Is Business Education Useful?

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Knowledge and Intangibles Management > Best Practices > Is Business Education Useful?

Is Business Education Useful?
Michael T
25,000 new business books are published annually along with millions of business articles. Thousands of business schools graduate over a million MBA students each year.
Still I wonder: is all this knowledge gained from business education actually remembered and applied, considering the immensity and complexity of the topics, and the limited human capacity to store and use all of this information?

Business Education Gives Some Recollection
I asked a similar question when I was going for my MBA and posed it to a group of young CEOs. Although they were successful in their businesses, they agreed that by going for the degree would provide a background in the area of finance.
You may not remember everything given the immensity of what needs to be learned, but at least you have some recollection of the topic later on that allows you to go back and explore it further as needed.

Business Education Takes you Back to Basics
Business education is essential; most people in middle and senior roles within business will at some time have undertaken formal training and education whether an initial business degree or course, which in time may be followed on with an MBA or other education opportunities.
From my point of view what I have learned through formal courses, attending selected seminars, reading well informed material refreshes the thinking, takes you back to "Basics" every now again (which in my opinion you need to do every now and again) - and no I don't remember everything I have been taught, but I remember sufficient elements that enable me to pick out relevant reference information or research as and when I need it.
It has provided me with sufficient knowledge to identify clearly what I don't know (and if we are truthful we all have plenty of those categories when you look and the breadth and depth of complexities of the modern business world) and obtain the relevant input and support for those topics when appropriate.

Disappointed MBA's...
Brendan Dunphy, Business Consultant, France, Member
I think one downside of the mountain of books and education is that practitioners lose sight of the fundamentals of business and their immediate challenges, attention diverted by the latest fad, particularly in larger organisations.
I have lost count of the number of disappointed MBA's returning to previous or new employers only to find their new-found and hard-earned knowledge not required, or desired. There is a gulf between business academia and business practice not seen in other disciplines but bridged by commercial and professional bodies; is this the way it will always be?

Better Understanding of Surroundings
Hemant Vora
Usefulness of business education in daily professional life may be limited, however, its impact on one's perception of his or her surrounding and events changes and adds better understanding. That in turn brings more confidence and refined approach to day to day work.

Continuous Business Education is Most Important
I am convinced: employees with MSc, MBA or any other relevant business education can make a business decision faster, but additional experience is also essential. Today the business is changing very often and the ability to make fast and correct decision can be trained by business education plus, of course, experience.
One example: I am currently in a controlling + IT environment, but my first degree was in pedagogics (I thought it was a mistake as I never used this knowledge till now). But now I apply pedagogics for users trainings :).
Note that continuous business education is most important of all.

Business Education Helps us in our Personal Lives
Bena Dookie-Shah
@Natalia : I agree that continuous business education is important. The amount that is remembered and applied is dependent on the individual just like any knowledge gained or skill learned.
Education and knowledge may not be all 'remembered' but it really never goes away even if an individual's career path may be different than his/her formal training. Experience can strengthen or increase knowledge as well as help any individual make better informed decisions.
Generally however, how it is used is dependent on individual behaviors, characteristics and interpretations.
Business education, like health, safety or environmental education helps us in our personal lives. Our capacity to store can take much more than we can really put in...or get out....
I find the works of some of the current 'gurus' quite interesting. When I purchase a new book, I try to get one that covers what a number of other books deal with.

Education Helps Unlearning. Which is Useful
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
'Use of all this information' is a very huge question. Actually from my point of view, any learning helps you to unlearn many things. If somebody uses this hidden agenda of learning to unlearn, he or she may be able to make use of learning.
Unlearning is essential in today's world to make use of whatever you learn.

Acquiring Learning Skills
Phil Harrison
I think it is a mistake to focus on remembering the readings and lecture notes. The real value of higher education is in the learning skills you acquire. Critical thinking may come naturally to a few people but most have to work at it and the college/university environment promotes it. Over time all the books become obsolete and so do specific subject areas, but the ability to continue to tackle new challenges with a disciplined mind is best acquired in higher learning environments.

Business challenges require more than MBA
Jagdish B Acharya, Consultant, India, Premium Member
Business challenges require more than what any course like MBA may cover as harmonised body of knowledge. It requires one to have much better knowledge of human relations and interactions. However MBA gives good inputs which help individuals in recognising their limitations and find solutions which are robust. Without MBA the decisions could be based on intuition and judgement about other's abilities.

Is business education useful?
Actually in China, business education is useful. But choose the nessary one first

The Education Business
Rafiudeen, Management Consultant, Qatar, Member
Whether the business education is useful or not, educational institutions are doing good business. So, instead of attending business educational courses, you may spend time with those who are doing educational business. This is not for fun, but a serious concern.

Labels of Education Make Business Attractive
Jagdish B Acharya, Consultant, India, Premium Member
Education has three broad uses:
- knowledge
- discrimination power or wisdom to use knowledge
- employability to obtain a job to use the previous two ones.
The first two objectives are the basic purposes, but the third one is also important. The labels or degrees conferred by the institutes possess certain brand value and legal value by which employers who do not know how to gauge knowledge take help in recruiting. It is these labels which generate business value in the whole scene and where the money comes in.

Education, Degrees and Knowledge
Miguel Chavez Olivares, Consultant, Mexico, Member
In these topics a life cycle exists. There is a devalaution process depending of the changes in technology and in markets, after which we need to revaluate and even start a recycling or a reinvention process for our knowledge base. Actually a bachelor degree devaluates in 4 or 5 years and it is necessary to perform continuous maintenance to avoid its decadence.
Generally when a freshman starts a career in an organization, a revaluation process is started to complete the knowledge base needed by the organization and this process is not alway succesful even if a good MBA exists.

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