How to Keep Up With the Latest Business Trends | TopMBA.com

How to Keep Up With the Latest Business Trends

By Niamh O

Updated February 16, 2021 Updated February 16, 2021
What does the future hold for MBA graduates, businesses and higher education? Experts have their say on the business trends to look out for in the coming years:
  • Digital will play an even bigger role
  • More developments in sustainability and equality
  • MBA students should capitalize on the trends that speak to them
  • Don't underestimate the power of social networking

An MBA is one of the most competitive degree programs in the world, due to its ability to transform your career prospects and secure you a top-tier job in your preferred field.

But how can MBA grads ensure they secure success post-MBA? This was a question posed during a panel session at the Association of MBAs (AMBA) & Business Graduates Association (BGA) Festival of Excellence 2021, which examined the future of business and how students can keep on top of the latest developments and trends.

Asked how optimistic they were about the future of business. Udochuku Richson (AMBA’s MBA Student of the Year 2020 and IE Business School alum Class of 2019) said the coronavirus pandemic had already illustrated how quickly businesses can adapt: “We’ve already seen entire industries scrambling but new opportunities have also unfolded. We’re all here on Zoom; nobody knew Zoom a year ago.

“Everything digital will play an even bigger role. We are heading into the age of artificial intelligence; we’re working on quantum computers. Keep an eye on these trends. It’s important you have an overview of what’s going on, be aware of it and to position yourself well.”

Stephanie Mullins (Associate Director at BlueSky Education) was similarly optimistic: “History shows once there's a downturn, there is a business boom.

“I think many businesses have learned a lot in the past year about big topics like sustainability and equality. I think we're going to see more of these developments.”

Ritika Israni (Business Development Manager at Ocean Petro Gulf DMCC) spoke on behalf of any budding entrepreneurs planning to set up their own business rather than seek employment after their studies.

She said: “If you feel there’s a certain problem area or a trend in the market that you could capitalize on, make sure you make the most of that opportunity while you’re at school.” She mentioned SetSquare which enables students to prototype a business idea, take it to the next level, or pitch it to venture capitalists who would come to campus.

She said: “You only get these opportunities while you're at university. I know it can get really overwhelming with coursework, exams, a thesis and many other engagements and expectations, but this time is very limited.

“What you make of it while you're there is really up to you. Nobody's going to come and spoon-feed you like they did in your undergraduate course. Once you become an alumnus, it's not going to be the same, you're not going to be on a campus and have the chance of walking into the director of studies office who has 20 years of experience in a field that you plan to have your career in."

The shift to online learning and connecting with people remotely shouldn’t put entrepreneurs off either. She added: “A lot of connections I established were through LinkedIn. I reached out to random alumni and many of them were willing to help out and give back.

“Don't underestimate the power of social networking because a small message on LinkedIn could emerge into your next job. Get out there, use your extra time to reach out to people, there's nothing to lose, you're only going to learn.”

How can students keep up with trends?

Ehab Abdel Hafez (Johnson & Johnson’s Head of Talent Acquisition for Africa, Middle East, and Turkey) said students should focus on where they’d like to be: “You will never be on top of every single trend. So, first of all, focus, identify where you would like to be, and then based on that, you will know where to go, what to read, the different forums you need to be around, and who are the people you need to be following because they are key in this space.

“Opportunities will always be there for those who are willing to take it. There will always be the opportunities that will require some flexibility and agility and maybe taking a step back to move forward so.”

Mullins echoed this: “Capitalize on the trends that speak to you, rather than an across-the-board approach.

“I make sure that I'm following the right people on Twitter, my LinkedIn network’s up to scratch and I'm staying up to date and looking at what's going on. That shouldn't be underestimated. There are outlets to stay in touch with up-to-date information which is invaluable for MBA students to capitalize on what's going on from trusted sources.”

Udochuku was in agreement. He said: “You do not have to be the expert for everything, but getting exposure to some of these trends can really help.

“I took electives in blockchain and artificial intelligence, but it doesn't mean that I'm planning to become a blockchain expert. I don't need to be a blockchain expert, but I need to have some basic understanding of potential impact on my industry, and being able to navigate change I think is key, that you get enough exposure to understand how certain technologies or developments can help you navigate change and take it in the right direction.”

He isn’t alone in choosing a study program that pushed his knowledge into new areas. Israni mentioned that she had signed up for a business analytics course at someone’s recommendation but was worried she would fail before starting.

She said: “Somebody said ‘Isn't the MBA about stepping out of your comfort zone and learning something that you don't already know?’I didn't pay to relearn something I already know about. I took that course, and I can't tell you how much it helped me when I was at the Case Competition. When I got back into my job, I realized it was really useful stuff.”

This article was originally published in February 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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