McCombs Executive Summit discusses disruptive technologies

Raza Retiwala

From the Industrial Revolution to the age of Netflix, technological innovation often comes at a price. 

Last month, students and officials in the McCombs School of Business discussed this issue at their annual executive summit. The summit, themed “Navigating the Tides of Technological Disruption,” showcased a series of events focusing on how companies can stay afloat in a world of disruptive innovation.

“It was interesting to look at how technological advancement can both help and hurt us at the same time,” marketing sophomore Avanti Vyza said.  “How [will] our future look as technology increases at an exponential rate?”  

The event featured a panel of business executives and Prabhudev Konana, management information systems honors professor. They discussed topics such as autonomous vehicles, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. 

These developing technologies can sometimes involve ethical dilemmas, such as the effects of AI on job security. The panels of speakers discussed this in their conversation. 

“There was a lot of discussion on [the growing trend] of AI,” Konana said. “Do we need a lot of people to do the work? What do you do with the people who can’t be employed?” 

In another of the summit’s events, the students networked with notable companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Accenture and Visa. 

The students also participated in a case competition, in which they crafted business strategies for an unnamed transportation company. The executives designed this simulation to teach students to adapt to new advancements, such as the self-driving car industry.  

“I think [the summit] was valuable because students got to know more about what disruptive innovation is,” said MIS sophomore Ananya Jha, vice president of the MIS Association. “[They] were able to get valuable input from industry professionals who have seen it have an effect on their lives and their jobs.”

The McCombs Executive Summit is organized by the Undergraduate Business Council and the MIS Association and happens at the beginning of every spring semester. Past summits had themes such as big data, human capital and developing mobile technologies.