In all my years researching the digital economy, I couldn’t have predicted how a global pandemic would force reliance on technology in such new and unexpected ways. Sure, I had significant insight into how the internet and waves of digitization disrupt and transform how we do business and even the way we educate students, but the sudden pivot to near 100% reliance on virtual platforms has been challenging. It has served as a wake-up call that the future is now—this is the “new normal.” We have quickly learned to be innovative and transformative. Not only have we pivoted our teaching modes, but the entire Wisconsin School of Business community has found new ways of working, connecting, and collaborating in these virtual times.
I’m thankful that WSB has been able to successfully deliver courses through a hybrid model of in-person and remote delivery for much of the Fall 2020 semester. In true Business Badger fashion, our faculty, staff, and students have displayed resilience in navigating this new environment and I invite you to read some of their perspectives.
We have learned a lot from transitioning our courses and programming to the online space, reinforcing our belief that there are many benefits to virtual learning. We recognized this even before the pandemic as we began developing the Wisconsin Professional MBA, an innovative, flexible new degree delivered through 50% online and 50% in-person instruction. I look forward to welcoming students into the program next year and to building upon this program to create opportunity for our alumni to access courses on demand as part of WSB’s lifelong learning platform.
I would be remiss not to share a special note of gratitude to the five alumni who contributed stories of their own professional journeys and how they have been shaped by their racial identity. These are authentic, courageous stories that can help us all broaden our perspective and deepen our understanding of what some people of color experience in the workplace.
As we near the end of 2020, I thank all of our alumni and friends for the ways you have supported the Wisconsin School of Business and one another throughout a turbulent year. I am proud to be part of this inspiring community and I am eager to continue our partnership of innovation to enhance the impact of Business Badgers across the globe.
Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy
Albert O. Nicholas Dean
Wisconsin School of Business