For the Digital Generation, the Next Career Step Could Be an EMBA

It’s old news that our world has gone through a digital transformation, but for the rising digital generation, radical social, economic, cultural, and environmental changes have drastically shifted perspectives.

Or have they?

A new survey found that 60 percent of 1,665 respondents between the ages of 21 and 40 said that they were very likely or extremely likely to pursue an MBA, or MA or MS in business management.

The Executive MBA Council (EMBAC), UNICON, and AACSB International sponsored the research. Percept Research conducted the survey, which took place from July to August 2017, culling participants from 10 countries.

“Research like this study gives us insights into how students perceive their educational options and what they would like to see,” says Michael Desiderio, EMBAC executive director. “That information helps business schools and programs respond to changing marketplace needs.”

A Closer Look

The survey looked at how representatives of the digital generation view their options for advanced management education, as well as their motivations for pursing educational opportunities and their learning preferences.

Additional key results include:

  • Nearly half of respondents said certificates or digital badges are valuable as a complement to non-degree course work.
  • Nearly 92 percent see value in these credentials as complements to or substitutes for traditional business education offerings.
  • Additionally, 48 percent said they were extremely likely or very likely to pursue business management courses and 38 percent indicated the same about non-degree executive education.

Only one in 10 respondents said they are not very likely or not at all likely to pursue certificates or digital badges as an educational option.

Motivation for pursuing an advanced degree included improving standard of living, increasing career stability and job security, and improving leadership and management skills.

Female respondents rated job stability and security higher than male counterparts, who rated “make it easier to start my own business” higher than female counterparts.

Learning Preferences

The digital generation respondents also saw value in a mix of learning delivery options: 36.9 percent of them preferred a mix of live and pre-recorded content, 33.2 percent preferred pre-recorded delivery, and 29.9 percent preferred live delivery.

The 54 percent of respondents who completed at least one online or blended course are most likely to prefer a mix of live and pre-recorded delivery. The 20.9 percent of respondents who started, but didn’t complete an online or blended course, are most likely to prefer pre-recorded delivery.

Respondents from the U.S. are significantly more likely to have completed at least one online or blended course. They are also more likely to pursue non-degree executive education than respondents from outside the U.S.

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