DeGroote MBA Alum Encourages Digital Transformation, Warns Of Automation

DeGroote MBA Alum

Almost every industry is affected by digital transformation to some degree or another, which is why it’s so important for the next generation of business professionals to embrace this technology revolution. At the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, business students are trained to excel in this area, and that’s exactly what Anne Connelly, an MBA ’10, did.

Connelly is the Vice Chair of Blockchain Canada, and she was recently selected as one of just 80 participants at Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, which teaches entrepreneurs how to use exponential technologies to solve problems around the world. She’s also worked for Doctors Without Borders in the Central African Republic and DR Congo.

For Connelly, working as a woman at the intersection of finance and technology has come with challenges but also benefits. She hopes to set an example for others and to inspire people to work in a space that they are truly passionate about. As for technology, she feels it provides many significant opportunities.

“Technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain are the future,” Connelly said in an interview. “MBA students need to understand how they work and how to work with them, not as a leg-up, but in order to simply survive. Those who are not willing or able to adapt will not find themselves employed.”

Connelly went on to say that she believes—thanks to automation, blockchain and artificial intelligence—that approximately 5 percent of Canadian jobs will disappear over the next decade. These new technologies will do things like protect personal data from hacks. Currently, personal medical records are still sent by fax and credit card details are regularly stolen, but technologies like blockchain will fix these issues.

“From an enterprise perspective, blockchains are going to be the bedrock of almost every industry that conducts transactions of value,” Connelly said. “Think well beyond pure finance into supply chain, governance, insurance, healthcare, extraction and entertainment … the most critical skill for students to learn is adaptability.”

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