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Business School Students Fear Digital Skills Gap

One in three business school students fear they lack the digital skills they need for jobs in Industry 4.0, according to new Highered survey

Fri May 6 2022

The digital age of Industry 4.0 is a source of concern for business school students about to enter the jobs market, according to a recent survey by Highered—the careers platform for EFMD.

One in three business school students surveyed believe they lack the digital skills now required for jobs in Industry 4.0.

90% of these students believe technical skills like data analytics and search engine marketing are now considered ‘entry-level’ requirements, which they feel under-prepared for.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, defines the new wave of technological advancements and digital tools, including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and machine learning, that are impacting businesses and organizations in the 21st century.

These constantly evolving tech tools are changing business processes and leaving some students feeling ill-prepared to enter the business world after graduating, reveals the new Highered survey. 

In the survey of 1,060 business school students—including undergraduates and postgraduates—from across the world, Highered asked whether students felt prepared to enter this technologically advanced job market and how their education provider supports them. 

Why do students feel unprepared?

The survey results showed that business school students thought their knowledge gaps lay within data analysis and interpretation (15%) and understanding new and emerging technology (13%).  

86% of job seekers believed a degree alone wouldn’t provide the necessary foundations to launch a career in their desired industry. 

“If we are going to help students find jobs in the new digital economy, they need career development and training that’s tailored to employer requirements but is also personalized to their level of skills,” says Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at Highered.

When respondents were asked about how universities and business schools could better prepare students for careers within Industry 4.0, the majority (65%) suggested the integration of employment skills into degree programs, closely followed by internship opportunities (57%), and consulting projects (55%).

“Partnerships between universities, business schools, and employers will be critical,” says Amber. 

Read More: Technology Sector To Drive MBA Jobs Boom In 2022

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What are business schools doing to help prepare students for Industry 4.0?

Despite the survey results, many MBA and business masters programs focus on developing the digital skills and technological aptitude of students.

MBA alum Johana Ossma, who completed an MBA internship in Industry 4.0 during her time at Italy’s POLIMI Graduate School of Management, said her business degree helped her develop key skills like communicating in an international environment and with different stakeholders. These are skills which will be crucial when helping companies implement new tech processes, she believes.

Some business schools even offer programs specifically linked to Industry 4.0, such as the EU Business School MBA in Blockchain Management. For grad Intan Puspitasari, this program helped her launch into an MBA job in digital innovation

The specialized MBA program at EU Business School provides students with an in-depth understanding of blockchain as an emerging technology, preparing students for a variety of careers in the future business sphere. 

For business masters students, WU Executive Academy in Vienna has recently launched a master’s degree in the metaverse, in partnership with EdTech firm Tomorrow’s Education. 

During the program, students take courses on sustainability, entrepreneurship, and technology. Students study topics like Technology Revolutions, Ethics and Economics of AI, and Data Structures and Algorithms. The master’s program also offers practical projects, which include creating a plan to implement AI within a company. 

Despite the challenges presented by Industry 4.0, students are increasingly positive about their job prospects. Compared to recent years, the Highered survey shows that almost half of students (49%) believed they were now more confident about securing employment. 

Enrolling in an MBA or business master’s program that offers tech-focused courses may provide the key to launching a career within a digitally transformed business world. 

Student Reviews

Polimi Graduate School of Management





Great technology competences related to the financial world

The program offers great technological and concrete competencies of the technology applied to the financial sector. Students are highly motivated and fun to be around. The courses are highly linked to innovative and forward-looking topics and deliver great career prospects.




On Campus

Master in FinTech

Mip is a very organised school, the program of the Fintech master is really interesting and covers a lot of useful fields. I believe the Carrer Development Center and the network of companies the school has is one of the best features of this master. Suggested if u are interested in finance technologies and the interaction between them.





MIP Politecnico di Milano was totally a gamechanger for me, I learned a lot and the exposure I got while studying here was unlimited. This university is very flexible and student friendly, the professors are highly qualified and are devoted to their work. The best part about this university is that if you have free time in your course, you can sit for other courses as well of your choices, being a civil engineer I always had affinity towards design, as I got a weeks off from my course I used to attend design lectures with other batches. This was really helpful to me.