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Almost Half Of Business Schools Now Offer Microcredentials

Research from AACSB shows business schools are embracing microcredentials as alternatives to traditional degree programs

Sun Oct 17 2021

47% of business schools now offer microcredentials, up from 30% in 2018-19, according to a study by accreditation body AACSB.

Business schools are investing in microcredentials as a way to offer alternative study options to traditional degree programs.

These flexible, short, typically online courses do not equal a degree, but give students the chance to explore a chosen topic in depth.

Microcredentials on the rise

Employers are increasingly looking to hire candidates who are able to handle technological disruption. In-demand skills include the ability to manage technology and innovation. Yet, in the US, 74% of hiring managers report a skills gap in their candidate pool.

Microcredentials are a cost-effective way for business grads to plug those gaps. Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business in Atlanta, for example, offers three flexible graduate certificate programs in AI, disruptive innovation, and fintech.

Adelphi University’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, in New York, launched advanced graduate certificates in business analytics, marketing analytics, and digital marketing this year.

As demand for flexible, online courses grows, there’s a place in the market for microcredentials that focus on cutting-edge topics and don’t require the same time and financial investment as a degree program.

In fact, 91% of companies surveyed by AACSB said they consider these programs useful for their employees’ professional development. 

The end of the degree?

Despite an increase in business schools offering microcredentials, this doesn’t mean that the traditional business degree will become redundant any time soon.

67% of organizations surveyed by AACSB said they will be increasingly reliant on traditional business degrees when hiring in the future. 

Demand for graduate management education, including MBA and business master’s degrees, also shows no signs of slowing. 

Crucially, microcredentials can also be ‘stackable’, meaning students gain credits that count toward a future formal degree program.

Microcredentials are well suited to three types of learners: 

- The lifelong learner, who already has an graduate degree and wants to pursue a standalone microcredential to build on their skillset

- The current student, who wants to pursue a microcredential embedded as part of their degree.

- And the future learner, who doesn’t want to commit to a full degree program just yet, but may take advantage of the stackable element in the near future.

Rather than replacing traditional degrees then, for business schools microcredentials are another clever recruitment tool to help boost applications to their flagship MBA and master’s programs.

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