Business and Technology

Towards Digital Transformation

Dominique Jolly"The fourth industrial revolution has started, and businesses large and small are already relying heavily on data for all aspects of decision-making. Most successful companies leading this revolution are either pure players (like Google) or they rely heavily on data to provide concrete services & goods (Amazon, Alibaba, Apple, etc.). In many ways, 'Data is the new oil'. We are facing a digital transformation that is affecting our economy, our society, and our daily lives. All businesses are impacted by this new economy. In higher education, there is a clear need to prepare our students to be the actors in this wave of innovation. They need to learn about new management tools, novel means of communicating with customers and suppliers, and shifting business models. We want our students to become masters of the process of digitalization, so they can help companies to develop innovative, competitive and successful strategies.

This trend for the 4.0 economy is at the core of our School of Business & Technology at Webster University Geneva. It is supported by our Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation (WCCI). For our bachelor students, the learning process starts with an Introduction to Technology course. Consequently, digital transformation percolates within our teaching in several courses--and in newly designated study tracks. These tracks are options for all business students to consider as part of their bachelor experience, and are typically a six course sequence.

One of these tracks is a bachelor certificate in Data Analytics, which is now available. Digital transformation is also being integrated into our longstanding Certificate in Entrepreneurship, and will serve as a motto as we develop our future undergraduate Certificate in Digital Marketing Management (an option planned for Fall 2019). Further, as information security is no longer an option but a necessity, it is important to note that our M.S. in Computer Science offers an “Emphasis in CyberSecurity”, leveraging academic expertise from across the global Webster University network.

Highly motivated and talented students who are part of the scholars program are also given the opportunity to conduct a research thesis on related themes, such as digital marketing, FinTech, block-chain, Internet Of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning. Looking beyond the curriculum, our department now gives students the opportunity to join an annual study trip to our Shanghai campus, to analyze “Digital Transformation” in the incredible and dynamic context of China. In the near future, our “Market Accelerator Program” will be hosting several start-ups engaged in digital transformation.

In support of these initiatives, in Spring 2019, the Walker School has formed and hosted its first annual Advisory Board meeting on Digital Transformation, comprised of business leaders from this sector, to monitor the pulse of industry and to solicit inputs from top managers, as the need for skills and talent may adapt over time." 

Dominique Jolly
Chair of Walker School of Business and Technology