Lifelong Learning for Long-Term Career Relevance

Members of AACSB's Business Practices Council discuss factors driving the need for today's employees—and business schools—to embrace a lifetime of learning.


Shaun Budnik: [0:20] Lifelong learning is almost going to be required in any job because of the disruption that's occurring right now. What you're learning that gets you a job one day, two years, probably, from that, there will be a whole new set of skill sets that are required.

Michael Arena: [0:37] I think that absent lifetime learning, people quickly become irrelevant. In fact, you can look at this as a completely different landscape than it was even five years ago.

[0:49] By the time students graduate, a business school, what's happened with technology, what's happened with AI, what's happened with augmented reality, whatever those digital platforms are, their skills, in some regards, have already become obsolete.

[1:06] A lifetime learning begins before the education process is literally concluded. That's an ongoing process. If they're not staying connected to what's happening in the outside world, they're not reading the latest research, the latest books. If they're not googling the latest TEDx, or whatever it happens to be, I think skills become quickly irrelevant in this world.

Tony Lee: [1:28] The business schools that are really at the cutting edge are the ones that are looking ahead, thinking about, "What's the next challenge that our graduates really need to know about?" Then, adopting it and bringing it into the classroom. From a lifelong learning standpoint, nobody has the time anymore is the biggest challenge.

[1:47] By showing the importance of the changes that are coming and showing the importance of it's not just about doing your job better, it's about your career. It's about advancing your own career.

[1:56] Then, that's going to be the motivation to get people to take it seriously, and say, "I'm ready. I'm ready to learn more, to learn from experts, to learn from the folks who know the stuff that I don't now," and admit that, and recognize that and then take steps to address it.

Joseph DiAngelo: [2:10] People are going to change careers five times, not jobs, careers, over the course of a lifetime. You're constantly going to be learning. It may not be advanced degrees. We'd all like them to come back and get an MBA, but that's not where the world is now.

[2:26] It's mini certificates. It's mini degrees. It's MOOCs, It's whatever you need to stay on top of the changes that are facing us in society.

Budnik: [2:39] Continually taking advantage of training that your company is offering, going back to your university, trying to engage with them on new skills, looking at different types of education that are popping up like credentialing, that's a whole new set of ways that people are going back to get education.

[2:59] It's just continuing exploring what those options are. Because the more things that you learn and continue to bring into your skill set as your job changes, which it's going to do many times, you'll have more things to draw upon. You can reinvent yourself.

Lee: [3:16] At Society for Human Resource Management where I am, credentialing has become such a critical aspect of what we do. We have a basic credential, basic certification for understanding the workforce and understanding working with humans. We have advanced credentials for that. Now, we've added what we're calling micro credentials within a wide range of specific areas.

[3:38] You can get a micro credential now on analytics, people analytics. You can get one on talent acquisition. You can get one just on the State of California, since the State of California is so unique. [laughs] They've such regulations that are different than everywhere else. Getting knowledge, getting learning about a specific area is step one.

[3:54] Step two of that is being able to turn around and show an employer, whether it's your employer or a future employer that, "I have the skill. Look. See, here's my credential. This shows you that I have the skill" is invaluable. It's a way to really stand out from the folks who don't.

DiAngelo: [4:08] Employers are actually seeking the badging opportunity. In some cases, more than the degree opportunity. Companies don't pay for students to attend like they did in the past. 10 years ago, 85 percent of our graduate students had their tuition paid by their companies. Today, less than 50 percent.

[4:29] Very few people are paying for the entire degree anymore. The graduate education has changed in that regard. Students are actually coming back to find new jobs or be promoted. 10 or 15 years ago, business schools didn't provide career counseling for graduate students.

[4:46] If a company was sending you 15 students, it's unethical to find another job for them. Today, they're coming to seek another job or seek another career. The companies don't want to wait three years until someone finishes a degree. They are seeking the badging or the mini degrees, the mini certificates.

Arena: [5:10] We want people that have demonstrated the ability to learn. Today, a degree is the best illustration of that ability. We'll hire people without degrees, if they've demonstrated that and they've got the credentials to prove that they can get something done.

[5:25] At the end of the day, it's all about the output. It's about what you can produce, and how you can do that within the ethics and/or integrity, value system of an organization.

Filmed February 2019 at AACSB's Deans Conference in Vancouver, Canada.