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BW Businessworld

Time To Ride The Wave Of Change

Business schools that want to create the leaders of tomorrow, need to ensure they are offering insights on the most cutting-edge changes

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The basics of business education are well established at higher education institutions across the world. Accounting, operations, and leadership are all critically important skills to running a business and are bound to appear on the curriculum no matter which school you attend. They are the cost of entry into management.

But the world is changing, and for those who want to lead, it’s critical that they push beyond traditional business education and ride the wave of change.

Financial technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence are just some of the technological innovations that are changing the nature of work, and business schools that want to create the leaders of tomorrow, need to ensure they are offering insights on the most cutting-edge changes. Emerging leaders need a new set of skills to succeed in a more complex and competitive world. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, for example, has introduced programme offerings in data and analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, and financial technology.

A growing global market increases the need for business leaders who are comfortable operating in different cultures. A recent report by the Study Group on Global Education highlights the importance of international learning, not just to help students develop an understanding of other countries and cultures but to foster fundamental skills such as problem-solving, collaboration and adaptability. A separate study by the European Commission found improved problem-solving, communication and teamwork skills, resilience and adaptability among those who studied abroad.

Business programmes with global learning opportunities are often the most strategic pathway to develop these skills and prepare students for a workforce where they will tackle new and changing problems.

With the shifting political environment, Canada stands out as a premiere destination for those who wish to learn and grow. While many countries are building walls and closing their borders, the Canadian government just announced it will increase immigration by 13 per cent by 2020. As one of the few remaining truly global industrialised countries, Canada is welcoming thought leaders from around the world to inspire innovation, help grow the economy, and build lives for themselves and their families.

And clearly prospective students agree. Canada’s popularity as a study destination continues to increase with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2017 Annual Trends Survey reporting an increase in international applications to Canadian MBA programmes among 77 per cent of participating business schools.

Part of our mission at Smith is to develop outstanding leaders with a global perspective. International students make up 40 per cent of the full-time MBA programme, with this year’s graduating class boasting students from 17 different countries. Smith is also the only one-year MBA programme in Canada to offer international exchanges with 34 business school partners in 22 countries, helping our students start to build their global networks.

With our team orientation and focus on coaching, Smith’s MBA student teams are created with a diversity of cultural backgrounds, as well as work and academic experience, to reflect the reality of today’s working environment. Students graduate understanding the best practices of high-performance teams, increased cultural intelligence and improved adaptability.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

David Saunders

The author is the dean of Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Canada

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