What are interdisciplinary skills?

Many students enter master’s programs to learn specific skills or trades. However, not all people have set jobs in mind. In fact, the ability to adapt and evolve depending on the job market is an especially wise way to future-proof your career. As such, interdisciplinary studies are increasingly prioritized -- both by students and by their future employers.

“Interdisciplinary” is one of 21st-century academia’s biggest buzzwords. While it’s not a new concept, its importance has been increasingly recognized in recent years. Inside Higher Ed says, “Interdisciplinary can mean a plethora of things to many different people; however, a simplified definition is the crossing of two or more traditional fields of study.”

Interdisciplinary methods have huge benefits in the workforce too. Today’s employers prize a breadth and depth of interdisciplinary skills, including collaboration, communication, research, flexibility, interpersonal skills, and more.

The interdisciplinary imperative

The modern workplace is changing; it follows that the workforce must change, too. Interdisciplinary skills are considered one of the essential  attributes for the employees of today and tomorrow. In short, an interdisciplinary education reflects the real world in a way that a course of study in a single discipline cannot.

Research published in the academic journal Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics asserts, "Real world problems rarely arise within orderly disciplinary categories, and neither do their solutions". To better connect theory and content with application, and better prepare students for the real world of the 21st century, universities are developing interdisciplinary approaches to degree programs. Since knowledge is not acquired in isolation, interdisciplinary education is an important tool in creating new ways of thinking and helping to connect fragmented knowledge in a coherent way."

A Pacific Standard article on the future of work, meanwhile, identifies four areas of expertise which will be necessary in tomorrow’s workforce: deep knowledge; a facility with technology; people skills; and the “ability to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving and work in interdisciplinary, cross-functional teams.”

The results of an interdisciplinary approach are widely beneficial. “When students can understand and make connections across a diverse array of knowledge and skills, they embark on a path to more rewarding lives and employment opportunities,” concludes an article published in Issues in Science and Technology.

Gain an interdisciplinary edge

The mandate is clear for aspiring future leaders looking to position themselves for success in the digital media space: interdisciplinary training can be a game-changer. One program perfect for learning such skills is the cutting-edge Management and Digital Technologies (MMT) master’s degree, jointly offered by the Munich School of Management and the Institute for Informatics, both at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich). The M.Sc. dives deep into entrepreneurial questions related to the management and application of digital technologies in a plethora of industries.

Highly specialized and inherently interdisciplinary, the four-semester, English-taught MMT brings together talented students from Europe and all over the world, with areas of focus including management, digital technologies, and digital transformation. Ideal for students with academic backgrounds in business and computer science, the program offers the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at Germany’s top university in a city with an exceptional quality of life. Taught by leading scientists and researchers in the field with plenty of chances to collaborate with corporate partners, the MMT is not just future-oriented, but also boasts a distinct entrepreneurial orientation.

Also, there are only minimal administrative fees for entering the program, while tuition fees do not apply to the MMT program participants thanks to generous funding of the project.

But why take our word for it when you can hear it from the students and alumni themselves? MMT alumnus Oskar Hargedahl of Sweden, now an Associate at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), says, “I chose the MMT program because of the innovative blend between management and IT. Taking courses within both fields and combining key competencies within both business and IT gives me great confidence to be able to tackle challenges in the modern business world. [...] Moreover, the small class-size was important in my choice given the higher probability of a personal touch and tighter connection with the great professors of the school and program.”

Hargedahl also highlights the advantage of MMT’s extraordinary location. “Studying at LMU in general further enticed me, given its great reputation and connections within the rich business world of Bavaria. Studying in a city with over 115,000 students, including students from all over the world, is a great experience -- not just in regard to the development of my professional skills but also as a great possibility to build new friendships,” he adds.

Alumna Katrin Hagner of Germany emphasizes the importance of the MMT’s focus on real-world learning. “A lot of [MMT] courses will have a practical focus and some will be held in close cooperation with well-known companies. This will allow me to immediately apply the theoretical content of the lectures to real work scenarios,” she explains.

Technology is driving the future and transforming basically every industry, so taking an interdisciplinary approach to it is pivotal. The right skills -- acquired and honed in the right master’s degree program -- can position aspiring leaders in management and technology to play crucial roles in the digital transformation. Apply for the MMT by May 15th if you’re ready to take a giant step toward the career of your dreams!

Article written in association with LMU Munich.