Continuous learning is no longer optional in a business landscape defined by constantly evolving technology and unprecedented digital transformation, social change, and global challenges. The World Economic Forum estimates that a third of the jobs around the world will be affected by this upheaval by the end of the decade, highlighting the impact of this transition.
The COVID-19 crisis sped up this process significantly, creating a seismic shift in our society that businesses are still adapting to. Workers are also navigating the shifting landscape by gaining new skills, as well as applying existing ones in innovative ways—not just in STEM but also in areas like communication, problem solving, and creativity.
Businesses and individuals must not only learn to adapt to change, but develop the skills to thrive in an environment of constant change. As Pace University MBA Professor Theresa Lant, PhD, puts it, “One of the most predictable things in life is change! Therefore, successful organizations require agile business models and agile workforces.”
While this new reality we find ourselves in may seem difficult to adjust to, humanity has proven itself to be quite adaptable to large-scale changes in the way we live and work. In this article, we discuss three methods that business professionals should consider focusing on during this era of change and challenge: developing technical skills, recognizing the changing marketplace, and adapting business strategies for a global environment.
Develop Your Technical Skills
Even those who aren’t directly involved in creating, selling, or using technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Cloud, and the Internet of Things will see their work transformed by them. For example, writers are seeing the nature of their work evolve as AI programs such as ChatGPT gain a foothold in various industries. Rather than being replaced, however, many professionals are preparing or beginning to work with or alongside those technologies.
However, it’s vital to deploy these tools effectively. “Business leaders must examine the potential near- and long-term impact of advancements in infotech and technologies in a strategic fashion before they adjust business plans and business models accordingly,” notes Professor Lant.
Pace’s MBA program addresses emerging technologies in the Disruptive Technologies and Innovation course. Students learn to apply new technologies in a wide range of industries to ensure that they and their companies survive change and flourish due to greater efficiency, improved practices, and enhanced creativity.
Businesses will also leverage the ever-increasing amounts of information being generated to support decision making and strategic planning across operations. The curriculum of Pace’s MS in Data Science program teaches professionals how to manage, structure, and analyze data to uncover meaningful insights that can help businesses solve problems and unlock new opportunities.
However, leaders must be aware that technology is not without its flaws, such as concerns about data privacy and the spread of disinformation: “Strong collaboration and active dialogue between businesses, policymakers, and regulators are crucial to ensure that people are protected from harmful consequences of tech innovations,” warns Professor Lant.
Recognize the Changing Market Landscape
Consumer reactions to widespread sociopolitical issues like the pandemic, climate change, and awareness of socioeconomic inequality have influenced buying decisions and habits. By using their purchasing power to support businesses whose practices align with their values, consumers are making a major impact on not just how products and services are marketed, but on everything from ethical sourcing to inclusive hiring practices.
Businesses must integrate this into their planning. Whether designing new offerings, managing internal operations, or choosing vendors, customers are watching.
Climate change is one huge area of customer concern, leading to an emphasis on sustainability. “As businesses prioritize sustainability and ethical practices, professionals should incorporate these principles into their work and stay informed about relevant global policies and regulations,” says Michael Esposito, PhD, an instructor in the Pace MBA program. Although the short-term costs and effort involved in adjusting to these expectations might seem taxing, “sustainability should be viewed as an emerging opportunity for business rather than a burden imposed by regulatory agencies,” he says.
Business professionals address this emerging business practice in the Pace MBA Value Creation course. With coursework covering how to optimize product development and customer interactions for consumer perceptions, students learn how to successfully adapt business processes and strategies for a consumer-led market.
Adapt Strategies for the Global Environment
“Conducting business across multiple borders has always been a complex process,” says Professor Esposito. “However, the rate of speed at which communication is exchanged today requires very quick decision making with information that is often less than perfect.” Complex trade regulations and increasing competition create additional complications within the international market.
Businesses also need to contend with geopolitical instability, which can present significant obstacles. For example, the war in Ukraine has had a major impact on everything from the availability and price of raw materials to transportation costs. Even in more peaceful regions, “divergent views on issues such as data privacy, business ethics, and human rights complicate the design and implementation of global business strategies,” says Professor Lant.
Current and aspiring business leaders need to know how to evaluate threats and opportunities in this dynamic and sometimes volatile market. The Pace MBA course Strategic Decisions provides students with practical frameworks for keeping organizations on track for growth and success in the face of uncertainty and unanticipated challenges.
Innovation Is Key
These profound shifts across global markets and societies make a focus on innovation central to success: not just in terms of products but also in the way business is conducted internally and externally. “Innovation requires a combination of creative design skills, digital capabilities, and the ability to collaborate and partner with stakeholders within an organization, the external environment, and especially with ecosystem participants,” says Professor Lant.
While the specific challenges of the road ahead are unknown, the signposts couldn’t be clearer. Beyond developing an expanded understanding of new subjects, you have to always be ready to respond when the unexpected happens. “Professionals need to be agile, adaptable, and open to learning new skills so they can thrive in a constantly changing business environment,” says Professor Esposito.
About the Master of Business Administration at Pace University
The Pace University online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program gives professionals a hands-on learning experience to master the ins and outs of business theory through real-world application. This 100% online program has been handcrafted by expert faculty to ensure that students are career-ready upon completion. Choose a Corporate Finance, Marketing Management, or Business concentration.
For over a century, Pace University’s Lubin School of Business has been preparing professionals for fulfilling careers in business. From responsive professor communication to hands-on, project-based learning, we do everything we can to help students succeed.
Pace’s Lubin School of Business MBA program is ranked among the best nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. With graduates thriving in companies like AIG, Nickelodeon, L’Oreal, Tesla, and many others, Pace equips students with vital business knowledge, while also creating innovative thinkers that companies want.
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