There has always been a traditional rivalry between the classic and general MBA, with other more specific postgraduate programs, such as the case of financial specialties. And what has been observed in recent years is that there has been very tough competition in this specialty among business schools in all countries.
Demand for finance master’s degrees remains strong: A survey by GMAC (the Graduate Management Admission Council) estimates that one-third of business schools worldwide saw an increase in applications for finance master’s programs. and Masters in Accounting in 2021. Simultaneously there has been an increase in specialist qualifications offering training in digital and analytical skills.
Competition from financial literacy providers beyond business school master’s programs is also intensifying. These include an explosion of online courses, as well as offerings from start-up technology providers and professional qualification bodies, including the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
But business education has been severely disrupted since the pandemic first hit in 2020. This has limited enrollments for face-to-face courses and also the movement of international students, and persuaded many candidates to continue their studies rather than enter or remain in an uncertain labor market.
Olivier Bossard, CEO of MSc Finance at HEC Paris, says: “This is a booming market for young people entering finance. If anything, the pandemic has created a gap for entry-level jobs. There is demand from young people and demand from businessmen. Before, they were hiring for roles in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. But, now, it is returning to the financial markets.”
It also points out that despite Brexit and the accompanying shift in thousands of financial services jobs from the UK to EU countries, London remains a major employer in the industry and continues to offer many jobs to recent graduates.
On average, three-fifths of students at FT-ranked schools are international, coming from countries other than their business school, with the proportion exceeding 90 per cent for various institutions in the UK, US, and UK. USA, Spain and Singapore.
In some countries, such as the US, the technical content of the MSc in Finance causes the qualification to be classified as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degree, which entitles you to a post-graduate work visa. the graduation. This can make it particularly attractive to students from other countries.
Geoff Garrett, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles, says the degree was attractive to faculty and students alike “because it can be so much more technical than an MBA, which is becoming such a challenging degree.” generalist”.
Pre-professional master’s degrees in finance continue to dominate the degrees on offer. However, a small select group of business schools offer post-professional master’s courses for those who already have several years of work experience.
Business schools compete with digital providers for a share of corporate training
The pandemic has spurred new competition for the executive education market, and training startups implementing new technologies, such as augmented reality, are disrupting the traditional format of face-to-face business school classrooms that educate managers.
“We have huge demand,” says Mark Atkinson, CEO of Mursion, a San Francisco-based company that offers AI-backed simulations. He allows sales managers and staff from different departments to role-play online at low cost, without feeling awkward or restricted in front of their colleagues. “It’s a unique component of learning that has been missing.”
His business is one of a growing number of providers that have thrived during Covid-19 amid signs of a resurgent demand for training in different formats for a growing number of employees.
“The training industry is going digital in new and extensive ways,” says Josh Bersin, a veteran industry consultant. “There’s a lot of innovation and vendors are getting lots of money from venture capitalists.”
New technology-based entrants have added new pressure on business schools, which were already facing an explosion of alternative providers. A survey last year by Carrington Crisp, an educational consultancy, suggested that only a third of employers used them for executive and lifelong learning, with the rest turning to professional bodies, consulting firms and internal services.
Established academic institutions took a substantial financial hit at the start of the pandemic. The lockdown limited travel and the scope of in-person sessions, with many corporate clients tightening budgets and staff time off as they refocused on adjusting to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
That created uncertainty even for blue-chip venues like the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which had invested in a major new three-story facility to house its London campus but had to delay opening for many months.
“We really had to ramp up online and hybrid formats in a short period of time,” says Mark Lewis, executive director of executive education at Booth. “Schools have really had to be agile, resilient and flexible. We have always dealt with competition, but the competition that we will now have to deal with is for the present and for the future.”
The good news, he says, is that customers are coming back and revenue is rising again for both his school and many of the others surveyed in a recent benchmarking survey conducted by Unicon, a trade association.
That mirrors the findings of an inaugural annual survey of 363 learning managers worldwide conducted in 2021 by the FT with Unicon and other professional bodies, which is currently running again. It showed that more than a quarter of organizations intended to increase their budgets, while only 17 percent planned reductions.
While apprenticeship has long been seen as a strategy to support business development and sometimes provide benefits to those in senior positions, many respondents commented on how it is increasingly being used to attract and retain staff. That has become more important both to a restless cohort of millennial recruits and to older staff who see a change as part of the “big quit.”
In addition, a shift of necessity to online education in the last two years opened up the possibilities for more democratic and lower-cost training available to many more people at different levels within companies. That sparked interest as the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements added momentum to calls for more diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
In fact, the FT survey highlighted this topic as one of the highest ranked among the areas of expertise sought by learning managers, alongside more classic executive education topics such as leadership, change management and digital transformation.
But some suggest that accelerated forays into online training provide greater flexibility and convenience for both students and speakers, which is unlikely to be reversed. There are indications that digital programs may even provide better quality and greater satisfaction among participants than face-to-face ones.
Silicon Valley Executive Education offers customized “hybrid” online training that combines seasoned business professionals and academic professors from leading business schools such as Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCLA in its programs. His boss, Robert David, says the biggest interest is for “the three R’s” of resilient leadership, remote collaboration and ruthless prioritization.
This growing “disintermediation” of the teaching experts in their business schools could pose a threat. Another pressure comes from within, as schools balance the temptation to set prices against the volume of their online offerings.
There is still a great need for face-to-face training in postgraduate courses. Things happen in a room when people talk to each other that never happen online
Andrew Crisp, co-founder of Carrington Crisp, says one executive summed up his views: “Instead of spending $50,000 to send two people to a Harvard program, we can now try to send 50 people to Harvard [online] content. Harvard for the same cost. This seems to sum up a lot of the change that is taking place in the market,” he says.
Bersin says there is strong growth in “microlearning,” with providers selecting a variety of online programs. But he warns that to be effective, they must also be innovative and interactive, while libraries of training videos designed simply to be watched passively are going out of style. He adds that “there is still a very great need for face-to-face. To share experiences in the classroom and the enrichment that the interrelationship between teachers and students means and also to share their life experiences among them.
Business schools are also adapting their pedagogy, both with virtual reality, simulations and innovative face-to-face formats. At Edhec Business School in Lille, for example, executives from the Leadership Under Pressure unit in its Advanced Management program join military commanders aboard a French warship for 10 days of rigorous training.
Specific finance courses and as part of a generalist master
There are a variety of courses offered to master the latest financial techniques, tools and strategies designed for financial and non-financial professionals. What is found in the offer of financial specialty courses is that it seeks to give the best perspective for the attendees in terms of today’s changing landscape, market instability and a continuous adaptation to the NT’s.
Let’s see for example a specialty course Sustainable Finance and Investments
Upon completion of the program, the attendee will have acquired:
1º) The skills, tools and knowledge to make sustainable and informed financial and investment decisions.
2º) A practical understanding of the ESG ecosystem, data and metrics, and how they can be leveraged to develop investment strategies.
3º) Confidence to promote sustainable financial systems in your organization.
4º) A global network of business and finance professionals.
Banking and finances
The strategic use of financial instruments is key to the success of any organization, as is the quality of its banking and financial training. Therefore, it must be ensured that any business belonging to the sector to which it belongs stays at the forefront thanks to the fact that its managers and specialized personnel have been able to take courses in different formats and that since the post-Covid stage they are much more comfortably available and at reasonable costs. affordable.
Restrict your travel, not your training
In these turbulent times, specialist financial course offerings are diverse and wide-ranging, with business schools committed to helping develop new skills, connect with others and build confidence through their respective expanded portfolios of virtual learning solutions.