, Hungary, Romania, Brazil, the USA, Qatar, Nigeria and Egypt. On average, the 35 male and 13 female students have seven years of management and more than 14 years of professional experience. Over the next 15 months, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to mutually benefit from the diverse, multicultural experience that they bring to the table.
Prof. Bodo B. Schlegelmilch, who is the Academic Director of the Global Executive MBA since its inception in 1999, knows why the program continues to be in strong demand despite difficult conditions: “When asked about the secret of our success, we could mention the fact that the program is ‘triple-crown’ accredited. We could also highlight our wonderful partnership with the Carlson School of Management, or the great result that the Global Executive MBA has achieved in the FT ranking. However, the real secret of our success lies in the people who make this program unique: great students from all over the world, internationally leading lecturers and a highly motivated team who work tirelessly to make the Global Executive MBA even better.”
Digital disruption—boon or bane?
The keynote speaker of the evening, Jochen Borenich, Member of the Management Board of Kapsch BusinessCom, knows the merits of the Global Executive MBA, which he graduated from in 2005. Apart from sharing his MBA experience with the audience, he outlined the challenges that managers will have to cope with in the future as a result of the ever-increasing pace of digitalization.
“The power of digital disruption, i.e. the impact that digital technologies and new business models have on companies, is enormous: Today, business models, products and the business environment in general are changing faster than ever before. Keep in mind the following: By 2030, the number of jobs available around the world will have decreased by two billion as profiles change in the wake of technological advances; and 10% of the biggest US businesses will exist only virtually.
At Kapsch, we have also been directly affected by these developments. Over the past 120 years, we have had to readapt our business models several times, adjust our products to current market conditions and respond adequately to new trends. It is by doing all this that we have succeeded in not only in becoming the world's number one company in fields such as all-electronic toll collection systems and train radio communication systems, but also in making Kapsch an innovation leader in new areas, e.g. industry 4.0.
In view of the fundamental transformation, there is an urgent need for executives who can identify change early on, understand the underlying dynamics and are able to help their organizations take appropriate action in response—whether this means rethinking entire business models, adapting existing products or discontinuing certain services altogether. In any case, the things you learn during your MBA will be extremely valuable assets in this context.”