How the Coronavirus Will Change the Landscape of Business, Higher Education

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Non-essential business has come to a halt. Essential business is oftentimes working in a limited capacity and if people are working, most of them are doing it from home.

The same goes for students. Whether school-aged or higher education, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people do business and learn.

While those changes are evident right now, Michael Davis, economics professor at Southern Methodist University said things won’t completely go digital forever.

“Face to face will certainly not become obsolete,” Davis said. “If anything, I think we’re learning that for some things, we absolutely have to be in the same room at the same time. I do think, though, that we’re getting a much better idea what those things are. Sometimes a quick email or Zoom call is the best way to get things done. Other times you need to sit down over coffee. When all this is over and we have a choice about how to interact, we’ll be much better at finding the best way to do it.”

As business changes, certain companies are seeing significant benefits. Especially companies helping people work from home.

“Zoom is a big winner. Their technology seems to be holding up very well and their stock price has almost doubled since last year. There’s no guarantee that they’ll continue with such as success, but I think a lot of people who didn’t know about Zoom three weeks ago have been informed and been impressed,” Davis said.

As for moving all of higher education online, there are pros and cons, according to Davis who teaches some.

“Online classes, at least the ones I teach at SMU, are going as well as I could hope. I was already teaching one class in our new online MBA program and so I’d already had some experience. After this is over, the movement to online teaching may not happen any faster but it will definitely be smarter,” Davis said.

He also pointed out, whether students and teachers were forced into it or not, they are learning what kinds of lessons can be taught online and what still requires personal interaction.

“For example, I’ve discovered that teaching some more objective, technical topics is actually better online—since everything is recorded, the students can go back replay a section and review.  Even for that, though, it still helps to get students together with an instructor to talk about what they’ve really learned, where it applies and how to avoid making mistakes,” Davis said.

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