International Conference Contribution: The MBS Social Service Projects to Develop Management Skills

Prof. Dr. Gabriella Maraz (left)

The workplace of the future will require different skills than in the past, but how could universities prepare their students for it? Developing skills such as Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Emotional Intelligence, Judgement, and Decision Making have to draw on other formats than traditional lectures and seminars.

MBS professors Gabriella Maraz (left on the picture above) and Stefan Baldi presented the MBS Social Service Project as a tool to develop these skills at the 6th Higher Education Institution Conference “Quality & Governance in Higher Education: Opening New Frontiers”.

The conference in Dubrovnik was organized by the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM), the first AACSB accredited Business School in Croatia, in cooperation with the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE).

HEIC 2018

The Social Service Projects is a mandatory course of the Munich Business School Bachelor International Business program. Students have to organize a charity project in groups, find a partner organization, get involved with beneficiaries of their project, and finally evaluate and present their experiences in a written report and in a group presentation.

MBS professors have evaluated the written reports of 56 projects involving 307 students from 2012 to 2018 regarding the reflection of students on their project and the skills acquired. The authors matched the inherent challenges of the project work with the skills to be acquired for future management jobs.

The fact that students are free to choose their social project and their partners proves to be the major asset of this course as it makes the projects become truly “their” projects. This freedom and complexity may seem counterintuitive for a freshman course, where educators often choose to present pre-structured problems and simplified cases to students. It is this freedom in connection with real projects, which deal with people in unfamiliar social realities, that particularly challenges and trains the skills of the future. A prerequisite for this is close and personal mentoring of the students, which can be ensured in the special learning environment of Munich Business School.