MBAs Predict The Future: Competition Winners Picture Office Innovation

The winners of the BusinessBecause 2014 MBA Competition are revealed, along with the thought-provoking results of our future work and office trends survey.

The winners of the BusinessBecause 2014 MBA Competition are revealed today, along with the findings of a survey of MBAs and applicants on future working trends.

MBA students and applicants from around the world were invited to provide their predictions of what the office of the future will look like – in 300 words.

Riccardo Assi, an MBA student at MIP Politecnico di Milano, came first place in 2014’s competition. His entry, an excerpt from a book of the future, detailed innovations in office construction and technology in 2050.

As the winning author, he has won a $1,000 cash prize and a mentoring session with a senior partner at Bain & Company, the management consultancy firm.

The 20 best entrants have also won free copies of The FT Business Book of the Year – ‘The Everything Store’ – and the top 10 will have their thoughts published as headline news stories on BusinessBecause in January 2015.

The competition’s judging panel included Ryan Avent, economics correspondent for The Economist magazine, and Louisa Wong, executive chairperson of Bó Lè Associates, Asia’s largest executive search firm.

The 239 respondents provided insights into what the workplace of the future might look like.

A minority of in-depth entries suggest that work will be project based and that employees will work for multiple companies, on a temporary basis.

But 66 made specific reference to the use of robotics and how it will help them in the work place and in other aspects of daily life.

Angela Prindle, MBA student at the San Diego School of Business Administration, envisaged: “When entering the office your personal assistant robot greets you. This robot has taken your calls, scheduled your meetings, placed your preferred coffee on your desk, and pulled up the documents [or] materials you need.”

A majority of the 239 in-depth answers also mentioned some form of sustainable office, a topic which is clearly important to this generation of business students – many of whom are millennials.

St Gallen MBA graduate Tiffany Hopkins, for instance, predicted: “The office will be built with a sustainable, smart perspective, burning green energy and providing advanced services to employees, like health monitoring.”

Almost all of the 239 in-depth answers accepted rapid technological advancement as inevitable by 2050. This includes improved health and communication systems.

Timothy Mann, 2013 graduate of the Henley Business School MBA, forecasts: “Human body implants, computerised health checkpoints and systems for checking vitamin levels – thus recommending food options – were just some of the health related technologies predicted [during my career].”

Competition winner Riccardo’s entry envisaged an office space illuminated by coloured LED lights shining down on holograms of various office objects. “Technology was, astonishingly, at the heart of everything,” he wrote. 

The most surprising element of his futuristic office, however, was its modular structure: every construction varied shape according to the needs of the moment. “I understood that I was looking at the latest innovative principle of our times,” Riccardo wrote.

The top-10 competition entrants are: Aaron Joachim; Riccardo Assi (winner); Jerome Ducasse; AlinaTruhina; Akeed Azmi; Fernando Lanas; Angela Prindle; Jim Holman; Carmel Ben-Or; Alexandra Rees.

The BusinessBecause MBA Survey and Competition was sponsored by GMAC, administrators of business school entrance exam the GMAT.

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