Adapting to Disruptive Technologies: How an MBA Future-Proofs Your Career

Ever since Clayton Christensen coined the term “disruptive innovation”, technological innovations have changed the way people work in every industry. From machine learning to artificial intelligence (AI) to the growing data analytics field, industry-changing developments are often met with a range of responses. Some people believe these technologies to be a passing fad, while others panic at the dystopian fear that robots will render humans obsolete.

The real-world impact of disruptive technologies lies somewhere in between the two extremes, but changes brought to production and consumption by new tech are inevitable and will be substantial. Professionals should take advantage of these emerging tools and processes rather than attempting to carry on with business as usual. In this article, we discuss how an Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) can future-proof your career by familiarizing you with contemporary technologies and developing the resilience to embrace new ones as they emerge.

What Are Disruptive Technologies?

Disruptive technology is defined as “a specific technology that can fundamentally change not only established technologies but also the rules and business models of a given market, and often business and society overall.” The term is contemporary, but the concept has always existed — the wheel, telephone and internet were all disruptive technologies in their respective eras.

Disruptive technologies emerge as a means to address unmet needs or existing inefficiencies, offering solutions that redefine industries and enhance both individual systems and business operations. Some recent examples of disruptive innovations include:

  • Blockchain-based cryptocurrency, which disrupted traditional models of value production and consumer spending;
  • Nanotechnology, the study and development of devices on an atomic or molecular scale, including products with disruptive potential in an array of industries;
  • Cloud computing, which allows exponentially more storage capacity and enhanced accessibility without additional physical equipment for the user;
  • Quantum computing, a field that uses sophisticated algorithms to solve complex problems, which is opening the door to innovations like personalized pharmaceuticals and the ability to predict changes in financial markets; and
  • AI-powered chatbots, which reduce the need for human customer service agents.

The last of these examples illustrates a quandary facing many working professionals — the risk of losing one’s job to disruptive technology that is cheap and accessible. While it’s extremely difficult to predict the extent to which any new technology will render workers redundant, it’s clear that stemming the tide of innovation is an impossible task. In a recent Newswise article, Professor Jasmijn Bol, the Francis Martin Chair in Business at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University explained why it’s important for students to continue developing their technical skills even while they adopt AI or automation.

“Students should still develop their technical skills. AI is like a calculator. We still teach our children how to add and subtract because these are the fundamentals on which more complicated math is based. The same goes for other types of technical skills. Without the technical skills, students won’t have the foundational knowledge to oversee the automation process and discover and correct any problems. When harmoniously integrated with human skills, technical skills lead to well-rounded professionals who can confidently address challenges, innovate, and make informed decisions in an increasingly automated world.”

Jasmijn Bol; Professor; Francis Martin Chair in Business; PwC Professorship in Accounting

Remaining flexible and curious, as well as staying up-to-date on emerging technologies, are skillful responses to a rapidly evolving world. Capitalizing on innovative technologies and gaining expertise in these areas is a great way to foster personal growth while advancing in your career.

The Changing Landscape of Business Education

The need for adaptable, future-focused business education has never been more pronounced, owing largely to the pace at which disruptive technologies are reshaping the business landscape. In this dynamic environment, an MBA becomes not just a qualification but a strategic imperative, equipping professionals with the essential skills to capitalize on these disruptive forces and ensure career stability that can weather rapid change.

While all MBA programs are designed to provide a strong foundation in core business principles, future-oriented programs integrate emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and automation into their curricula. Cutting-edge MBA programs cultivate technological fluency in their students, preparing them to navigate the complexities of an ever-evolving business world. The best programs go beyond theoretical knowledge, emphasizing real-world applications that empower graduates to lead adaptively, harness innovation and strategically leverage disruptive technologies to benefit their organizations and themselves.

Technical Skills for Adapting to Disruptions

Aspiring business leaders should seek programs that teach not only financial trends and organizational concepts, but also provide the skills to harness the transformative power of new technology. The Online Master of Business Administration offered by the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University emphasizes collaborative learning and creative problem-solving to develop students’ technical skills in a variety of areas.

Data Analytics

From statistical analysis to data visualization, students learn to make informed decisions based on quantitative evidence, a skill crucial in data-driven decision-making environments.

Technology Integration

The program equips students with the ability to integrate emerging technologies into business operations. Students will learn how disruptive innovations can be applied strategically to enhance organizational operations.

As Tulane Online MBA professor Daniel Mochon states, a vital task for business leaders is determining “the best ways to bring [employees and AI support] together and help people understand what it is, but also how to use it appropriately.”

Database Management

The Online MBA curriculum includes training in database management, teaching students how to organize, retrieve and manage large sets of data using approaches like Structured Query Language (SQL). This skill set is essential for professionals who analyze substantial amounts of data.

Digital Marketing Analytics

Students learn to analyze online consumer behavior, optimize digital campaigns and leverage data for marketing strategy development.

E-commerce Trends

The Tulane program delves into e-commerce and emerging sales technologies, providing insight into the latest industry trends and preparing students to adeptly navigate the digital landscape.

Navigate Disruptive Technologies Through Adaptability

While often underlooked, the interpersonal skills developed in an MBA prepare students to lead their future organizations through challenges posed by technological disruption. In the face of rapid advancements, the ability to lead with vision and inspire teams is crucial for steering organizations through uncertainty. Effective communication skills enable professionals to convey complex technological changes to diverse stakeholders, fostering understanding and support. Adaptability equips MBA graduates to embrace evolving technologies and integrate them into their business strategy. These skills collectively empower leaders to leverage disruption as growth opportunities, fostering a culture of resilience and innovation within their organizations.

“The Freeman School of Business is a place where you can bring any ideas you have to fruition. Our students don’t just think about doing their day-to-day jobs, they think about ways in which they could potentially change the way they do their jobs for the better. We put students in touch with finance and business managers so they can make a case for their ideas, get some feedback, and maybe even have some incubators that can provide funding.”

Gans Narayanamoorthy; Professor; Area Coordinator, Accounting; Faculty Director, Online MBA Program; Jayne Ritchey Cohen Chair of Business Administration

The Online MBA offered by the Freeman School of Business cultivates leadership qualities in students, preparing them to harness the power of emergent technologies and the disruption they cause. Through a dynamic curriculum that seamlessly integrates advanced theoretical insights with real-world applications, students gain a comprehensive understanding of effective leadership strategies. By combining extensive faculty support and career coaching, mentorship programs, and collaborative projects, the Freeman School ensures that Online MBA graduates are ready to navigate complex challenges and inspire positive change in their field.

The Tulane Online Master of Business Administration Prepares Students for a Future-Proof Career

The Freeman Business School offers an Online MBA that trains students to think about business more strategically, critically and creatively. Current or aspiring business leaders join a collaborative environment where they develop a strong foundational understanding of business and managerial concepts, aided by the latest technological advancements. During the program, students build dynamic, technology-responsive approaches to their work. By understanding and capitalizing on the potential in emergent technologies, Tulane graduates enter the job market with the diverse skill set needed to stand out from other candidates and begin a robust leadership career.

About the Online MBA at the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University

The Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University provides students with the opportunity to work with their peers to develop and build upon a strong foundation of business and managerial concepts. Support and collaboration are a cornerstone of our program: Tulane provides students concierge-level support and fosters a collaborative environment where students can partner with their faculty and peers to solve real-world problems. The Online MBA is taught by experienced faculty who also teach on-campus courses and combines theoretical knowledge and problem-solving expertise to real-world business issues. Upon graduation, students have the tools and techniques to become agile managers today and in the future.

The Freeman Business School is a leading, internationally recognized business school with thousands of students in programs spanning the globe. With innovative curricula that combine outstanding classroom instruction with distinctive experiential learning opportunities, the Freeman Business School is dedicated to preparing current and future business leaders to contribute positively to their organizations and their communities. Founded in 1914 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Freeman Business School is a founding member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premier accrediting body for collegiate schools of business.

Get the Online MBA Program Brochure

To download a program brochure and learn more about the Online Master of Business Administration offered by the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, please fill out the form. You can also get in touch with an admissions counselor directly by calling us toll-free at 800-856-9981.

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