5 Academic Centers For The Digital Economy

Danielle Beurteaux

Do we have enough digital leaders for the next stage of the digital economy?

Schools around the world are responding to demand for programs that address how the digital economy is changing the world. More institutes of higher learning, particularly business schools, are now offering degree and certificate programs to prepare students and executives for a future of Big Data, analytics, entrepreneurship, and new business models.

Here are five programs that seek to educate the next wave of digital leaders.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s Sloan School of Business launched its Initiative on the Digital Economy in 2013 to understand and address to the business and societal effects of the digital economy. Research done by the Initiative include the topics of environmental sustainability, Big Data, and wages.

The center doesn’t grant degree or certificates, but it does host conferences, and it recently announced the launch of the Inclusive Innovation Competition, which seeks to discover ways to ensure workers aren’t left behind in the digital economy.

Coming soon: a one-day conference about the on-demand economy on March 15.

2. University of Exeter

This university gets high marks both nationally and globally as a top college pick. Beginning in 2017, it will offer a post-grad MSc Digital Economy program. It includes a module on innovative digital economy business models.

Exeter consistently ranks highly in UK school rankings, and the business school is in the Streatham campus in Cornwall. The university has recently been investing in new buildings and upgrades—the campus is also a stunner, even boasting a botanical garden.

3. Cornell University Johnson at Cornell Tech

Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management launched the Johnson Cornell Tech MBA, a one-year MBA program, in 2013. It combines entrepreneurship, technology, and business practices, and includes the Startup Studio where students launch their own companies. Last year, Cornell broke ground at the site of its new campus on Roosevelt Island, which is being designed primarily by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with the idea of creating an environment that encourages spontaneous interactions.

4. McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business

Based in Burlington, Ontario, this university recently announced the launch of its executive MBA in Digital Transformation. Classes will take place in both Burlington and Silicon Valley over 13 months. The program was developed in concert with some big industry names, including IBM and CIBC.

5. UC Irvine

UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business is home to the Center for Digital Transformation, an enterprise-focused research arm that seeks to help companies adapt to the digital economy. Upcoming events include the conference Road to Reinvention: Leadership in the Digital Age. Also recently announced was a certificate in Big Data and analytics.

The focus of the business school focus is the “socially responsible and sustainable business growth in the global innovation economy,” according to its website, and it was ranked one of the top 25 MBAs by The Financial Times. It recently broke ground for a new $50 million building.

For more on the effect of the digital economy on recruiting, see How Digital Transformation Is Shifting Talent And Hiring.


Danielle Beurteaux

About Danielle Beurteaux

Danielle Beurteaux is a New York–based writer who covers business, technology, and philanthropy. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and on Popular Mechanics, CNN, and Institutional Investor's Alpha, among other outlets.