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WU’s new Master’s Program on the Digital Economy

04/07/2020

The new program combines IT expertise with a well-founded management education. Applications will be accepted starting in September 2020.

Even since before the coronavirus crisis, digitalization has rapidly been making inroads into people’s lives and all business sectors, and is subject to continuous further development. Companies are faced with the major challenge of constantly staying up-to-date, or ideally even being a step ahead of the competition. To be able to take advantage of the opportunities this digital transformation offers for businesses and society, it is necessary to have a profound understanding of not only the changes to business conditions and business models caused by digitalization but also the technology itself, with all its possibilities and developments.

As Austria’s only business school and one of the world’s leading universities, WU has already taken important steps towards digitalization: The Rector’s Council now includes a Vice-Rector for Infrastructure and Digitalization, and WU is home to the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics, a unique institution worldwide. Eight new professorships with a focus on digitalization are currently in the recruiting phase, 5 of which will take up their research and teaching activities in the winter semester. WU has been working on establishing content like “Data Science” and “Digital Marketing” in its bachelor’s programs over the last few years, and this master’s program is the next logical step. The program will provide students with the skills needed to initiate, design, and implement digital innovations in organizations or to found their own digital companies.

Learning in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting

The digital revolution has forced companies to rethink their business models. The implementation of digital processes and innovations is key to remaining relevant on the market. As a result, demand for highly qualified experts in the field of digital business models is high both in Austria and abroad. The Master’s Program on the Digital Economy combines aspects from business administration, economics, social sciences, and law. Students learn both technical and management skills, an ideal combination for preparing students for their future digital careers. WU Professor Axel Polleres, the program’s academic director, explains, “Managers often lack a profound understanding of digital technologies, while IT experts often don’t know enough about the dynamics of business. This is where the new master’s program comes in: It will be training a new generation of IT-savvy thought leaders, ready to found the companies of tomorrow or transform existing ones.” The program will offer three complementary specializations – Information Systems; Digital Strategy, Marketing, and Transformation; and Digital Law and Economics – giving students the opportunity to advance their expertise in one of these areas.

Input from the business community

One particular asset of the Master’s Program on the Digital Economy is that students also learn using practice-based examples. “We asked ourselves the question of how to best prepare future decision-makers for the opportunities and challenges presented by the digital transformation, and we realized that we’d need input from the business community. This is why one of the main focus areas of the master’s program is applying the knowledge learned to real-life projects conducted in cooperation with partners from the business community, the public sector, and civil society. The second year of the program includes an Industry Lab, where students work on specific questions from partner organizations using both practice-based and academic approaches,” says WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger.

Further information on the Master’s Program on the Digital Economy: wu.at/digecon

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