The End…

Yes-We-made-it-to-the-end

Like most of you, I was a bit hesitant about the structure and deliverables of this class after day one. Coming from an engineering background, and now a finance concentration in my MBA, I am used to numbers, problem sets, and modeling. Creating content and sharing feelings? Not so much. I probably could have found a more traditional course with a less intimidating workload to help round out my two years of grad school. However, I am satisfied knowing I stepped outside of my comfort zone a bit and learned a ton while doing so.

Without further ado, here are some of my final thoughts and biggest takeaways on each of the main topics we hit this semester:

1. Digital Transformation of the Enterprise

As we’re all familiar with, most companies today tout themselves as a tech company. However, just implementing today’s technology into your processes, products, and services won’t lead to long-term success. What’s important is how you continually adapt to the fast and ever changing technology landscape. In an earlier blog post I examined whether my new employer, Fidelity Investments, is a digitally mature company and I take comfort in knowing leadership continues to take steps to invest and experiment in new technologies.

2. Facebook

As a daily user of Facebook since 2006 and studying the Facebook case in a previous class, I considered myself well-versed in the social media behemoth. In the last couple of years, I have been growing weary of the amount of time spent on social media. While I have always assumed (and don’t really care) that Facebook and others were using my data in nefarious ways I took the Cambridge Analytica fiasco as an excuse to delete the Facebook app on my phone. Although now I find I’m spending more time on Instagram…

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3. Collective Intelligence

What will stick with me most is the anecdote in Steve Johnson’s Ted Talk of how English coffeehouses played such an prominent role in the Enlightenment period. In today’s society it is so easy to become isolated in one’s phone and computer. As a future manager, I want to remember the importance of creating spaces and processes for people to come together, collaborate, and share ideas.

4. Digital Strategy at John Hancock & Boston College

I loved the guest speakers from John Hancock and the Boston College Social Media group. It was cool to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how a corporation and college are using social media to promote their brands and connect with their customers/students.

5. Managing Virality

I was never on Twitter prior to this class, so hearing the Justine Sacco story for the first time was disturbing and eye-opening. This class taught us important lessons – both as personal users of social media platforms, and as future managers who need to be prepared to work in such a transparent world.

6. Legal Issues

If the Mark Zuckerberg congressional hearing taught us nothing else, it at least gave us a glimpse into how far laws and regulations are behind technology. We need to elect government officials that are knowledgeable about the issues surrounding tomorrow’s technologies. Also, for the laws currently in place: always assume anything you do on a company device/network/infrastructure is being monitored and can be used against you!

7. Blockchain

The ultimate disrupter of everything. I once heard someone compare the current state of blockchain to what the internet was in the 1980’s. In the 80’s nobody could have predicted Facebook, or Spotify, or Uber, or (insert any tech company here). Blockchain is at such an early stage that nobody really knows where its headed. We were all too young (or not born yet) to experience the true early adoption and transformation of the internet, so I’m excited to be a part of this one!

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8. Artificial Intelligence & Future of Work

Concern over the uncertain future of emerging technologies like AI and robots, and their impact on jobs, is understandable. I tend to side with Autor from last week’s Ted Talk with an optimistic view that society has been through these transitions before and we will figure it out. As we progress in our careers we need to be continual learners and big picture thinkers.

Wrap-Up

Thank you everyone for a great semester. I learned a lot from all of you and enjoyed your blogs/tweets/discussions/everything else we shared. Best of luck to all the seniors and MBAs graduating! And to those of you with a year or two left…cherish it!

7 comments

  1. Really appreciated your insights on the class, Matt, and it was awesome to see you apply this class to your own employer Fidelity – it’s invaluable to have a class contributor like that and see you apply it to a brand so many are familiar with. I will also be sure to let Melissa from my office here at BC that she was one of your favorite presentations! Best of luck in the future!

  2. I think that you are very fortunate to have taken this class prior to joining Fidelity full-time. After my internship with them last summer and now having taken this class, it is clear to me that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to adapting to the digital age as a financial services company. Getting the chance to take a tour through Fidelity LABS showed me that the firm is really thinking big picture when it comes to how technology will impact their current business model. Best of luck!

  3. I think you perfectly hit all the main topics that we discussed in this course, something that I found difficult considering the amount of information we covered. It’s always great when you can apply what you learn to the real world, even when you don’t expect it. Especially since this is an elective, I never thought it would apply directly to my professional life. Good luck to you at Fidelity!

  4. Great summary of what we have covered over the semester, it really reminds of some great ideas and insights we had in this class. Beyond that, I also appreciate different presentations in our class, I like how people provide different ideas, platforms, and the implications. I think this course gives us some great ideas to use in our career. For example, like you said, as a manager, you need to emphasis the importance of creating spaces for people to come together.

  5. Great post! I think you succinctly summarized the key topics of this course, and I agree that those were also my biggest takeaways. I laughed when you talked about how apprehensive you were given the fact that this course was a little “softer” in material than what you were used to. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that while we didn’t stay up all night working on math problems, I found that this class had its own set of expectations that challenged me in an entirely new way. Additionally, I found that one of my biggest take-aways in this course was the importance of collective intelligence, and I’m glad you gave that topic a shoutout!

  6. I really liked the layout of this reflection and takeaways, and I especially resonated with your takeaway on AI & future of work. I also have a rather optimistic viewpoint than a negative one, and it all depends on how we manage and adapt to AI as we slowly implement it in our workplaces. I am also more quantitatively driven (although I am sure your combination of engineering & finance background goes a lot deeper than mine), and taking this course was a challenge. But I am glad that both you and I pushed ourselves to explore a different learning environment via this class, and I believe the payoff was pretty high. I’m sure you will adapt to the constantly evolving tech world wherever you head in the future. Best of luck in your next journey!

  7. Great post @mpduplesmba! You always had a knack for providing great substance. And I think you hit the nail on the head…what a great way to learn from one another in such a non-traditional setting. The free-flowing information, ideas, and discussions really put a lot of value on all of these aforementioned take-aways. As graduating MBA’s, what a way to cap off our two-year stint

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