How B-Schools Must Prep for the Next Revolution
The business world is changing, there’s no doubt about it. And with that, so is business education. With globalization, technological advancements and demographic changes, the future of business will look vastly different than it does today.
Margaret Andrews, a contributor at Inside Higher Ed, recently discussed how business schools can adapt to this change and best prepare students for the future of business.
How Skills Are Changing
Creativity will become one of the top three skills workers will need to succeed, according to the World Economic Forum’s report, “The Future of Jobs,” which analyzes the employment, skills and workforce strategy for the future.
“With the avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these change,” Alex Gray, a senior writer at World Economic Forum’s Formative Content blog, writes. “Robots may help us get to where we want to be faster, but they can’t be as creative as humans (yet).”
Here are the top 10 skills, according to the World Economic Forum, that are predicted to increase in value for 2020.
Experts call this change the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – a dramatically advanced societal disruption where robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will transform the way we live and work.
“Some jobs will disappear, others will grow and jobs that don’t even exist today will become commonplace,” Gray writes. “What is certain is that the future workforce will need to align its skillset to keep pace.”
How Business Schools Need to Change
In her Inside Higher Ed piece, Andrews argues that business schools will need to adapt how they teach students business if they intend to keep up with the advanced changes.
The first change? Refocus on learning as a lifelong endeavor, Andrews says.
“Average life expectancy is rising, more people are wanting (and often needing) to stay in the workforce until much later in life, and the skills they need for the various careers they’ll have will evolve over their lifespan,” she writes. “Colleges and universities need to think this through and create new programs, pathways, and platforms to reach learners at all stages of life.”
In addition, Andrews argues, there must be an increase in both access and innovation in higher education.
“Understand that the way we create and deliver education through the university is quite likely to change,” she writes. “The higher education market is in the midst of unbundling. While this will create winners and losers in the higher education arena, it may be a good outcome for increasing access to higher education and spur innovation in higher education.”
Andrews references Thomas Teal’s 1996 article, “The Human Side of Management”,which argues that we often focus too much on technical proficiency and too little on character.
Andrews argues that this story still rings true today.
“Poor management demoralizes people and ultimately takes a toll on performance,” she writes. “At a minimum, perhaps we should have everyone read Bob Sutton’s first book, on building a civilized workplace book, and his second one on surviving one that isn’t.”
Lastly, Andrews argues that we will need to instill the importance of ethical behavior in our children and students. To streamline this, we’ll need to enact policies that support ethical behavior and laws that punish bad behavior, she says.
“It matters and will help us shape a world – of work and otherwise – that we all want to live in,” Andrews writes.