The metaverse is still taking shape, but it is becoming too big for businesses to ignore. Powered by a range of emerging technologies including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), this virtual universe is expected to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, according to consults McKinsey & Company.
The metaverse continues to be an elusive space, however, with company executives concerned about incorporating the metaverse into their company’s operations because of the uncertain return on investment, inability to design a suitable business model, and the lack of managerial capability.
In response to these challenges, several business schools are now running executive courses to provide business leaders with the frameworks they need to develop strategies to capture the real value that will be generated in this virtual market.
One of those schools is Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, whose Aresty Institute of Executive Education in July launched a new online program, Business in the Metaverse Economy, in collaboration with the economic consulting firm Prysm Group.
This six-week certificate program is designed for business and technology professionals seeking to learn about the economic and technological elements that will drive the metaverse’s development, and how firms can gain value.
“We designed this program for business professionals and executives from a range of backgrounds, including finance, management, and tech,” says the program’s academic director, Professor Kevin Werbach of the Wharton School.
“The metaverse is a significant and broad phenomenon that is still poorly understood. We hope to equip business leaders, consultants, and entrepreneurs with an understanding of the impending opportunities the metaverse brings, as well as the practical knowledge to build solutions of value.”
Next evolution of the internet
Through immersion activities, executives in the Wharton program will benefit from first-hand use of metaverse technology for an interactive learning experience.
Guido Molinari, managing partner at Prysm Group, says: “From folks interested in learning how the metaverse is going to be the new evolution of the mobile internet, to those looking to develop their own solutions leveraging the unique opportunities the metaverse brings to engage with customers in novel ways, this program focuses on the business value this mix of emerging technologies is going to deliver to companies globally.”
In Europe, ESCP Business School is also helping to prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities, particularly in terms of technology. In September, it launched an online training course, Metaverse for Business, which is designed those who wish to better understand the key concepts and issues in order to seize the opportunities.
Becoming actors of digital transformation
Developed in partnership with NETEXPLO, this short, online program will allow participants to acquire the skills and tools necessary to become actors of the digital transformation within their companies. “Beyond the media buzz, today, no one really knows what the metaverse is. Every manager, especially those working in the innovation, digital, marketing and HR departments, must have an informed opinion on the subject in order to seize its opportunities,” says the program director Margot de Lasteyrie, of ESCP.
The metaverse appears to be of increasingly paramount importance to businesses around the world. “During the pandemic, we lived even more of our lives online, making our daily reality a combination of the physical world and a digital environment. As a new form of reality, the metaverse transcends the physical and the virtual. By creating the sensation of presence through the latest tools, it opens up new ways to interact, learn, play and shop, generating new business opportunities,” de Lasteyrie says.
Hands-on experience with immersive technologies
Elsewhere, the MIT Sloan School of Management runs a course called “Business Implications of Extended Reality (XR): Harnessing the Value of AR, VR, Metaverse, and More”. The program provides a practical and immersive introduction to the metaverse technologies as they apply to organizations seeking to drive and sustain new value from these digital experiences.
The program is delivered over two days in person, with participants using cutting-edge, extended reality technologies so that they gain hands-on experience that they can build upon in their teams and organizations. The course is delivered by MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Paul McDonagh-Smith, an expert in the technologies that underpin the metaverse.
“There is so much to be curious about as new technologies and digital experiences are reshaping business practices into the future,” says McDonagh-Smith. “My vision is to enable senior leaders to have the unique opportunity to explore and experiment in ways that will help them re-think how we can work, learn, communicate, and partner with new digital-reality innovations.”