Future Focused: Addressing Forces of Change in Business Education

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Thursday, August 1, 2019
In looking forward to the future of business and the impact of new and rising technologies, business educators and industry leaders discuss the need to grasp not only what technologies are being used now, but what may be used tomorrow.
In looking forward to the future of business and the impact of new and rising technologies, business educators and industry leaders discuss the need to grasp not only what technologies are being used now, but what may be used tomorrow.


Lynda Gratton: [00:00] One of the most interesting aspects of all this incredible technological change we see, is that the leader's role has gone from being hierarchical, where they had all the information -- and their job was in a sense to distribute that -- to knowledge and information being shared freely across the organization.

[00:34] Therefore, the leader's role becomes much more helping people understand what the goals of the organization are and to do that in an inspiring way, but also to coach and support them to make the right and good decisions.

Shohreh Kaynama: [00:47] The relevancy of technology has changed the business of business education so much. 17 years ago, the most technology we had in the classroom was a computer and faculty behind the computer with a PowerPoint presentation.

[01:06] These days, it goes much, much beyond that. Students and the business community expect us to be more technologically savvy. Technology has changed the way we do business, the way we teach, and the way we act in the academy.

Wendy Loretto: [01:25] Business schools have a really important role to play in influencing industry and promoting the importance of well-being in the workplace. In several ways, business schools can help here. First of all, by our research and making sure that our research gets out there into industry.

[01:43] Preferably, it's done in partnership with industry, so industry are helping us set the problems that they want to find the solutions for. An even more important way is actually through our students.

[01:56] In working with our students to promote the importance of well-being in their own lives, they're then taking that into industry. Industry can see the importance in their workforce that well-being means particularly as we'll all be working longer lives.

Pierre Tapie: [02:11] On one side, you have to think strategically and to think long-term, and you have to plane. On the other side, the speed of change and the path of change is so quick that you have to be able to strategize on one side, but to decide very quickly on a few opportunities on the other.

[02:29] You have simultaneously to be very long-term committed, but at the same time to be able to grasp opportunity and to seize the spirit of the moment. Let me take an example, the length of a student social generation, which mean a class of age which behaves more or less in the same way.

[02:55] Today it is considered to be four to five years in the Western world. It's considered to be two or three years in China. Our students, just a few years after, are not the same students we are addressing to. For this reason, the speed we can incorporate non-predicted changes has to be quick, while we have to think strategically about what we want to do in the next 5 or 10 years.

Sean West: [03:28] We are at an interesting point in time where non-business schools are able to get into the education game much easier than before. We do have some advantages. At Eurasia Group, we have a host of practitioners that are talking to corporations on a daily basis about what matters to them in our area of expertise, which is geopolitics.

[03:46] We're able to update our curriculums and our learnings much faster than traditional approaches. This may sound like a disruptive threat to the way that schools view their relationship with corporations or with their students.

[04:03] Actually it's an opportunity because we can be idea generators. We can be thought partners. We can engage with schools to better serve their students. We can find novel ways to blend the research and academic understanding that the university setting has and the convening power the university setting has with our real-time practitioner learnings.

Howard Yu: [04:25] Of course, at business school historically, we teach business executive or MBA students how to build sustainable advantage -- in other words, to build monopolies. The societal expectation is changing. Particularly, what's great for one company could be bad for the whole economy and the labor market as well.

[04:45] This is why we begin to see a lot of rhetoric from breaking up big pact, to increase regulation to protect consumer in data privacy, to open AI so that smart machine would no longer be proprietary algorithm operating in a black box, but rather to become explainable.

[05:06] Almost a nutritional label so the end consumer would understand this is safe, we know where the dataset is coming from. If we were to change the algorithm, it would be fair at a societal basis.

[05:20] I think monopoly or monopolistic behavior has been historically been pretty much embraced, unfortunately, by business school. That's going to change rapidly. Otherwise, business school in general would be rendered irrelevant.


Filmed April 2019 at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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