MBA program meets demand for careers in blockchain

Cibeles Duran, 03-24-2022

As Miami continues to grow as a main tech hub, Miami Herbert Business School prepares future leaders for the field.


Miami, a mecca for international commerce and tech entrepreneurship, continues to flourish as a new hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain innovators. Local leadership, notably City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, has actively cultivated a favorable regulatory environment for technology startups and established companies alike, allowing for a growing tech ecosystem that today calls the attention of industry players across technology and innovation sectors.

As a main higher education institution in the region, the University of Miami’s Patti and Allan Herbert Business School supports the momentum by preparing future leaders with the knowledge and decision-making skills necessary to enter and thrive in the growing arena. Miami Herbert Dean John Quelch leads curricula and programming to reflect business technology as a key pillar of business evolution, implementing an understanding of the subject across programs with the help of faculty within the School’s own business technology department.

“We are not only looking at what is happening in the city in the short term, but also at what is happening long term in business communities worldwide,” states Business Technology Professor Robert Wayne Gregory, referring to disruptive technologies that gain strength around the globe. Government officials in El Salvador, for example, have already adopted cryptocurrency, based on blockchain technology, as an official form of monetary exchange.

Among programs keenly designed to meet the increasing reliance on technology within business, Miami Herbert’s flagship full-time MBA program carries a focus on technical and analytical areas as well as general management, hence equipping students with the skills to steer all aspects of an enterprise including finance, governance, and risk assessment. As of this year, the program also features two new courses with heavy emphasis on cryptocurrency and blockchain.

In one of the courses, Technology and Innovation, students learn to identify the connections between innovations and relevant regulatory systems. Blockchain, for instance, enables opportunities in digital transformations but also carries limitations and risks amid developing regulations in a still emergent industry.

“If you are innovating blockchain technology, you are essentially operating in a space with significant uncertainty,” says Gregory, who teaches the course. “MBA students need to learn how to make decisions in such a context. They need to understand the opportunities and also the regulatory issues and risks because they are going to have to manage these once they take any managerial position in the blockchain industry.”

The second course, Blockchain and the Internet of Value, provides an understanding of the current direction towards Web 3.0, a new form of decentralized connectivity based on blockchain technology that enables the tokenizing of creator data, essentially returning creative control to the user.

Course professor, Ola Henfridsson, a Schein Family endowed chair and professor of business technology, calls the movement “more democratic, hopefully leading to a world in which creation is valued and not exploited.”

“Currently we have top tech companies monetizing information about us as a business model for advertisers, but we can already see how that market is crumbling. Web 3.0, or the internet of value, will offer new business models in which creators will be able to close the gap between ownership and control,” he explains.

The Internet of Value (IoV) is about the immediate transfer of value between individuals or organizations without needing an intermediary or middleman such as banks and network providers, leading some corporate players to see the technology as a threat. However, what is seen as a threat can also be seen as an opportunity for business creativity and innovation.

“It is always the case,” Henfridsson points out. “That’s innovation. It will disrupt industries. It will trade something new and replace something else, but hopefully with more value created.”

In addition to the targeted courses, students seeking a career in cryptocurrency or blockchain receive the benefit of learning in the epicenter of industry activity with reach to major events, like The North American Bitcoin Conference, Miami Tech Week, eMerge Americas, and the upcoming Bitcoin 2022. Students also enjoy networking and mentorship opportunities, often including connections to alumni working in the field.

“I cannot think of any other place in the world than Miami that would be a better fit if you want a career in this industry,” Henfridsson says, adding that the advent of blockchain has set into motion the fastest adoption of any technology since the internet.

“Going into crypto right now is like going into the internet space in 1997,” he says.

With such a prospect for continued growth, Miami Herbert faculty are not slowing down a forward-thinking approach. Additional course developments already underway include Management of Digital Transformation, a new course designed by Gregory and to launch this May.