Smurfit North American Emeritus Board
Brian Ruane – Leadership Lesson
Brian Ruane is the CEO of BNY Mellon’s Government Securities Services. He is a member of the Smurfit School’s North American Emeritus Advisory Board.
About Brian Ruane
What are your thoughts on current trends in business education and specifically the MBA?
I think it is an exciting time in business education for students, faculty and business leaders. The MBA in particular has evolved and widened in scope. Often in the past it was seen as a route into large corporate, government, technology or finance.
However, some students are interested in pursuing more entrepreneurial careers and that is being reflected in the changing syllabus.
Entrepreneurship is important today right across the board – especially in large companies, where these skills are needed to identify new business opportunities.
Data analytics is another area many businesses are focused on. Firms now see data as core to their business, whether they are in technology, financial services or other industries.
In my opinion, leadership will always be an important component of business education. Future leaders need to be adaptable: what’s right for one time may not be right for another time. So, studying leadership case studies is vital. Given the changing role of work, an important skill for future leaders is continuous learning and the ability to reinvent oneself.
As well as leadership, entrepreneurship and data analytics, other important areas in MBA education include partnership with business, industry and government, and culture and ethics.
In terms of the MBA format, one change has been the move toward a flexible MBA programme designed to suit busy student lifestyles. Today’s students recognise the value of work experience, internships and alumni networks.
What are some of the current opportunities for graduates?
The job market remains strong in finance, management consulting and technology, offering new graduates many opportunities.
As we look to the future, I see opportunities for graduates in: 1) fintech, 2) data analytics and 3) infrastructure finance.
Graduates often ask which way industry trends are heading so they can try to leverage opportunities that might offer the best opportunity. The future of work will no doubt include: robotics, artificial intelligence and digital. I think the best thing is to follow your passion. It’s important to lean into your strengths and approach opportunities in the most positive way.
What is your perspective on leadership?
The importance of leadership in organisations cannot be over-emphasised. President John F Kennedy said “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. With that in mind, I believe leaders benefit from being close to business schools and it certainly benefits graduates who, in addition to all the skills they are gaining, want to know they are going to get work experience that’s relevant.