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Everyone is brandishing graduate and post-graduate qualifications as the answer to standardized proficiency in the workplace and career advancement. There is contention whether advanced degree programs actually lead to better performance in the financial field.
Many organizations are shifting focus to professional certifications.
There is no easy answer on which of the two delivers the goods in the efficiency, adaptability, and leadership demanded of young professionals today. The future of financial education is structured around addressing these needs and both degree + certification programs are under pressure from the corporate world to shape up or ship out.
A need for customization
The business environment is in high demand for customized solutions to keep up with ever-increasing competition. Business needs are as diverse as the personal tastes of each client they serve. In response to that, many organizations are pushing their agenda in business school.
Some have gone all out to invest in professional service firms for talent nurturing. Higher learning institutions need radically new strategies to deliver on programs and skill sets that are relevant to diverse business challenges.
The need for employer sponsorship
Many business schools have the chance to attract corporate spending funding students for their degree and certification programs. With corporations and their support, program providers are pressured to pursue self-funding students that are in for their own development.
But given the economic pressures forecast in the future, it is imperative that both students and institutions of higher learning step on the gas and galvanize more employer sponsorship for these programs.
Inclusivity for women and minority
Data from trusted sources suggest that many business schools are attracting fewer women than men in their business education programs. But now that organizations are focused on accelerating female talent job placements and promotions, more will have to be done by learning institutions.
Much is needed in terms of initiatives to nurture senior talents that incorporate women and minorities. There is evidence that universities currently have fallen behind corporate on this priority.
The adoption of digital-based, flexible, self-learning, and remote learning capabilities may be the focus as inclusivity is championed in future business programs.
Education to the work environment
Business schools are said to have little interest in evaluating and ensuring whether the intended learning from a program or course is effectively applied back on the job. That has partly contributed to the ever-broadening gap between graduates and the work environment.
In the future, one possible way around this will be an evaluation focused on the actual transfer of learning on the job and not on tests papers.
That may or may not entail syllabi calibration processes that involve educators and strategic partners from the corporate world, including CEOs and HR executives. One can also expect more mentorship and networking relationship opportunities to be facilitated between schools and the work environment.
More incentives for experiential learning
Business programs are exploring all avenues for designing and facilitating applied learning with the intent of developing diverse skills, insights, and multi-cultural sensitivity. Even so, most learning institutions are currently awfully limited in their abilities to actually serve these needs. Massive technological adoption is needed.
Studies conducted on businesses show that most believe traditional classroom learning is offering lackluster utility. There is an increasing emphasis on the relevancy and the direct application of learning within actual essential business challenges in the corporate sphere in ways that support the desired culture.
Degree and professional certification program providers will either have to partner with whoever possesses these capabilities, or learn to design curricula that dwell on SME-driven conceptual components.
Aligning corporate training and school programs
There is potential for business schools to use their existing programs to contribute to the corporate training processes of large, sophisticated companies. Nevertheless, that requires a commitment to update course content and align it with corporate needs.
The main incentive for providers of business school programs in the adaptation of their mental models and approaches to unique business requirements is increased employer sponsorship for their programs.
One move that’s already underway is the combination of degree and industry certification programs. The graduating students have both the knowledge and skills for the best performance in the corporate world.
Traditional 4-year program universities may need a complete overhaul of their curriculum structure as more emphasis is placed on customized learning. The attitude has been that vocational training institutions better offer this kind of training, but that could be about to change. Increasingly, students are demanding more control in what they learn and how they learn.
Personalized learning programs allow students to learn at their own pace. The aim is on mastery of the material, as opposed to passing exams and credentialing. Technology can be useful as it allows us to move away from the traditional classroom model of instruction.
Meeting the global standards
Some of the challenges faced in business school today include the rapid rate of globalization, which has intensified the need to bolster global standards in business education. Employers are worried that the curriculum in business schools today lags behind the accurate scale of globalization. These businesses now mostly consider credentials from globally accredited institutions and degree programs as part of their hiring criteria.
No business has been spared from the global trends and international activity. The pressure is on for schools to develop a curriculum that prepares students to meet the new set of challenges in a global environment.
Unfortunately, for most institutions, this content has been developed without the right research and benchmarking across industries.
A focus on technology
There is a technological race between the business environment and educational institutions. Most learning institutions have a limited amount of resources to introduce or replicate the needed technology in their programs. Going forward, students and young professionals will focus on programs that can help them leverage tech and advance their strategies and operation.
The gap is poised to widen between institutions that can keep up with technological advances and those that are unable to invest. That also forces program providers to add more technological courses in their business curricular, even those considered descriptive.
With the growth of big data and AI, this trend is set to persist as the only reliable future-proofing technique for credentials.
The rise of laser-focused programs
For a long time, there has been considerable competition over tuition dollars in business school programs. As the demand for courses went up, many programs started offering supplemental online and part-time programs to meet student demand.
Currently, part-time programs now exceeded full-time programs in financial education. That’s a trend that is here to stay.
One can also expect that shorter online programs and professional certifications will be seen as an alternative to combat rising student debt. It’s encouraging that non-traditional programs now have a more market acceptance thanks to curricula that focus on skills as opposed to pedagogy.
The need for cost-effective learning
A survey of top universities shows that fees for many business programs are outside the reach of many aspiring candidates. Even with high costs, graduates have to contend with skills mis-match that leaves a big dent on the value of their education.
The trend now is a focus on shorter and cheaper programs and supplementing such qualifications with certifications.
The other critical driver for short term and cost-effective learning is flexibility to juggle life, work responsibilities, and education. Students prefer online credentialing because they can study wherever they are. Young employees go for professional certifications because they don’t have to take leave from work to accomplish the program.
Skills that AI cannot replicate
Business schools are going back to the basics, even with the looming takeover of the world by artificial intelligence. The best degree or professional certification programs now focus on leadership, ethics, teamwork, and creativity.
These skills are in high demand in the workplace because it is hard to create a computer program that replicates them.
Analysts believe that as each business gets on the AI trend, what will distinguish top brands from the rest are the skills that make us human. These include networking, intercultural communication, and customer relationship management.
A look at many employee training programs now reveals that they are heavily skewed towards this direction.
The Key Points
- The future of financial programs will be shaped by the changing landscape in the business environment
- Increasingly, students are considering online programs and professional certifications over traditional degree programs
- The workforce of the future is needed to have not just practical skills but also soft skills including leadership and communication
- Technology will be both a game-changer and equalizer
- The best programs will focus on globally standardized curricula and personalized learning
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