How MBA programs can adapt to digital transformation: 3 takeaways

MBAs are considered a vital part of creating effective managers for hospitals, but the curriculum might not be keeping pace with digital innovation, according to a Harvard Business Review report published Nov. 11.

MBA programs often are geared toward 20th century automobile or industrial companies, whose assets typically were tangible and depreciated in value over time. Many modern businesses, on the other hand, defy traditional ways of thinking about employees' roles, as digital assets can be used an infinite number of times without losing value and services are not always physical products.

Here are what departments look like in MBA programs and how they can evolve to keep pace with modern business.

  1. Finance
    Corporate finance practices evaluate a company based on its physical assets, but companies should include soft assets in the mix. Branding, IT, talent and competitive strategy are all excluded when chalking up the value of a company. When introducing valuations into the classroom, teaching is rooted in cases of the past and does not reflect current needs, according to the report.

  2. Marketing
    The internet allows companies to sell products without needing to advertise them. Today's marketers need to be skilled in IT and data sciences to learn about customers' browsing habits across digital platforms. Marketing students also should be introduced to the power of social media influencers in addition to traditional sales techniques. Business schools should work closely with IT and digital strategy departments to offer more integrated programs.

  3. Operations
    As economic activity shifts online, services are produced instantly and morph to fit customers' needs and preferences. These products cannot be created or stored in advance. Many of these services are stored in clouds, and MBA programs would find it advantageous if they work with experts in system architecture and data scientists to better train students for new operational workflows.

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