Full-time MBA: All change – MBS Business Summit 2014

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Liam Wadsworth, Class of 2015, reviews this year’s business summit – an annual event run by a committee of Full-time MBAs.

There are few things in life that are certain but change is one of them; this was the basis of the annual MBS Business Summit. This year the theme was disruptive technology and the summit was hosted at the beautiful Palace Hotel, a stone’s throw from MBS.

With nearly 30 speakers and multiple sessions and workshops, the day was filled with something for everyone. The opening speaker eloquently showed how, thanks to step changes in his lifetime, he had purchased the same music three times in different formats! This was the first of many examples throughout the day to highlight that there is no way to shelter a business from disruption. The real question is: are you going to be disrupted or are you going to disrupt?

The first workshop focused on start-ups and how to bring your disruption to the market. On the panel was Uber, a company that has changed the taxi industry forever – though not without a fight! Joining them was FanVox, a start-up that is giving a new voice to football fans the world over. A great display of what can be achieved when stagnation has set in.

The next talk was on arguably the biggest buzzword of the moment, ‘big data’, with insights coming from consulting experts. This highlighted issues that are often in the news, data privacy and security, which will not go away in our digital world. Big data is many things but the power is derived from statistics and computational power. So, the ‘dull’ world of statistics is the power behind our current buzz and excitement!

The theme flowed beautifully after lunch with the focus turning to the internet of things. The world is getting more and more connected and with it comes endless possibilities. Image this, a smart t-shirt that could tell when a public transport driver was going to have a heart attack six hours before it happened. Lifesaving. Turns out it is already in use in Hong Kong! Combined with big data, the internet of things really is set to disrupt our lives.

The day ended on an inspiring note with ‘Cut the crap™’ expertly delivered by Ajaz Ahmed, an entrepreneur who disrupted internet service providers and made billions in the process. Not bad to say all he did was solve the issue in front of him with an incredibly simple idea. It goes to show not everything has to be complicated to be a smash hit – the power of disruption!

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Manchester Business School has a global reputation for innovative and influential teaching and research, which impacts business on a local, national and international level. We call this Original Thinking Applied.

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