The business world has changed.
Online shopfronts are now more important than bricks-and-mortar stores. Video-conferencing makes it easier than ever to connect with each other, whether it’s a work meeting or a family catch-up. And around the world, business has shifted from boardrooms to home offices.
How does this change what you need for career success?
Business in an online era
Australian companies are searching for new ways to succeed online, whether that’s connecting with customers, creating innovative business models or finding the most effective ways of working remotely.
La Trobe Adjunct Professor Phil Dolan believes some of these responses may become permanent adjustments as established business practices fall out of favour.
‘Even before, businesses were facing a challenging environment – issues to do with supply chain management, with reliability, with managing workforces across multiple locations,’ says Professor Dolan.
There’ll be some changes, I suspect, that have happened that will be permanent – such as the value of online meetings. Companies will be re-considering paying a lot of money for CBD space when they’ve seen that having everyone in the office five days a week isn’t necessary.
‘I think companies will increasingly question some of the practices they’ve had in the past.’
Now more than ever, there are huge opportunities for innovative minds who can analyse problems and translate them into business solutions.
Entrepreneurs ready to lead in an online marketplace. Versatile thinkers who can blend business and management skills to transform organisations. Workers with specialist technical skills in fields like analytics or digital marketing. These are the types of candidates who could capitalise in the new job market.
The skills you need to succeed
Of course, you’ll still need many of the same skills that have always driven career success.
This means having core business knowledge that can be applied in jobs across all sectors. Knowing how to spot commercial opportunities and capitalise on them. Having the confidence to produce business and marketing plans that create value.
Employers also want candidates with human skills, like the creativity to produce business and marketing plans that push a company ahead of the pack, as well as the confidence to drive daring ideas.
As Professor Dolan says, ‘Typically, a company looking to hire someone will take it as a given that candidates have technical skills. That might get you an interview, but it might not get you a job.
‘Companies increasingly want well-rounded individuals with experience in things like personal skills, teamwork and time management. If all you’ve got is technical skills, your career could plateau. What they want to know is that you’re someone whose career can last for decades.
‘That means being able to manage a team. It means being able to relate to clients, third parties, suppliers and stakeholders. It means if that, if you have good ideas, you can communicate them in persuasive ways and build the coalitions that it takes to deliver success.’
And in an environment where business is being done by video link-ups, personal skills may actually be more vital than ever.
‘One of the things that’s coming out of this whole situation is how important people skills are,’ says Professor Dolan.
‘You read about people who are used to being in face-to-face situations and getting the outcomes they want, and they’re finding out whether they’re as effective when they’re just looking at someone on a screen.
‘Knowing when to speak up in a meeting, reading other people’s body language – this is becoming more important, and it’s a skill that can be learned.’
A career-ready education
At La Trobe University, we’re leaders in business and commerce education. Our courses are developed in consultation with industry leaders, expert business professionals and data specialists. And, of course, our AACSB accreditation means you’ll graduate with qualifications recognised around the world.
In our courses, you’ll learn the core skills for your field, like accounting and management. But whatever the future holds, we want to help you keep your options open. So we’ll also give you a full toolkit by teaching you the human skills that help in any role, in any sector.
As Professor Dolan puts it:
‘We don’t want to teach students what to think. You’re much better off teaching them how to think and giving them a broad suite of skills that are transferable – things like creativity, negotiation, teamwork and so on.
‘At La Trobe, we expose students to different industries, different case studies and different tools. We give them the chance to practice their skills in groups and individually so they understand what industry’s needs are.
‘We certainly give students a wide range of technical skills. But more importantly, we give them an understanding of how that fits into the bigger picture of the industry they’re working in, so they can adapt as the demands of the business world change.’
With a postgraduate degree in business and commerce from La Trobe, you’ll be ready for whatever opportunities come your way.