From experts predicting that it’s changing public perception around centralized agencies, to ‘blockless’ cryptocurrencies now promising thousands of transactions per second, blockchain is blowing the future of business wide open.
There’s an opening here for the tech-smart businessperson to make a career—but how do you tap into the flow of opportunities that ‘Blockchain 3.0’ is bringing?
The best way to find out how to break into blockchain as a businessperson is to learn from the experts, and select schools are already providing this service.
At EU Business School, blockchain management courses are making their way into various programs across the curriculum.
Initially trialled as part of the school’s BBA program, and now rolled out as a specialization on their full-time MBA, the blockchain courses at EU seek to provide students with enough specialist knowledge to be able to identify opportunities, without the need to turn them into bona fide coders.
Stand out to employers
According to Stef de Jong, dean of Swiss campuses at the school, even just having this primary level of specialist knowledge will help businesspeople stand out from the pack in the job market.
“Lots of people speak about blockchain, but when you ask those speakers which language it’s programmed in, not many people can answer,” he comments.
“It’s rare to know how it really works, so it’s good for students to learn how to work with it, and what the risks and the advantages are—and the limits, because there is a limit to what it can achieve.”
A key aspect that Stef wants students to take away from his lessons in blockchain is that, contrary to the media hype around FinTech and Bitcoin, most of its applications are not actually in finance.
“You could use bitcoin to manage examination grades, admission to a club, management of a club—any system where you don’t have too many members, and where you don’t necessarily want to use a single server,” he states.
As Stef sees it, the broad applicability of blockchain and the revolutionary effect it has on the way that organizations are run is already making sweeping changes across the business landscape.
He sees the influence of blockchain within the radical simplification of many management chains—for instance, big airline operators like EasyJet opting for a slimmer management hierarchy. Where there might have been eight to ten layers of management a decade ago, Stef states that there are now only three: flight staff, administrators, and owners.
Similarly, this decentralized attitude is reflected in the experiential teaching methods employed at EU Business School, where faculty have moved away from textbooks which are quickly outmoded, and towards a collaborative style of class discussion that allows for the free exchange of ideas.
Expand your ambition
The result of this teaching style is an engaged cohort who are able to think independently about the challenges presented to businesses by blockchain.
Felix Hill is one such student. Currently studying in his second year of the BBA at EU Business School, he recently took the blockchain management elective.
“We went very much in-depth,” he comments. “Enough that we could ourselves understand the managerial processes behind how to structure blockchain within a company.”
This understanding is then channelled into a business plan for a startup based on a chosen platform of blockchain, which is assessed at the end of the elective by the course professor.
“What’s good about this is that not only does it push your knowledge of the class into your final project, but it takes into account everything that EU is,” says Felix.
“It’s there to create business people, and every single skill you learn from marketing to accountancy to commodity valuation is put into one final business plan.”
Indeed, the course has inspired Felix to consider blockchain entrepreneurship further down the line in his career—and, he believes, equipped him well for the challenge.
“Thanks to the classes I’ve taken, I can really understand the limitations and what can be done with [blockchain] at this point in time, so I’m focusing on putting together startups to do with blockchain,” he says.
“Because of the accumulation of what I’ve learnt at EU Business School—from management to marketing to strategic marketing to accounting—I think down the line, three or four years from now, I hope to be running a business with some degree of blockchain within it.”