The Workforce of the Future report by PwC provides a glimpse into the fast approaching ‘four worlds of work’. Here, employment will become a space in which innovation rules; where employees think ‘outside the box’; and where digitization revolutionizes our everyday lives.
According to the report, “We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. But what will the future look like?
“This isn’t a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold. To be prepared for the future, you have to understand it.”
Many fear the impact of the digital transformation, concerned that smart technologies like automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will take over human jobs. But while it’s easy to get caught up in statistics, there’s a world of opportunity open to those who embrace, adapt and keep pace.
It’s all about honing the skills that make us inherently human. While computers can master an algorithm and automate a process at the simple click of a button, there’s no way they can empathise, communicate or even create anywhere near our level. Besides, behind every great robot is an intelligent human creator.
If they are to succeed, tomorrow’s generation of workers must nurture and refine the skills their computerised counterparts can’t.
As such, it’s crucial that universities develop critical soft skills in students, instilling them with the expertise that will be most in-demand among future employers.
While hard skills are teachable and measurable, soft skills – including communication, problem solving, leadership and collaborative thinking – truly define a highly-valued, impactful and creative employee.
But the business world is fast evolving, and business schools must keep up if they are to develop graduates who can succeed in such a competitive landscape.
How do they do this? By offering hands-on and integrated learning opportunities within programme structures.
Integrated learning allows business students to make connections across different concepts and experiences, encouraging them to apply learned information to solve complex issues and global challenges.
It spurs creative thinking and an innovative mindset, supporting flexible thinking and helping graduates thrive in everchanging environments.
Keen to know more? Here are three Canadian universities that are preparing students for the future worlds of work through innovative MBA programmes.
At Vancouver Island University (VIU), the Faculty of Management is defined by six fundamental values: teaching excellence, intimate class sizes, applied focus, faculty-student interaction, an international outlook, and an unrelenting drive for academic and employment success.
Here, the MBA has been re-imagined and redesigned, intent on creating confident global graduates who are able to manage complex work environments, on top of being able to drive the digital transformation.
By no means is this your average MBA, but rather one that disrupts the traditional education model to innovate the field and feed the workforce of tomorrow.
The development of sought-after skills, perspective and knowledge lies at the heart of this programme. It teaches students the impactful art of versatility, giving them the power to seamlessly adapt to a fast-moving world they can’t yet predict.
It’s a programme that seeks to reflect the increasingly integrated nature of management; where learning is delivered across all disciplines and enhanced between semesters.
Students here are given every opportunity to shine, empowered by career coaching, work-integrated learning, internships and hands-on experience. The university holds strong community ties that support practical and applied learning within the industry. This way, through VIU’s respected Faculty of Management, students gain an authentic taste of the business workplace long before they graduate.
Above all else, the non-traditional MBA framework means students are taught to be resilient, complex thinkers who tackle industry pressing needs across both Canada and the world.
Not only is this programme detailed and dynamic, it’s also one of the most tech-enriched MBAs in the country. It offers a space in which the knowledge of today is merged with the technological dimensions of tomorrow, expertly serving the needs of both existing and emerging business landscapes.
Haskayne School of Business is committed to empowering business graduates, helping them become qualified leaders in the complex business world.
The school offers flexible options with six different programmes, striving to serve the needs and aspirations of different students, namely the Daytime MBA, Evening MBA, Accelerated MBA, Combined MBA and Thesis MBA.
Each programme here can be tailored to support students’ personal and professional development goals. For example, students on the Daytime MBA can choose from six specialisation options, or opt not to specialise and fully customize their degree.
There are also experiential learning opportunities on offer, including the chance to participate in a case competition where students can expand their network, develop confidence and build teamwork and presentation skills.
Students can also develop practical business skills by participating in financial modelling and case-cracking workshops.
Located in Toronto, the MBA at Schulich School of Business equips students with the functional knowledge and leadership skills needed to gain a competitive advantage.
Through an extensive selection of 18 management specializations that serve specific industry sectors and business issues, Schulich students develop the relevant skills in their area of interest.
Blending classroom learning of fundamental and advanced management concepts with real world experience – including a two-term strategic consulting project where students gain practical knowledge by working with clients on real business problems and solutions – this programme is second-to-none.
Here, students also have access to the Career Development Centre (CDC) – an in-house team of certified Career Coaches and Industry Advisors.
The CDC offers innovative resources, individualized mentoring and coaching to help students advance their business careers.
As a student at Schulich, you’ll also have the chance to network with alumni, recruiters and industry leaders at corporate information sessions and other CDC events, and receive online access to useful career tools.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International