Ethical Leadership

Outlining MBA Perceptions of the Future of Work

London (UK), May 2020 - MBA students and graduates have shared their thoughts on how business will change in the future - paying special attention to the rise of artificial intelligence; the importance of diversity and equality; and the role of responsible and ethical leadership in establishing trust between the business world and the public, in light of issues such as climate change. 

In April, as part of its partnership with Hult International Business School for its Career Connections Online Forum, AMBA asked more than 120 MBA students and graduates to share their views and perceptions on the future of work.

AMBA asked the respondents these questions:

  • To what extent do you think the careers to which we aspire are under threat of being taken over by AI?
  • To what extent do you think it’s time we stopped talking about ‘female’ leadership or ‘BAME’ leadership and just started talking about leadership?
  • What needs to change in business for society to trust in its ability to make a positive difference in the world?

The results demonstrate the strongly held views of these leaders of tomorrow: 

1. On artificial intelligence, responses included the following:

'We have to lose the current types of careers and innovate new ones to gain all of the advantages of technologies.'

'Soft skills will become more important than technical skills that can be replaced by technology.'

'From my personal experience in banking and finance, the sector is increasingly under the imminent threat of AI takeover ... This could potentially wipe out the jobs of millions of existing and potential wealth managers.'

'Over the next ten years, artificial intelligence will make more progress than in the 50 before it combined. With countless quickly oncoming applications to business, government, and personal life, its influence will soon touch absolutely every aspect of our lives ... As AI continues to evolve, many white-collar workers are also feeling threatened by automation – including salespeople.'

2. On diversity, responses included the following:

'What will the future of the workplace look like if all white male children are told leadership roles (as well as all higher professions and business roles) are for women and BAME candidates? This is a catastrophic message for the future economy that is being reinforced by a media agenda and self-interest of these groups.'

'I agree as this constant navel gazing, seeing every issue through a feminist or BAME perspective, distracts from identifying the best and most-talented candidates for the job.'

'We should start thinking about the importance of acquiring leadership competencies rather than prioritising gender for the sake of supporting the worldwide initiative when selecting the right candidates.'

3. On the issue of trust, responses included the following:

'In my opinion, it is time to tone down the CSR talk and think about the company business statement.'

'The recent COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we need to be flexible and prepared to re-shift our focus in non-economic goals as needed.'