Seeking the transformation of tertiary and postgraduate training Part 2

The current managers of organizations that have a presence in several countries are driving a change with their global experience and technological knowledge, that is, they are changing the world. Rapid innovation, entrepreneurial endeavors, and advances in marketing technology create an urgent need for new management skills and practices.

Hence, many business schools have taken due notice (others not so much) and have made an effort to make transformations oriented to this new trend, such as the case of some masters who have turned decisively to management, with an impact on Global Economic Transformation & Technology. The purpose is to search for managerial talents that are in high demand by companies, and that meet the needs of sustainable development and face the challenge of disruptive change caused by advances in information and technology. Managers who are mentally in this new technological wave that has started with great speed in the post-Covid-19 stage.


That’s why programs that offer direct access to the cities, communities and concepts that are transforming the business world will be on the preference list of candidates who know they need to incorporate these advances in both knowledge and applications into everyday life, which is mutually beneficial for organizations and resumes of these candidates in the fields of consulting, business development and innovation management. All these aspects in turn, with a tinge of international experience, opening the minds of candidates to global business transformations driven by current technological advances. It’s about cultivating global thinking and honing critical, conceptual, and innovative problem-solving skills that affect today’s organizations in whatever sector of the economy they operate in.

Regarding the Modules and the structure

The purpose is pursued (it is at least what schools should take care of at this time) of educating and training in digital transformation from a multiple perspective, integrating technological, social and economic aspects. This type of program, which responds to the need of today’s digital economy and society, also contains knowledge components that delve into eminently human aspects, such as emotional intelligence, cognitive psychology and transformational leadership.

But all the programs that we have consulted from OUR EDITORIAL STAFF, to a greater or lesser extent, include knowledge of big data, cybersecurity or cloud computing, provided directly by renowned digital companies such as Amazon or Alibaba, taking into account that there are business schools that they have reached very important agreements with leading technology companies in the community in which they operate.

You have to go (from business schools) to flexible and individual learning through the application of a systematic hybrid learning scheme, which involves face-to-face part on the respective campus and part online. Especially in e-learning will work on cases, reflect on readings, participate in online discussions and attend a very important participation in exercises and group projects.


Changes in career direction

Any manager who is leading digitalization in any international organization must be very exquisite in preparing to lead companies that are, to a greater or lesser extent, in digital transformation processes. As a consultant and or manager you will have to be able to hold the first position to take companies to the next level (digitized).

All this change that we are witnessing encompasses a series of spaces for the knowledge and application of these as indicated below and of which the administrators and academic advisers of the business schools should take into account:

1st) Technology managers and executives seeking to understand the technologies that drive digital transformation and how to implement them to drive digital transformation in their organization.

  1. b) Functional managers in all industries who seek to master different areas of transformation and implement a strategy within their function or organization.
  2. d) Consultants seeking to understand the latest technologies driving digital transformation and create an IT strategy and technology roadmap to help their clients achieve better results.

Learning objectives

Business schools must be very clear about the objectives of the new programs that cover this market reality:

  1. a) Know the digital technologies used in digital transformation projects.
  2. b) Explore the sources of value of digital transformations for companies.
  3. c) Consider privacy and security challenges in digital transformations.
  4. d) Evaluate tools, technologies, digital processes and their uses.
  5. e) Evaluate the use of digital solutions for business problems.
  6. f) Suggest new business solutions that are enabled by advances in digital technologies.
  7. g) Apply the principles of digital transformation to real-world business problems.
  8. h) Develop a framework for digital transformation within your organization.
  9. i) Propose digital innovations that build on existing business infrastructure.
  10. j) Recommend appropriate approaches to infrastructure, data governance and change management to support digital transformations.

What these managers and consultants are supposed to learn

Making an orderly classification in terms of learning phases, we see that there are certain common aspects in the programs to which we have had access, so we could detail as follows:

– Scope of digital transformation: which includes knowledge modules on the cloud and mobile devices, the Internet of things, Big Data analysis, automation and Artificial Intelligence and ending with FinTech and Blockchain.

– Regarding the implementation phase of a digital transformation, the modules cover what are the sources of value in a digital world, the framework for implementing a digital transformation, and privacy and security considerations.

Incorporate change without exceptions

Social, technological and geopolitical changes have caused business schools to reconceptualize business as a discipline both academic and practical implementation and the way in which the curriculum is taught.

Innovations in technology, geopolitics, millennials, employers, the financial crisis, the Internet, are all factors that have forced business schools to constantly change their programs and processes.

At the forefront of the curricula you can see how time is spent on soft skills training, the use of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and other cutting edge technologies. Issues such as homogeneity, encounter with diversity and gender equity are also addressed.

Business schools have endured harsh criticism in the past, and MBA programs have been labeled elitist, hedonistic, and male-dominated retreats, reserved only for big bankers and management consultants from big organizations.

In reality, business schools are making concerted efforts to expand access to education, sometimes in opposition to the policy of their home country.

For schools, the challenge is to lead change. The first stage in achieving that position is knowing what is going on around you.


Here are five ways business schools are changing:

1º) Prepare students for jobs that do not exist

According to McKinsey, a third of jobs globally could be automated by 2030. In this climate, business schools are taking unique approaches to honing students’ social skills, such as communication and emotional intelligence, to help them manage technological disruption and the pace of change.

At the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, staff use general therapy techniques in their social skills training. At Lancaster University in the UK, MBA students are taught mindfulness in a year-long Mindful Manager module, which includes team-building trips to the nearby Lake District.

The objective of both schools is to create more aware and responsible leaders, capable of making great decisions in business with their potential impact on people and multiple stakeholders in everything related to the better knowledge and application of mindfulness. For Lancaster, mindfulness is more than just a method of dealing with stress, it helps students develop better resilience, awareness, and leadership skills that will help them manage change in a volatile business environment.

This changing business environment also means a greater emphasis on lifelong learning, one of the four defining leadership principles at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Haas, explains Peter Johnson, assistant dean of the school’s full-time MBA, offers online classes for alumni that cover “hot topic” areas like blockchain and data analytics.

“We’ve all read the studies that say that half of the jobs in 15 years are things that don’t exist,” says Johnson. “So how do you help people prepare for those changes and take advantage of them? That is something our faculty is actively looking to address”.

2º) The what, where, when and how

In an interview for the BusinessBecause podcast series, The Business School Question, Tim Mescon, AACSB Executive Vice President and EMEA Region Director, was asked, “What has had the biggest impact on business education in the last 30 years?

His answer: technology. Technology, Mescon says, has created a market for students that “want it where they want it, when they want it, and how they want it.”

Online learning is changing where and when students learn. Between 2011 and 2016, the percentage of AACSB-accredited business schools offering 100 percent online degree programs increased from 25 to 37 percent. Research from the Executive MBA Council shows that 52 percent of EMBAs now include a distance learning component.

Technology is changing what students learn. Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management has started teaching its MBA students the Python programming language. It is also training students to deal with the side effects of social media, such as how to respond to negative news online. “It’s about empowering students to deal with the consequences of new technologies,” says Francesco Daveri, director of Bocconi’s full-time MBA.

At the NEOMA Business School in France, the way students are taught is also changing. In marketing simulations, students use virtual reality headsets to analyze the setup of a rebuilt retail store.

MIT has announced a billion dollar investment to create a new computer science and artificial intelligence university. David Schmittlein, dean of MIT Sloan, says the investment will have a welcome side effect in terms of how students learn about new technology.

“He’s already bringing AI challenged organizations to MIT for student projects. Inter-campus collaborations with informatics also allow our faculty to offer courses in artificial intelligence and big data that would not otherwise be available”.

3º) Different students, different programs

Peter Johnson spent six years away from Berkeley Haas between 2010 and 2016, leaving MBA admissions before returning as vice dean. Upon his return, he saw that the students in the program had changed.

“It was no longer just the financiers or consultants, but people focused on food technology, financial technology and social impact.”

In 2017, more than 50 percent of MIT Sloan MBA graduates accepted a job at a company where they were the only MIT hires; many joined fast-growing tech startups. At Haas, Johnson says that about half of the school’s MBA students will change their career direction at least once during the program.

The changing career motivations of students and the demand for more personalized programs are driving business schools to innovate. Johnson says many schools are considering a new type of “sandwich MBA program,” whereby students take the first part of the MBA immediately after graduation, go out to work for a couple of years, and then come back to finish their degree.

Additionally, 38 percent of prospective students now prefer specialized master’s programs. Jean-Philippe Ammeux, dean of the French IESEG School of Management, has overseen the school’s growth from 600 students from 2,000 to 5,500 today. IESEG’s 10 specialized master’s programs each receive three to four applications for each seat in the class.

Schmittlein at MIT Sloan talks about a “tsunami of interest.” While Sloan’s full-time MBA receives 10 applications for each seat in the class, its Master of Business Analytics receives 20.

“There has never been a better time for the demand for management education, but what that means for people is increasingly personalized,” explains Schmittlein. “That is detrimental to the two-year MBA, but that is not a bad thing. It is only a smaller fraction of what management education is for people and what it should be”.

4º) Globalization

Today’s business education extends beyond the MBA and American Ivy League campuses. IESEG, for example, has 280 partner institutions worldwide and offers 30 dual degree programs. It has offices in China, India and Latin America. “We want to cover the planet,” says Ammeux. “We want more and more [associations] to grow.”

Schmittlein, at MIT Sloan, says he is planning greater engagement with business schools in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Asia’s rise as an economic powerhouse and global business hub also impacts student careers. Bocconi’s MBA exchange program, explains Francesco Daveri, focuses on the professional goals of students. “It is not like an Erasmus. Students see China and the Far East as places to go and look for work”.

That’s something that Li Wei, MBA director at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) in Beijing, is well aware. CKGSB is unique in China as a private business school, free from government control (although Alibaba, the Chinese internet giant, has just launched its own business school).

“China has become a world economic center,” says Li Wei. “Whatever you do, wherever you are, understanding China has become a prerequisite for doing global business”.


5º) Companies as a force for good

Ethics, sustainability, social responsibility. These principles are now embedded in business school curricula. Students and employers are waiting for it. Accrediting organizations require it.

Increasingly, since the financial crisis, business schools have a positive impact on society and the environment.

Across the United States, schools offer programs for veterans struggling to find employment after leaving the military. The Veterans Master of Business at USC Marshall, for example, is designed to help military personnel use their transferable skills to transition to civilian life and make an impact. Various initiatives, many at the government level, have helped reduce veteran unemployment to 3.7 percent.

In Bocconi, there are plans, through the student-run Ethica Club, to make the school plastic-free. The Ethica Club at Bocconi was launched to promote discussions related to social responsibility and ethics among students. Participating students connect, fundraise, and volunteer for local nonprofits, preparing them for impactful careers after graduation.

The founder of IESEG was an ethicist. Social impact, says Ammeux, is in the very DNA of the school. The goal, by 2025, is to become an “international center that empowers agents of change for a better society.”

“It’s not just about money anymore,” concludes Ammeux. “Students want to contribute to society.”

The way business schools are changing also means progress for society.

This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF