Predictions on the workplace of 2040 nets MBA student top prize in HR competition

Posted on April 23, 2010

Suanne Nielsen, Senior VP & CAO, Foresters Insurance with Focus 2040 winner Sandeep Achar.
Suanne Nielsen, Senior VP & CAO, Foresters Insurance with Focus 2040 winner Sandeep Achar.

With graduation looming and final assignments due, MBA’2010 student Sandeep Achar looked beyond his immediate future to imagine what the world of work will be like in 2040. Along with Commerce student Dylan Dilecce, BCom’13, Sandeep participated in Focus 2040, a competition jointly organized by The Strategic Capability Network (SCNetwork), a national association of senior HR executives and practitioners, and McMaster University’s DeGroote School Of Business.

Sandeep captured the top prize – a six-month paid internship as a member of the HR consulting team at Foresters Insurance in Toronto. His presentations envisaged disaggregated workplaces made possible by technology that will make physical office spaces almost redundant, ‘Swat teams’ of like-minded skilled workers offering their expertise for hire, and artificial intelligence advances producing robotic and ‘bio-bot’ (part human, part machine) coworkers. Challenges HR managers will face will include “tackling diversity on different dimensions: between humans and robots, between cultures, nationalities and religions,” he predicts.

Sandeep came out on top of the three-phase competition by first submitting a 750-word entry describing the worker of 2040, followed by a 1500-word submission that described the workplace and work environment of the future. These two submissions impressed the judges – a panel of academics and HR experts – who chose him, along with eight other business students from across Canada, to present his vision at the finals held in Hamilton on March 23.

Before judges and spectators, Sandeep and the other finalists presented their vision of how the workplace of 2040 will operate, and included their proposed organizational models designed to effectively engage the workers of tomorrow.

Sandeep and the second and third-place finishers, Vanya Grover and Viva Nsair, both MBA students at DeGroote, will reprise their winning presentations at an event hosted by the Human Resources Planning Society, at Toronto’s National Club on May 6.