For an industry-specific academic program developing top-level management, the most important contribution to success is to stay relevant and current, keeping up with the swirl of issues flashing on the dashboard.
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It is therefore a priority for us to keep abreast of the present, and likely future, challenges facing the industry, and to identify and ensure the inclusion of the best people in our courses. In the past few years, and now at an accelerating pace, the industry has experienced a huge number of changes: new environmental regulations, decarbonization and new fuel combinations, the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda, cyber security, geopolitics, and pandemic conditions obliging the radical revamp of trade routes and patterns, digitalization, sustainability, energy markets, the need for more perceptive risk management, data innovation including the helter-skelter advance of the two-edged sword of Artificial Intelligence, technical development of vessels, etc).
With all these factors complicating the maritime and transport scene, it might be tempting to despair of keeping up. In fact, everyone who signs up for the Blue MBA tells us that the many variables are what make theirs the most exciting profession in the world, and they enjoy navigating each fresh turn of the elements in the above list. For these men and women are among those who recognize that these considerations are not “single issues” but are interwoven, which posits the dramatic need for the kind of holistic approach that the Blue MBA sets out to offer. Astute decision-makers at all levels can benefit from such an acute upskilling that provides the industry with competent, specialist but at the same time all-round talent.
By its very nature, this globally focused industry needs people with a global outlook in order to survive. The Blue MBA is dedicated to grounding its participants with the tools to handle capably the interactions across each individual business and overall strategic operations to enable their organizations to grow faster, realize market opportunities, and increase yields. Underpinning this, it is essential to transform their knowledge about maritime practice, corporate governance, finance, value creation, and law into a coherent whole.
A rush for green investments has made ESG into a critical target for regulators – and therefore one of the important areas of knowledge on which the Blue MBA is equipping its adherents. Increasingly detailed disclosures are required, and there is pressure for enforcement action against companies that mislead investors by so-called “greenwashing.” It is easy at present to label products as sustainable and contributing to “an environmental or social objective”, but more and more data is being required on sustainability policies and plans. That data will have to provide measurable results, and if these prove their worth, they will add huge value to the supply chain.
The learning curve with ESG is a fine line: more lawsuits are being lodged against companies and their boards, as the European Union, among others, insists on more transparency and increased reporting. Environmental and climate pressure groups, activist investors, and even company employees are ready to launch litigation against those who misrepresent ESG credentials or achievements or fail to address acceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions and probity in labor and human rights standards, for example.
We are clear that cyber risk is another key responsibility for board members and company officers, with the ramifications much wider than an attack on the organization’s systems – a company’s entire eco-structure can easily be at stake.
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The Blue MBA, which is perceived by the industry’s key stakeholders as the leading program providing tools and skills to tackle industry issues like these is much sought after. We translate these challenges into our academic program which we have managed to keep relevant and current by aligning ourselves with the industry’s needs. It is no surprise that our participants are clear that the program is the most effective step to acquire the right competencies to build an upwards career path, and many of our men and women have achieved considerable advances in their sectors.
Our enhanced reputation has given us the opportunity to benefit from word of mouth, where 75% of our applicants are being recommended by their senior management and contemporaries to enroll in the Blue MBA as a vital career move. We have, therefore, seen a steady increase in applications and have had to raise the bar and be more selective in our admissions policy. For our last intake 2021 we admitted 50 participants from 23 nationalities, the largest number for an MBA class ever in the history of Copenhagen Business School, and with an excellent diversity (22.5% female, 80% international, all the segments of the industry).
From the communications we have with the stakeholders and potential participants, we expect a similar number, caliber, and diversity of candidates ready for the class starting in September 2023. Many companies are grooming their next generation of decision-makers by encouraging them to benefit from the Blue MBA where they can get the right skills to deal with the volatilities that this global industry is experiencing. This is the reason we have grown every year, and we confidently expect this growth to continue.
To summarise: the challenges confronting the industry have helped it to acknowledge the need for advancing the skills of their top management to levels of performance much ahead of the average, and that in turn has made our Blue MBA which provides these skills ever more in demand.
This article is sponsored by the Blue MBA at Copenhagen Business School. For more information about The Blue MBA, please visit cbs.dk/bluemba or write directly to Irene Rosberg, Blue MBA Programme Director at [email protected]
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Irene Rosberg, Blue MBA Programme Director
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of OOLP.