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Industry 4.0, Big Data, Uber & Google: How Tech Trends Shape Strategy At This UK B-School

Associate professor of strategy at Cass Business School, Paolo Aversa, will deliver a strategy masterclass for potential MBA & EMBA students at the school’s MBA in a Day event on the 10th February


Fri Jan 19 2018

If technology were in a chariot race, it would sweep all those competing aside. Such is its disruptive nature, competitors’ wheels would snap clean off, fervent clouds of dust would gather, swarming the track, and fellow riders would be left behind, lost without a strategy.

But the crowd would be cheering, firmly behind the power of what is clearly a leader in today’s rapidly advancing business world.

As latest tech trends, like industry 4.0 and big data analytics, begin to shape MBA curricula, Cass Business School in the UK is harnessing their power, adapting its MBA to give students an up-to-date grounding in the current market.

“We always have a prime eye on the tech scene,” explains Paolo Aversa, associate professor of strategy and Full-Time MBA course director at Cass, who is delivering a strategy masterclass at the school’s upcoming MBA in a Day event on the 10th February.

At the event, designed to give potential MBA and EMBA candidates a flavor of the Cass Business School—ranked best in the world for corporate strategy in 2017 by the Financial Times—Paolo will tap into his passion for Formula 1, using real-life examples dictating when it’s best to innovate, and how to make fast decisions with big data.

He will also explain how the school remains up to date with the market, and what are the key terms affecting the way strategy is taught on the Cass MBA in 2018.

“Connectedness is […] key,” he says. “New technology and the innovation coming out of industry 4.0 means people are very well connected.”

The internet is ever present in our lives, and with the ability now to connect and talk with smart objects and systems in the household and office—for example, Amazon’s Alexa—huge amounts of data are being processed, allowing businesses to develop an increasingly intimate connection with consumers.

Paolo says that disrupts business models, as companies must become more innovative with how they use their data.

Alongside that, “everything happens faster,” he confirms, “and because of that we need better processing technologies at a higher, global level.”

It is indeed processing, not collecting, data that has become the main issue for companies, according to Paolo. “We now have more data than we can process,” he says.

So, how do you get the most out of the vast caverns of data you have?

During the Full-Time Cass MBA—a relatively small cohort, with 73 students made up of 29 nationalities from industries such as healthcare, finance, media, and engineering—students study the how the business models of companies like Uber, Google, and Airbnb have changed.

When it comes to the strategy project on the MBA at Cass Business School, students can apply this knowledge to a wide range of companies. Being in such an international, diverse classroom means they learn from their peers how to transfer their business models to a plethora of industries.

“It’s about creating a marketplace where different groups and users can meet, interact, and transact,” says Paolo.

“This changes the perspective of a firm. Competitive advantage derives from having the superior ability to connect people.”

Cass Business School’s position at the heart of the financial world of London means the teachings on the MBA extend heavily to the digital market—in particular, how firms are incorporating digital transformation into their company strategy.

It is creating the need for a new wave of digital leaders, something Paolo says Cass is at the forefront of—“we have one of the most famous groups for digital tech research,” he explains.

The Digital Leadership Research Center is led by professor of strategy, Gianvito Lanzolla, and associate professor of strategy, Elena Novelli. The center is at the core of digital transformation, powering research into how firms can successfully harness disruptive technologies.

The research team within Cass’s Center for Business Model and Technology, led by professor Charles Baden-Fuller, has also engaged with disruptive technologies and business model innovation across more than 50 companies.

“People who enter the digital market need to understand new market trends,” adds Paolo, “they all build on the same challenge, to understand and exploit the technology.”


Designed for all potential MBA and EMBA candidates, don’t miss associate professor of strategy, Paolo Aversa, deliver his strategy masterclass at Cass Business School’s MBA in a Day event on the 10th February