In the modern age of commerce, one cannot ignore technology’s rapid development and impact on business any longer. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing are significantly altering the blueprint on which both multinational corporations and start-ups alike conduct business.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this “digital disruption” as retailers shift to e-commerce, consumers embrace digital forms of entertainment, and organisations adapt to work-from-home models. Given these shifts, it is essential that students and graduates interested in business-related careers are aware of new technological innovations and the opportunities they can provide.

Careers of the Future is an original series airing exclusively on The Ismaili TV, where students and young professionals can hear directly from Ismailis at the leading edge of their fields about how to most effectively prepare for the future of work.

In two of our recent episodes, we heard from Natasha Walji and Karim Gillani. Natasha is a director at Google where she leads their Tech, Telecom & Public Sector business for Canada. Karim is a venture capitalist and the co-founder of Luge Capital. His work focuses on using capital from large investors to help fund promising new start-ups.

Both episodes examine the development of technology and its impact on the way people and institutions conduct business. As a venture capitalist, Karim identifies companies or start-ups that have long-term potential and are technologically advanced. The more tech-savvy a company is, he asserts, the more ready it will be for emerging challenges and opportunities. 

Similarly, Natasha stresses the importance of understanding the technological trends and tools that will be relevant in a student’s area of interest, including for fields that may not be obviously tech-related. She encourages students to consider how their desired professions will be shaped by innovation and then seek out the skills they will need to ensure they remain relevant into the future. 

“My number one insight is to think about how technology can be applied to your profession [and how] technology can transform the way you work,” she said.

While demand for employees who can combine both business and technology skills will continue to rise, both Karim and Natasha emphasise that there isn’t a single deliberate path that one must take to become a future-ready business leader. Instead of attempting to find a single strategic path to emulate, Karim encourages students to gain a diverse range of skills from computer science to finance to law. 

Along with enabling students to keep up with the brisk pace of technological change, gaining a diverse skill set can also equip students interested in business to effectively respond to the new opportunities that arise as a result of emerging social problems and rapid innovation. 

For students currently trying to map out their career paths, Natasha suggested several strategies to help bring structure to their planning. Using long-term goals (which she recommends be written down by hand) and a rolling five-year plan can allow one to think through their career in a thoughtful and sequenced way. She also suggested using vision boarding — using a physical display to visualise goals — as a means of identifying one’s career trajectory and life goals. 

While the future of business remains uncertain, students have an opportunity to equip themselves early on with the skills and mindset necessary to thrive in their future careers. 

You can view Natasha’s episode here, Karim’s episode here, and all episodes of Careers of the Future here.