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Deloitte CEO Says B-Schools Must Make Tech A Focus Amid Disruptive Innovation

Chief's comments highlight concern programs lack digital focus

Mon Jan 18 2016

David Sproul, chief executive of Deloitte UK, has called on business schools to do more to push technology into the heart of the curriculum, as boards face the ever-evolving threat of cyber-attacks and the risk of disruptive innovation.

The executive’s comments add to the growing chorus of opinion that business schools should do more to prepare future business leaders to understand digital technology and its impact.

“Business schools should make technology a more central part of the curriculum, creating programs to educate current and future business leaders in the latest developments,” David said in a comment piece published in The Telegraph over the weekend.

“Training in management skills alone is no longer sufficient.”

Last week, Pat Chapman-Pincher, who has built, run and chaired a number of tech companies, and who mentors FTSE chief executives, wrote in the Financial Times that b-schools were “no longer fit for purpose” in an age of digital disruption.

Businesses face a shortage of executive talent to lead digital transformations, as they come under threat from rivals who are more tech savvy, such as Uber, Airbnb or Google.

This development — and student and company demand — has led to a surge in courses at business schools focused on areas like big data and cyber security.

The UK’s Cambridge Judge Business School for example launched the Digital Business Academy.

“There already is a move afoot to start programs and courses in this area,” Mark Kennedy, director of the KPMG Centre for Business Analytics at Imperial College Business School, told BusinessBecause.

HEC Paris, Warwick Business School in the UK and NYU Stern in US have all offered classes on data analytics.

Entire degree programs have been launched in digital, such as the EMBA in Digital Transformation at DeGroote School in Canada.

But some warn that the pace of change has been too slow. “Business schools have to transform — and quickly,” said Jim Hamill, director of digital leadership at Strathclyde Business School.

Meanwhile in The Telegraph article, David said that businesses need to do more to collaborate with universities, highlighting Deloitte’s partnership with London Business School, through which the pair launched the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Similar tie-ups exist at schools like Imperial College, which KPMG pledged £20 million to.

Accenture last year revealed a partnership with California’s Haas School of Business focused on data science. Dixons Carphone recently teamed up with University of Edinburgh Business School to fund teaching and research in the field. IBM and Telfer School of Management have invested around $5 million into a similar initiative.

“There is a demand for big data expertise,” said Juan José Casado Quintero, academic director of the Master in Business Analytics & Big Data at IE Business School.

Highlighting the need for tech-savvy managers, Deloitte’s David added: “Businesses will need to embrace disruptive thinking, develop a deeper understanding of emerging technologies and find a way to bring the ideas of younger generations into the boardroom.”

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.