By Hanna McLeod
At the close of 2017, AACSB International together with the EMBA Council and UNICON completed a research study exploring how business education providers can better align their education models and strategies to meet the needs of the “digital generation.” The study aims to shed light on opportunities business schools have for creating both degree-based and non-degree-based education offerings in light of this population’s learning attitudes and career/professional development motivations.
A survey was conducted by a commissioned research firm, Percept Research, that yielded a total of 1,665 respondents and segmented results for those representing the digital generation (those between the ages of 21-30) as well as those between ages 31-40, across 10 countries. The results provide interesting insights, particularly differences across various demographic factors, such as gender, age, career experience, and previous educational experiences. AACSB research staff plan to highlight deeper dives into data in the weeks to come, but a few interesting highlights include:
- More than 50 percent of respondents who already have graduate business or management degrees remain Extremely/Very Likely to pursue these traditional degrees in the next ten years and 60 percent of respondents are Extremely/Very Likely to pursue MBA or MA/MS in Business. Such findings suggest that advanced management education degrees continue to hold a respected position in the marketplace.
- However, despite the serious intent to pursue these degrees, respondents do not always find them the most attractive option: among those who are Extremely Likely to pursue an MBA or MA/MS in Business, just 22 percent found established programs to be the most attractive method of pursuing advanced management education vs. a more self-directed approach or a just-in-time set of courses identified with an employer.
- Results suggest that non-traditional options e.g., certificates and digital badges are gaining credibility and interest, with over 25 percent of respondents indicating that they believe such options can substitute for a formal degree, and 90 percent indicating they see some value in these options as either a substitute, complement, or both.
Stay tuned for more announcements and information regarding the study’s results, as well as posts that will delve into areas such as attitudes towards professional growth and learning, motivations, demographic differences, views on credentialing, formal vs. informal learning, and interest in non-traditional educational providers.