If you are not sure if a classic business education is still relevant, then this blog post is for you!
Knowledge and skill acquisition come in all colors and shapes these days. They can take the form of short courses or short training programs and enable participants to respond to a specific need in a very targeted way. Some examples you might have encountered include micro-credential courses or simply digital courses that take the form of MOOCS.
Does this mean that a formal business education awarding a degree is not needed anymore?
No, rather quite the contrary!
The new diversity provides more and more specific knowledge that can be learned, skills that can be acquired, and new ways of doing so. This is actually a good thing!
This new and refreshing diversity of content in the field of education does not replace an academic business education altogether, though.
There are two reasons for that: the content and the format.
The Content of a Business Degree
Let us have first a look at the content, which comes in two parts:
- the level at which you learn
- the depth and purpose of what you learn
1. Level at Which You Learn
A business education provides you with an understanding of the world of business, as well as businesses themselves. The wide variety of courses enable you to gain an understanding of how businesses work in an integrated way. You can discover what you are interested in, what you would like to learn more about, and what your strengths are.
Micro-credentials and online MOOCS, on the other hand, help you acquire limited and specific knowledge but with the content being taught in silos.
What is the output of a specific digital marketing course if you don’t know anything about traditional marketing, marketing budgeting, product and service development or sales?
A specific digital marketing course, will maybe help you in landing a first internship or job more easily. “We look for actionable skills and experience,” they say, but then what? The reality is that you might quickly reach a plateau.
The micro-credential, or short course, might get you in but will likely not be enough to get you up, or in any transversal role in the organization because you have no track record in anything else.
Furthermore, thanks to a degree in business administration, you also get much closer to the likelihood of successfully launching your own business if and when you decide to do so.
Can you become a successful entrepreneur without mastering the fundamentals of strategy, operations, management, innovation, marketing, sales, accounting, finance, business modeling and innovation? Everything is possible, of course, but it will take you more time to learn everything on the go, and the risk of accumulating avoidable mistakes that can lead to the failure of your project is higher. This goes without saying.
To summarize, the first big difference as we have just seen related to the taught content, is the level at which you learn.
2. The Depth and Purpose of What You Learn
The second difference is the depth and purpose of what you learn.
A Business education is designed for you, the student. Its aim is to help you acquire, master, or develop new knowledge and skills depending on the current level of your studies: Bachelor, Master or Doctoral studies.
By pursuing a business education, you are first and foremost investing your time in yourself and in your personal and professional short-term, and most importantly, long-term development. This, of course, takes more time and you develop more than just technical knowledge and skills.
You go through a personal transformation that is one of the aims and objectives your business school is pursuing. You learn to think critically, to challenge your own assumptions, to innovate, to communicate, to convince, to negotiate, to brand yourself, to collaborate, to network, and much more.
Micro-credentials and most online MOOCS help you acquire limited and specific knowledge that is needed for a specific role, at a specific time, in a specific field. Micro-credentials and most online MOOCS are hence designed in your employer’s immediate best interest. As said, this is why this new and refreshing diversity of content in the field of education does not replace an academic business education. Instead, it complements it.
Short courses are very useful to upskill and re-skill, and they have been designed for that. But upskilling and reskilling imply that skills have been acquired in the first place.
Once you master the basic business skills, upskilling will become, as it already is for active business people, a constant habit and necessity. Upskilling, if it is following a sound business education, will give you flexibility. This is different from starting with specific skills only, which, as we have seen, might trap you in a role you will not be able to leave.
After the content, let us take a look at the format in which the learning takes place.
The Format of a Business Education
A business school provides a safe place for you to experience, interact, learn in different modalities (experiential learning, internships, peer to peer learning, classic teaching), and fail.
Those different ways to learn will make you go through a personal transformation, as previously mentioned. You learn to think critically, to challenge your own assumptions, to innovate, to communicate, to convince, to negotiate, to brand yourself, to collaborate, and you build a strong and often international network of like-minded people.
All those things cannot be done in vitro behind the screen of your computer, but by actually experiencing them and stepping out of your comfort zone.
So is a business degree still worth it?
Yes, and more than ever.
Don’t miss out on this investment in yourself and in your future! You can earn an academic business degree that will provide you with a broad understanding of businesses and a diverse skill set. Then, take any micro-credential you might need when it is time to apply for your dream job!
Are you interested in learning more about our business school in Switzerland?
Contact Business School Lausanne for more information!
This blog post found its inspiration after a short discussion I had between two doors with one of our Master student entrepreneurs: Petr Kolesnikov
Visit his company webpage: koma.swiss
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