Today’s Masters curricula are full of diverse graduate courses which are increasingly going digital. Students who are curious and ambitious can rely on practical learning just as much as on theory-based assignments. They can choose to step out of their comfort zone and explore an unfamiliar subject from an entirely different field. But how are digital transformation and advances in technology shaping some of the most popular professional fields?
Young professionals who are passionate about digital innovation and creative environments usually thrive in the fast-paced marketing industry. This field continues to be shaped by the evolution of social media platforms, online content, and the ever-increasing smartphone usage. While it’s important for marketing specialists to be able to learn on the go and adapt to the new hype during their work process, Masters programmes in Marketing are not oblivious to all the latest developments either.
Let’s take as an example the Master of Science in Digital Marketing Management at the University of Strathclyde (UK) which features a mix of courses including Marketing Research in the Digital Age, Leadership for Change and Innovation, and eMarketing Practice. The latter subject is said to focus on a rich variety of practical skills such as e-commerce, social media, pay-per-click, SEO, affiliate marketing, email marketing, and others.
In addition, students in this programme have a compulsory practical course called a Digital Transformative Project in which they are required to develop a digital plan for a company of their choosing. “Selected businesses will offer insights into their operations at a digital marketing clinic […]. You’ll have the opportunity to explore specific problems related to digital marketing and management which will form the basis of your final project report. Networking and communication skills should be developed during this project,” is the explanation on the programme’s website.
The financial industry has not been immune to the tech revolution either. Fintech (financial technology) companies have been quick to disrupt traditional banking and financial services, especially for millennials and Generation Z. Digital wallets, mobile-first payment systems, and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payment offerings just scratch the surface of the innovative banking solutions available around the globe. So how do international Masters programmes address these in their curricula?
Dublin Business School (Ireland) is one of the many schools that have recently started offering Master of Science degrees in Fintech. The world of finance is changing and more and more universities are realising that digitalisation, blockchain, and the cloud are not just buzzwords anymore – they are our reality. According to a recent article in The Irish Times, the Fintech programme in Dublin was developed in close collaboration with industry representatives “to meet specific skills shortages in the finance sector including banking, insurance, tech, and startups.” This is where students get to learn about financial analytics, advanced databases, and more disruptive technologies.
It’s not just fintech programmes that can teach students how to survive and thrive in this competitive environment. Andrea Bonaceto, who graduated with an MSc in Finance from Imperial College Business School (UK), is now the founder and CEO of a blockchain investment fund. Although he says that the banking system is not fully ready to embrace blockchain yet, he believes that his experiential training has helped him with the challenges in his field. “What I appreciate about Imperial is that they were very pragmatic. They taught me the skills that I’m now using on a day-to-day basis. There were particular courses […] where the professor brought big corporates and big investment banks to show what they are doing in practice,” Mr Bonaceto recalls about his educational experience.
At this point you might be thinking: “I understand how marketing and finance are transformed by the digital era but what do sports have to do with technology?” Don’t forget that sports and entertainment are heavily represented on both traditional and digital media outlets. “Sport is embracing digital technologies to improve performance and shake up tired and redundant business practices,” says Loughborough University (UK) which offers its own Master of Science in Sport Analytics and Technologies. According to Dr Steve Swanson, a senior lecturer at Loughborough, the programme is ideal for aspiring sport business professionals and innovative sport leaders who are passionate about raising the global profile of the UK’s sport industry.
The digital impact on sports is quite significant. Graduate students who choose to specialise in this field will learn how to interpret sports data, what role e-commerce, social networking, online communities, and video streaming play in the business of sports, and how new technologies even impact the design of stadium and facility environments.
Staying on top of all the new technology trends is great, but it is just as important to learn the foundations of your field of study. Prospective students who want to get into a business programme can find an exciting range of study opportunities that teach a hybrid of the two. Traditional must-know management and emerging digital strategy go hand in hand in programmes such as the Master of Science in Strategy and Digital Business at ESCP Europe.
In this programme, students can expect to follow foundational modules such as International Management and Strategic Decision Making alongside disruptive courses such as Foundations of Coding and Ethics of AI. If you find the combination somewhat eclectic, the school has an explanation. According to Dr Philip Meissner, Academic Director of the programme, the goal is not to turn students into coders or digital marketers, but to help them coordinate the different aspects of business. “As industries and products become more digital being able to understand and manage digitalisation is a crucial determinant for success in the job market,” says ESCP Europe.
If the concept of hybrid business studies appeals to you, you can expect to see many different programme names. For instance, GISMA Business School (Germany) offers a Master of Science in Leadership for Digital Transformation. A graduate programme with a similar focus at Jönköping University in Sweden is called the Master of Science in Digital Business.
If you are passionate about making a difference in your industry and you believe technology can be the tool to get you there, be sure to explore as many study options as possible. Start looking for the one that strikes the right balance today.