For decades, management educators supported Competency-based Management Education (CBME). This approach in learning stimulates ‘Lateral development’ of students as it fosters the acquisition of knowledge and competence that are subject-specific (Spence & McDonald, 2015). Consequentially, CBME is only successful in increasing the students’ current perceptions and task-performance. In the article, the authors argue that CBME is necessary but not sufficient to develop future leaders in the current complex world.

There is a need to devise a curriculum that stimulates students’ vertical development. Contrary to CBME, experiential education fosters vertical development. This development involves one’s full integration of the critical qualities of one level of mental complexity before evolving, maturing, or transitioning to the next and higher level of mental complexity (Spence & MacDonald, 2015). Whereas there are scholars who justify the use of CBME as a method for imparting relevant job-related knowledge and skills, the authors argue that this educational approach does not achieve the development of future leaders who can effectively manage and cope with the current changes in the modern world.

Vertical development helps students transform their views on reality. This is because students can test, rethink, expand, and deepen their assumptions so as to develop and accommodate multiple perspectives (Spence & McDonald, 2015). In the article, the authors review lateral and vertical development as the theoretical constructs guiding their study. The study involves 16 senior-level undergraduate students registered in a sports management program in a Canadian university (Spence & Macdonald, 2015). Through the study, the authors build their argument that by adopting experiential education, management educators can develop a curriculum where lateral and vertical developments can be achieved. Through this curriculum development, students will be equipped to manage complex problems and relationships in the current environment.