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.
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…
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!
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!
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.
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!