New Skills for the Digital World: The MBA’s challenge

The changes we are experiencing due to the integration of digital reality in our lives is not alien to companies in the so-called digital transformation or digital industry. In this aspect such changes increasingly require new profiles with skills not contemplated in traditional MBAs related to the use of technology, data analytics, Lean or Agile work methodologies and advanced entrepreneurship skills.

Different universities and business schools around the world have seen how the demand for traditional MBAs has decreased or even forced them to close because they did not meet the needs of the market. This has been reinforced by the shift of these programs in the main business schools of reference towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) content, and more specifically towards the T "Technology".

Digital Integration and Business Needs

The maturation of information technologies and the lowering of data acquisition and processing costs has led to a greater integration of these technologies in the business environment. In this sense, the use of artificial intelligence in process automation processes, data mining for customer acquisition and customer service, and in general, data analytics for decision-making, have gradually become the engine of a business transformation process in which technology and artificial intelligence is an enabler.

For some years now the business fabric has been subjected to such a process in which technology and the management and use of data has ceased to be a competitive advantage and has become a necessity. These changes have led to the so-called digital transformation in companies, which have focused on maximizing the customer experience, relying on the improvement and optimization of processes and organizational structures, with data being another asset in the company's possession that must be used as any other asset to improve its income statement.

In the use of such data, artificial intelligence and process automation have acquired a key role in combining the needs of these both in the physical and digital world to improve the consumer experience. These changes in the processes within companies, as well as the new demands of their environment (change of demand for products and services to experiences and immediacy on the part of consumers, greater competition with agents initially external to their sector of activity, platform economies, etc.) have required an organizational change that requires that the profiles demanded by the companies adapt to their digital needs.

At the managerial level, it is no longer enough for them to be able to talk about the latest technological changes that have occurred, but a deeper knowledge of these technologies is expected to manage them as if they were another function with an impact on all the traditional functions of the company (marketing, human resources, etc.). Additionally, this has given rise to new profiles which are called hybrids by combining technological knowledge and that of their function. In the USA, these profiles have seen a growth of between 28%-34% in positions such as Customer Success Specialist, or Chief Revenue Officer. The demand for these profiles is difficult for companies to cover because of the rapid changes that occur in them and require a combination of leadership, business, data analytics and technological innovation.

New Ways of Working

One of the great advantages that technology has brought in recent years is the change in the way of working. It has forced companies to break down the silos in which the functions previously worked, demanding that teams be increasingly multidisciplinary to bring the various solutions to fruition. This is a business paradigm shift from a culture of execution to a culture of innovation.

It is precisely this culture of innovation that requires new (although already known) Agile ways of working, in which multidisciplinary teams will try to reach a solution in an iterative way to know as soon as possible if it fits the needs of the company and in case of failure, to do it soon minimizing the risk and maximizing the lessons learned throughout the organization.

Due to the uncertainty in which companies find themselves, with a rapidly changing environment, a digital transformation for which there is no single recipe, the change of processes and organizational structures with years/decades of maturity, as well as the different generations that coexist in the same, it is increasingly necessary for these new profiles to have entrepreneurial skills.

In this sense, new projects within companies, as well as the execution of technology-based projects, require competencies related to entrepreneurship that are applied within companies.

Traditional organizational hierarchies have become obsolete for the speed of change required, giving way to flatter structures in which each member of these multidisciplinary teams must act as an entrepreneur outside and inside his or her function to be able to undertake relevant innovation projects within the company.

As a result, companies are no longer looking to traditional MBA students for business skills. These companies are looking for professionals who must be able to innovate, manage technology as a facilitator of change, work with data analytics and artificial intelligence as an integral part of day-to-day business, as well as being able to be entrepreneurial to launch initiatives that respond to the new and changing needs of their companies. In this case, these skills have led MBA programs to evolve by incorporating more and deeper STEM training, team management skills and evolved projects, but based on the development of technological products.

Among the most relevant competencies for 2025, according to the World Economic Forum, are, in addition to analytical and innovative thinking, the use, monitoring and control of technology, as well as its design and programming.

Nebrija Business & Technology School Pillars

Nebrija Business & Technology School wants to train the digital leaders of the future by combining best management practices and innovation, based on data and technology, through experiential programs generating profiles aligned with current and future market needs.

Our academic approach is based on the following five pillars:

  • Business Fundamentals, which responds to the needs of traditional business management and its functional areas (marketing, finance, resources, human resources, etc.).
  • Business Analytics, both from the point of view of management and execution and implementation in the different functional areas of the company.
  • Technology and Innovation, knowledge of the main existing and exponential technologies, as well as the main challenges and opportunities in their use, implementation and integration with existing processes and people. This is framed within the scope of the management and execution of innovation projects in organizations.
  • Change Management and Sustainability, which incorporates the new leadership needs within companies, leveraging the importance of sustainability, as well as the management of projects and multidisciplinary teams to be able to manage the functional areas of evolved (or digitally transformed) companies.
  • Entrepreneurship, understood as the ability to launch and execute new initiatives within and outside companies that have a strong technological character.

Student’s Experience

Our faculty combines outstanding professional experience with top-notch academic quality. On top of that, students participate in a diverse competitive environment where they learn real live business situations and how to figure out through teamwork. Once they complete the official program, students have the chance to stay a week at University of California, Berkeley or Babson College, Boston to further extend their training with visits and workshops with leader technology companies, startups, and potential investors: they will be ready to lead the digital world.

Fernando Mateo
Vicedean, Nebrija Business & Technology School

January 2022


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