Or an art.
I was in engineering at UBC when I discovered that management was much more appealing to me than engineering. I didn’t ever enjoy the study of vector analysis or rock mechanics and I have zero mechanical aptitude, but I was hooked immediately after taking two optional courses – Economics 101 and Psychology 100.
That’s what management is all about! Both the science and the art.
After two years working as an engineer, I went back to school for my MBA at McGill. They attracted me by their scientific approach to management with courses on operations management, computer science, finance and economics, with a heavy dose of behavioural science. All the knowledge, tools and tactics I would need to become a successful manager, maybe even a future CEO of Alcan Aluminum, where I worked immediately after graduation. However, I received an even better education in the subject of management and corporate leadership from then President of Alcan and the most effective CEO I’ve ever known, David Culver.
But the debate continues – is it science or an art?
Henry Mintzberg argues that management is a craft and expecting to teach it to MBA students without experience is like trying to teach psychology to someone who has never met a real person.
My argument is that it’s a balancing act and fits the definition of any kind of expertise – a combination of sufficient knowledge and experience with a dedication to continuous learning and self-improvement.
Are you an expert manager?
Be better. Do better.
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
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