A Harvard Professor Brings 5G to M.B.A. Students

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In David Yoffie’s Harvard Business School class, he wants his management students to envision the business opportunities 5G could bring that they one day could profit from. And he encourages them to think big.

“I describe it as a revolution in its early stages,” he says.

The professor has spent nearly two decades studying communications technology while teaching at Harvard Business School. He also was on the board of Intel Corp. for 29 years, until 2018, and has been on the board of Taiwanese consumer-electronics company HTC Corp. for about 10 years. Most recently, he’s been telling his M.B.A. students they need to learn about 5G to be prepared for the future of business.

“When 4G emerged, I was on the board of Intel, and we had no idea what kinds of applications would be possible in a 4G world besides more speed,” he says. “If anyone said we’d have Uber or have hundreds of millions of people streaming videos on their phones because of 4G, we would have shaken our head and said ‘Sure.’ ”

Prof. Yoffie explains to students that companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Netflix Inc. were the biggest beneficiaries of 4G technology, not the wireless carriers themselves.

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