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Are you ready for the journey?

By Carlos Hornstein

I am about to meet my primary and secondary Swiss School classmates in Barcelona, most of whom I have not seen for more than 30 years. This event triggered a few questions I would like to reflect on.

How did we see the world back then? What did we do? Who did we want to become? It also made me think about the brands I interacted with. I still remember my first camera: it was a Kodak, and of course used Kodak film. My grandfather gave it to me. He inspired in me a love of travel and photography. Back then there were no PCs, internet or mobile phones...but we had Atari!

A few years went by, and I got my first cell phone, a Nokia, and then a Blackberry. I used to rent movies at Blockbuster, and my favourite car was an Austin. Where are all those brands today? Yes, I had my share of Coca-Cola, and I wear Levi's jeans.

We all know life is about change, and we need to adapt to thrive and, in some cases, to survive. How we face those challenges and obstacles will determine our path. Having a positive attitude is necessary but not sufficient; we need to see things differently. Did you know that the Chinese character for ‘crisis’ has two meanings: threat and opportunity? We all know that sooner or later digitalisation, life-long and bite-sized learning, commoditisation of content, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other trends will affect us.

At a recent conference of Executive Education executives from peer schools, I told my group we might be teaching robots in the future. They all looked at me as if I was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (by the way, a great movie from my childhood). Funnily enough, later on people smiled and told the wider group that it could potentially happen.

We cannot stand still. We need to see things differently, we need to do things differently. But first we need to answer a key question: who do we want to become? What business are we in? Or, in other words, what would it take for us to become the Amazon, Google, Netflix of Academia? LBS has been a trailblazer for more than 50 years, and will continue to have a profound impact on the way the world does business by helping and inspiring people to grow.

Which path do we want to take? Let's be courageous. The journey starts today.