Market Outlook for Business Graduates

The idea of writing this article came to me when I recently sat down with a group of friends who were dis-cussing the importance of education today. With glamorized stories about college dropouts like Steve Jobs, Bill gates etc., making it big and the recent news of companies like Google and Apple (among others) no longer requiring employees to have a college degree, I wanted to weigh in on the subject myself.

As a business professional, with over a decade’s worth of experience under his belt and as a teacher of busi-ness studies, it really bothered me when I heard one of my friends say that a business degree wasn’t worth the piece of paper it was written on and kids today needed to explore non-formal educational options.

To set the record straight, we first of all need to understand how education became the costly, commoditized entity it is today.

The Commoditization of Education:

Perhaps the earliest form of education was developed in Mesopotamia. It was reserved as a privilege for the elite and nobility to hone their skills both on the field of battle and in the field of politics and bureaucracy. We had massive intellectuals as teachers Confucius, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato etc.

People would travel from far and wide in the pursuit of knowledge and learning. This was where education was, at that time, pure, scientific, thought provoking. But over the years as more and more people understood the economic benefits around education (how it could help a person do better at life) the field itself became muddled with aspirations of wealth through the pursuit of formal learning. Institutions started popping up in a quest to commoditize learning and churn out students, degrees became requirements rather than the dem-onstration of ones pursuit for knowledge and academic excellence.

But is wasn’t all gloom and doom, certain institutes understood that instead of churning out students and be-coming assembly lines they had a responsibility to the people, to first and foremost mold informed and edu-cated citizens of tomorrow. That is why education as an institution still survives.

In the Pursuit of Education:

When I sat down to write this article I knew that would have pages upon pages of information that I could pass on to people. As an academic with over a decade’s worth of experience in teaching, I have my fair share of stories: but to keep this simple I chose to focus my efforts in demystifying why a business degree is criti-cally important if you want to build a career in business (either as an entrepreneur or as an employee).

First of all we need to understand that majority of the companies in the US and beyond still require a degree for you to be employed with their firm. According to Maryville University, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis-tics projects 632,400 jobs will be created in business and financial operations from 2014 to 2024 this is a staggering number and one that mostly cannot be filled by people without any formal education.

When I say formal education, I mean a systematic learning, unlearning and relearning regimen that colleges across the industry apply to help young minds grasp modern business concepts and enter the workforce.

Again this is about demand and supply, right now organizations across the globe need employees who come from a standardized background that helps them fit into their corporate structures. So as an aspiring student you really need to ask yourself is my pursuit for education just to level the playing field and enter the rat race. Or in this time of economic uncertainty do I want to opt out of tailored, systematic education and focus on real world learning.

The Entrepreneur in you:

A formal degree/education has multiple benefits, but there is no law/prerequisite that states an entrepreneur has to earn a degree before engaging in any form of business. That being said you have to ask yourself, should my drive to become an entrepreneur really ask me to sacrifice going to college and getting that de-gree? If the answer is yes then sure, drop out, but if the answer is a maybe then I think you need to read on.

You see education is first and foremost an experience. A summation, a rite of passage earned through years of learning, years of networking, years of , well, stuff. A rite of passage that gives you a fraternity of colleagues who have shared similar experiences like you. In this time of disruption you have to have a few cards in your hand that will make the difference, those cards are your education, a tried and tested method that has helped millions of people progress in life.

Evolving the system:

A formal education is no guarantee to success in life, countries with a good amount of graduates still see un-employment. The point remains that a proper education, one that is not just fluff but an essential nurturing of the human mind is the best bet to your future success.

The problem is that now our educational institutes need to realize that as per our environment, learning also needs to evolve. In a decentralized, interconnected, and intuitive world can learning be bound to physical institutions and boundaries. Martha Nussbaun an eminent philosopher of our time argued powerfully “that in an increasingly uncertain world, it has never been more important for universities to educate the imagination” rather than impart specific skills.

To cater to this new generation of learners we need to create an environment of learning that is open and borderless that concentrates on educating the imagination to breed the next Hawking, Edison, Mandela etc. So to all those who are looking for change, don’t break the system, break the mold.