CDTM – Educating the Innovators of Tomorrow

Did you know? The Munich Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM), a joint institution of the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, was the academic founding partner of the Future of Leadership Initiative. In 2013, the FLI founders, Sebastian Morgner and Robert Wreschniok, approached the CDTM management team to discuss a collaboration. The idea: In times of continuous digital disruption, young talents cannot only learn from the experiences of senior executives but also bring unique knowledge and ideas to the table. For instance, their deep understanding and effortless handling of technologies are key assets for any organization in the digital era. Thus, there needs to be a space for meaningful interactions between current and future leaders to foster mutual learning and inspiration. 

Ever since CDTM students and Ph.D. researchers are invited to participate in all formats of the annual FLI Grand Challenge (topic 2019: “Leadership and the Rise of Intelligent Machines”). Further, they regularly support the FLI research by conducting interviews with global thought leaders, such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in 2013. 

Students and researchers from CDTM meet Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales in 2013

The CDTM: Center for Digital Technology and Management

The entrance area, passed almost every day by the students, welcomes you in a bright green. The Center for Digital Technology and Management was founded in 1998. The basic concept developed by several professors from the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, who have seen a similar concept at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during a trip through the US. Since then, the CDTM produces primarily one thing: successful innovators and founders. The question is, what does the CDTM teach since 20 years and what makes it so different from all other programs?

Teaching at eye level

Students who are willing to think outside the box and leave the comforts of their subject have the chance to apply for the interdisciplinary add-on study program “Technology Management” at the Munich Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM). The focal point lies in trend research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Instead of simply sitting in lectures, we work in interdisciplinary teams, hands-on with project partners from all industries and companies of all sizes such as BMW, Stylight, and SIEMENS. The goal? A global network full of motivated as well as talented professionals and founders.

Innovation and digital technologies are always at the core. During the three core courses Trend Seminar, Managing Product Development (MPD) and Entrepreneurship Laboratory (eLab) which as a whole represent the typical innovation cycle, the students deal with the latest technologies and trends. Throughout the courses, the students are supported and guided by doctoral candidates, who are managing the CDTM as a team. Only 25 students are accepted each semester, to maintain an intimate atmosphere with close mentoring at eye level – one of the recipes for success at the CDTM. Products originating from the MPD are for example Augmented Reality apps for meetings or a 3D-camera-based navigation aid for blind people.  Also, during one of the various electives, which are offered at the CDTM from students to students they learn how to handle new technologies: the elective autonomous drones teaches them in one week how to program a drone in order to be able to autonomously fly.

CDTM students present their prototype to a public audience

Leaders teaching leadership

Leadership and entrepreneurship are further focal points of the program. Not only a variety of workshops such as organizational success, being held by the four Stylight founders as well as CDTM alumni, is supposed to prepare the students for this role. But especially to adapt the strategies of the guest speakers such as Martin Ott, managing director of Facebook in Europe. The embedding of the leadership idea is also shown by the student initiatives, for instance, the Impact Series, which supports students having a refugee background at schools in Munich with their application for their future job.

The recipe for success

The combination of teaching at eye level to as well as the insight into the experience and expertise of professionals distinguishes the add-on study program at the CDTM. Particularly important is one thing: from the first day on the students at the CDTM conjointly take on responsibility, instead of simply receiving information. This fosters the student’s personality of being proactive and contributes to the fact that the CDTM represents since 20 years a constantly growing network.

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