The Master of Professional Management with Dr Michal Carrington

By Elena Ksefteris

In 2021, Melbourne Business School is launching the Master of Professional Management, a degree that will open up new opportunities for leaders across sectors. We spoke with Program Director, Dr Michal Carrington, to find out more.

Why has the Master of Professional Management been designed and launched now?

This degree is very much focused on external change in the environments that our organisations operate within – the organisational and managerial competencies that are in demand now and will be going into the future. We know that the demands on managers have expanded incredibly. You can't just manage they way you used to manage, whether it be a team or a project or a store. That's not enough. So, this course has been created and developed based upon the expanding capacities demanded of today's managers, to be high performers and to understand what that actually means. It’s about meeting the needs of organisations and the market's expectations today, but certainly also in the future.

A large part of this is about preparing our students for the continuous disruption we’ve come to expect —in business, government, and all other sectors. Whether it be digital disruption or any other form of disruption, we see this right across the board. It doesn't really matter where you work now, everything changes and there is disruption. Sometimes that disruption is  evolutionary and it happens over a period of time, but sometimes that disruption is revolutionary in that it is very rapid. This new Master of Professional Management is built from the ground up and has been designed to enable managers to be really agile in the dynamic conditions that characterise modern workplaces.

Tell us a bit about the Master of Professional Management and how is it delivered?

The Master of Professional Management develops the core competencies of contemporary management and leadership. Students will come away with a deeper understanding of adaptive and strategic leadership, talent and team management, influencing and engaging stakeholders for strategic outcomes, complex data-enabled decision-making, optimal customer service, front line strategy and much more.

Michal Carrington
Program Director, Dr Michal Carrington

The program – from a content point of view – is 100% online and will be a combination of what we call synchronous and asynchronous work. Asynchronous refers to work that you can do it in your own time when it suits you, on a week-by-week basis. Every week there will be new topics, and you'll be working on that, learning in your own time, and some of that content will be audio visual. It might be an animation, it might be a filmed interview, or more traditional readings. We'll also be checking in with the students every week, whether it be via an online blog or  in person webinars, combined with interactive elements to ensure that your learning is on-track.

We’ll also be combining these ‘in your own time’ elements with synchronous learning, which means it's actually live. It might be a live webinar with the student cohort, for example discussing a case study, or a one-on-one with individual students.

2020 has been a year that’s made us rethink the way we work and tackle enormous challenges. What other kind of challenges do you think managers will face in the future?

One of the key challenges facing managers today and even more-so in the future is around ethics and sustainability. So, yes, we have a specific subject in the course focused on sustainable management and leadership, and we also integrate ethics and sustainability right across all of the subjects, because no matter what you do in workplace today, you need to ensure you're doing it in a way that's responsible.

Another key challenge facing managers and the organisations that they work in is the rapidly expanding digitalisation and automation of work through AI. So again, this is a theme that you'll see right across the subjects in this new course, because we as managers need to understand what is happening, , what the trends and disruptions are, and also how to manage them. Because not all automation, not all digitalisation will present opportunities for your organisation. There are upsides, but there are also downsides. So as managers, we need to understand how are we going to create value for our organisation through digitalisation, big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and at the same time, how value can be destroyed in the organisation through those technologies. We have built-in these concepts throughout the course.

Another area that we've integrated into this course is focused on leadership and strategy. Managers just can't be managers anymore. We have to be able to lead. We have to lead change. We have to manage our teams in such a way that they're dealing with that change and being really agile. So, there is an element of leadership and strategy within the course as well.

The Master of Professional Management focuses on multi-disciplinary approaches to management and leadership, is applicable across all industries, and uses real life case studies. Graduates develop an advanced knowledge of core aspects of modern management and leadership in complex and changing organisational and industry environments.

Who is the course designed for?

We’ve designed the course with a broad appeal in mind, for people who work in a for-profit business, in a small or large-scale industry, for managers and professionals working in government organisations or an NGO, right through to entrepreneurs who are building their own business.

This is a professional course. It's specifically for people who are either currently working in a managerial/professional capacity in industry or maybe taking a career break. The course is designed to meet the needs of those people, and their very, very busy lives.

The course requires a minimum of three years professional or managerial experience. We anticipate having a student cohort where we will see anything from 3 to 23 years’ worth of managerial and professional experience. It's targeted at people who want to up their capacity and become high performance managers and leaders in their organisation, no matter what kind of organisation they're in.

People who already have experience in, let's say, accounting or management finance, or analytics, we give advanced standing. They don't have to do those business foundation subjects if they already have those competencies.

On the other hand, if there’s someone who works in the health sector or policing, they may not actually have that business capacity or that understanding of markets and economies, and that's absolutely fine too. Because we've got these foundational subjects to really build up that understanding under their belt before they move into the core subjects.

That diversity will bring an enriched experience to the course. There will be opportunities, lots of opportunities, to network and interact with others, if you want to.

Lastly, what makes this degree different from others in the marketplace, like an MBA, for example?

What makes this course different is that we are focusing on high performance management and leadership, with a future orientation, no matter what industry or sector you work in. Our perspective is very broad. An MBA is commercially orientated, focused on people working in for-profit business organisations, and we certainly encapsulate that in the Master of Professional Management, but this course encompasses management and leadership more broadly. We will appeal to people right across the board, whether they're in commercial business, government, an NGO, or working for themselves. This course is focused on high performance management and agile leadership – across all sectors.