Showing posts with label business college. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business college. Show all posts

Friday, March 13, 2015

How Technology is Narrowing the Gap Between Business and Academia

Someday we might be looking back at those old laptops and cell phones and blow the dust off the keyboards as you would the cover of some rare hard bound book. Across the nation educational platforms are changing bringing with it uncertainty about the future of higher education. As technology disrupts the foundation of business colleges there will be a closer alliance between businesses and academia to generate new solutions that improve the skill sets of graduates.

According to a Business Education Jam session it is possible to use technology to narrow the gap between academic and industry stakeholders (Freeman, 2014). The traditional gap that exists between academic knowledge and business knowledge is narrowing as stakeholders and universities take advantage of new technologies that offer a chance to connect at multiple levels.

Technology has advanced to the point that communication is moving at a much faster pace than in the past. New generation technologies and the way these technologies are used socially are impact the platforms of higher education (Rajesh, 2015). Higher education is adjusting to the new methods of communication to foster knowledge transference and this will have a natural impact on business-academia relationships.

Greater partnerships between employers and higher education can provide greater relevancy in curriculum development. Students should be learning skills that truly encourage greater ability to work in the modern market and develop systems thinking that can influence their ability to understand organizational operations.

The caveat being the courses that may not be directly career oriented but do support the general understanding of human nature and life. Greater communication will help industry stakeholders understand that ethics courses, philosophy, humanities, are not wasted courses when applied appropriately to human behavior and management. A shared understanding between colleges and employers can be found through perspective sharing.

The differences of perspective between the hallowed halls of higher education and the nitty gritty of corporate life will become more blurred in the future as communication technology advances and create permeability within these borders. Communication will influence the way leaders in both sectors think about challenges and opportunities. This increased level of communication doesn't need to be purposeful to create influence but implementing a more focused approach to sharing perspectives can lead to faster conclusions. 

Freeman, K. (2014). The call for innovation in business education. People & Strategy, 37 (2).

Rajesh, M. (2015). Revolution in communication technologies: impact on distance education. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 16 (1).

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creating Higher College Value By Connecting to the Business Community

A common question arises about how to raise the value of higher education. With any societal institution there are stakeholders who look on at the changes and scratch their head as if to state something helpful. Alas nothing comes out! Connecting the business community and their ideas to higher educational may just help raise the value of a college education while promoting higher forms of experimental knowledge.

The end user is the ultimate feedback loop that evaluates the product as successful or a failure. The same concept applies to higher education, government, or retail outlets. If the end users are not happy with the product then it will have less value in the future. Turning the scratching of heads into  useful dialogue may just shed a little light on methods of improving higher education output for public consumption.

Advanced economies encourage the creation and dissemination of knowledge for growth. Higher education is the formal institution in charge of that process and fosters higher levels of learning. Developing higher education to advance the civic and economic output of society is fundamental to its existence. Universities should be concerned with the quality and cost of their output.

Higher education develops products in the form of knowledge, degrees and intellectual contributions. End users have a vested interested in the the production of that output and their needs should be considered in any meaningful discussion. Drawing in the businesses community helps to develop stronger curriculum and better scientific models.

Curriculum:The business community is an important source for understanding their employment needs. Curriculum that offers the type of knowledge needed to further society and business interests helps expand America's economic influence. Universities should seek out the business communities input in terms of what knowledge is needed in the market. Lower level courses offering more basic knowledge when compared to upper level courses that include experimentation and application of new ideas.

Experimentation: Ideas developed in academia need to be tested somewhere. Typically after initial experimentation a model is defined and published. A few businesses may read these scientific discoveries and apply the same concepts to their business. Connecting the business community with universities to test and try out new theoretical models encourages faster innovation in society. Business becomes the feedback loop and turns the theoretical into the practical.

Business colleges have a great advantage if they develop appropriate mechanisms to harness the power of the business community and draw them into the discussion to help develop programs that are beneficial to compete in today's market. Modern technology offers the ability to poll and synthesize information that was not possible just a decade ago. Higher education can exploit this information to raise its societal and market value.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Developing Business Education for Economic Growth

Education has an important role in developing people and nations to higher levels of performance. Business education is a fundamental component of fostering stronger economic performance. A paper by Ugwuog, et. al. (2013) explores how education is beneficial for national development and offers a few tips for colleges to improve upon their teaching activities. 

In general terms, education can be broadly defined as acquiring the physical and social skills needed to function within their birth society. The type of education depends on the society in which one exists. In ancient times this may have occurred informally under a tree while in modern times it could include online classrooms.

Because education improves upon people’s abilities it is considered an investment. The central place of education is to recognize its capital investment in people (Francis & Hezel, 1974). An investment may improve performance but also raise costs which makes strong business curriculum advantageous. 

Business education is even more important in helping individuals find methods of earning income while furthering economic activity. The type of programs can include certificates, skilled trades, and applied management. To continue economic growth developed nations are focusing more heavily on the quality of education. 

The author argues that there are some significant problems in some business colleges. Each college can adjust their methods to raise quality. To encourage the development of skills schools should:

-Avoid hiring unqualified teachers
-Remove obsolete technologies
-Use more computer and technology learning
-Avoid large classes
-Fund programs adequately

 Francis, X. & Hezel, S.(1974). Recent theories of the relationship between education and development.

Ugwuogo, C. (2013). Business education and national development: issues and challenges. Journal of Educational and Social Research, suppl. Special Issue, 3 (4).  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are Companies Seeking Marketing Graduates with a Global Perspective?

Sales management is an important skill in a global community where products buzz world round in only a few days. Executives are having a hard time finding college graduates that have sufficient skill to compete for top sales positions. The demand for sales professionals has outpaced supply at colleges. A study by Deeter-Schmelz & Kennedy discusses their findings of why business colleges are having such a hard time filling this need (2011). 

Few studies have explored why colleges are not graduating a sufficient supply of college prepared sales professionals that can step into a more complex world. Problems span an array of issues ranging from the changing nature of sales management in a larger world to a lack of preparedness of professors. Their paper focuses on the assessment of the state of sales education in a global business environment. 

Marketing has changed over the past decade becoming more complex with high technology functionality. There are hundreds of ways to formulate a marketing strategy and it is difficult for a single person to put their mental arms around the breadth of information. This means that professors with a wide variety of such skills are in high demand but in short supply.

If we also consider the financial and analytic abilities needed to manage a global marketing campaign the task of educating people to fill this roll becomes even more daunting. Sales managers must be competent with databases, IT, financial projects, and analytic forecasting. Each dollar spent on a campaign must have a significant return and this requires the ability to conduct in-depth financial analysis. 

The authors collected college information via online surveys. They found that the major problems in order are qualified faculty, large class sizes, obtaining technology, shrinking resources, business demand outpacing students, not understanding online education, and cross-university competition.  New tools and better methods are needed to keep the momentum. 

The study does list the primary reasons why universities feel they are having a hard time producing qualified candidates at a proficient pace. Marketing can entail concepts ranging from psychology to data analytics and this is hard to pack in a four year degree. Focusing on those core concepts of marketing theory is beneficial but organizations may need to train them in specific skills to create competency. Many colleges can only introduce them to the main tools and concepts. Proficiency is left to the company. For now, there is no perfect solution.

Deeter-Schmulz, D. & Kennedy, K. (2011). A global perspective on the current state of sales education in college curriculum. Journal of personal selling & Sales Management, 31 (1).

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Balance between Research and Teaching

Faculty have many responsibilities that include teaching, volunteer work, and research. A paper by Dan Worrell (2009), talks about the differences between teaching and research in universities. He indicates that research universities have an advantage in the market but may not be focused on the more important aspects of teaching. The focus is based primarily in the way schools are ranked by outside organizations but this may not be the best use of professor's time. 

According to the authors, U.S. News and World Report, BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal often rank schools based upon their research capabilities. This creates emphasis to engage professors in research to move their rankings upward. These rankings naturally have influence on student choice and other financial benefits. 

As professors engage more in research they have reduced teaching loads and higher levels of autonomy. Their research activities are often rewarded within universities with higher salaries and greater prestige. The more times a university is published the higher its overall ranking in the public. When research is significant the research reaps additional benefits but does cost students.

There are two issues that should be considered.  These issues include teaching as an important track to faculty development and research that is considered most important to society. Teaching should be the primary goal of the university with research being an augmentation to that teaching to further the body of knowledge in a particular subject area. 

The author further moves on to discuss the concept that a considerable percentage of research is not focused on what matters to society. Some of research should lean toward societal problems and the potential solutions to those problems. Research should be practical and applied in nature to help the greatest amount of people. 

There is a balance to be played between research and teaching. It would seem that all teachers should be engaged in some level of research but should not forget the primary goal of widening student’s perspectives. This is likely the most difficult aspect of managing a university through the varying political and economic pressures they face. Teaching and scholarship go together but should do so at appropriate levels. Teaching tracks should be rewarded as an important alternative to research.

Worrell, D. (2009). Assessing business scholarship: the difficulties in moving beyond the rigor-relevance paradigm trap. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8 (1).

Friday, September 20, 2013

Is the Ph.D. or DBA more Aligned to Current Business Needs?

Are professional or traditional doctorates more significant in today’s economy? A paper by Banerjee and Morley reviewed the growing trend of professional doctorates and the possibility that they are more aligned to the executive needs of running modern companies. A professional doctorate is more focused on applied type research based within real world business scenarios. Traditional Ph.D.’s are primarily focused on theoretical underpinnings and are more concerned with a broader theoretical base.  Should one earn a DBA or a Ph.D. in business?

Some have argued that the professional doctorate is superior because it focuses more closely on workplace issues and uses theory in a practical and applicable manner.  The traditional Ph.D. is seen as an academic degree most applicable for teaching and academic research. Fundamentally, the two degrees are perceived as having two different purposes with the professional doctorate more in align with corporate needs. 

It is believed that universities face increasing pressure to provide knowledge management skills as offered in a doctorate program. It is believed that PhDs have a greater focus on theory to enhance business school prestige but are not focused on solving practical problems. Thus, an industry-academic divide has been created and the professional doctorate balances the need of turning theory into strategic practice. 

DBAs have the capacity to draw from a wide range of knowledge and use that knowledge to focus on the issues that are currently important in the marketplace. The professional doctorate pushes academia to be more relevant to modern business problems and in turn creates additional support for doctoral education. 

The key to any successful doctorate program is to the ability to use past knowledge and theoretical understandings to create a process whereby the information is blended with professional knowledge to solve practical problems. As graduates develop the research skills they can continue to use knowledge, theory, experience, and professional skills to develop problem solving frameworks. It is seen as a degree of empowered knowledge. 

Even though the paper doesn’t specifically state this concept there are fundamental differences between a Ph.D. and a DBA. The Ph.D. generates theoretical knowledge that creates a deeper underpinning to practical knowledge but is relatively removed from solving direct problems. The DBA is a reflective practitioner that generates knowledge that is more closely associated to a current problem at hand and can be implemented without major processing. It is the difference between asking “What if?” and “How to?”.  The Ph.D. creates the scholar and the DBA creates the scholar-manager.

The process of earning a DBA includes the research, writing, and defending of a dissertation that helps to enhance the analytic, rhetorical, and critical thinking abilities of the graduate. In addition, the training provides an opportunity to learn new writing styles and how to use analytical methods to further ones understanding of day-to-day business practices. Statistics and analytical analysis helps to ensure accuracy of the research in order to push for more relevant results.

One can conclude that a Ph.D. and DBA have two fundamentally different outcomes with one focused primarily on theory and the other on the practical application of that theory. Both share a level of similarity in education and methodology. Even though the report does not indicate this concept, it would seem that the increased need for the practicality of the DBA and the growth of online education show a similar trend. As the majority of online students work for a living, and may already be focused on maintaining their careers, the DBA would be most aligned with their needs as well as the needs of their employers.

Banerjee, S. & Morley, C. (2013). Professional doctorates in management: toward a practice-based approach to doctoral education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12 (2).