A new ‘product’ for Universities? – BA, BSc & Masters Upgrades…
Looking at Bachelors & Masters degrees like apps that need to be upgraded – A new service for Universities to add value and also secure revenue?
Bite Size thoughts, by Dr. Constantine “Dino” Kiritsis, Founder, StudySmart & ICDE, PwC
We all know that one specific direction to grow (in a business / organizational sense) is to offer a new product or service. Degrees are becoming outdated quite rapidly while they do not require Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Therefore, someone with an Engineering degree from 1998 does not necessarily imply that this person has the knowledge required to be in some Engineering areas unless they have been practicing the area professionally, even though there are also limitations to this in terms of the extent of upskilling, the area of work and self motivation. In a similar manner, an IT grad from 2004 would have to update himself/herself to be up to date.
One way to do this is to opt for a professional qualification or a designation that is reputable in the industry that has CPD (Continuing Professional Development) as a requirement or opt for training courses. However, I feel it would be a great opportunity for Universities & Colleges to prepare and offer Bachelor or Masters Degree Upgrades (BScUp, BAUp MScUp, MAUp) prepared by the University we attended as they would know the areas – from the curriculum used – that one would need to upgrade their degree.
Example: Someone received a Bachelors in Information Systems from X University in 2000. This individual has not been working in the IT industry for all employment years. To remain employable and up to date, strengthen knowledge and competencies in the field, X University is offering a BA Upgrade Course for all graduates from 1999 – 2003 that covers changes in the curriculum, upgrades, updates, new tools, frameworks etc. This individual, being a proud alumnus of X University would probably see this option as a serious one as it would be based on the Bachelor’s degree they attended, not to mention the possibility of meeting some old classmates.
Upskilling and upgrading is our own responsibility now being covered by executive training, corporations, designations and the like. Universities will need to be inventive when it comes to solving the issue of upskilling in a fast - paced world. Universities need to modify their degree business model in the same way software providers offer their apps: By creating updates. In the case of the University this update can be in face – to - face format (when we get back to some sort of normality) or digital. The same way someone has the option to pay for the app and the upgrades at a later stage, the same way an individual can be offered a Bachelors programme with the option to buy life - time updates. For those who would challenge the above idea stating that University & College degrees are not there to prepare someone for life but serve as a foundation, I feel it is (about) time to re-think their purpose. This may not apply to all disciplines – of course – but the intention of my writings is to stimulate and challenge the status quo through common sense. Executive training departments in most Universities are “Academic” and ad hoc in nature and are not based on a learning journey but rather on a ‘quick fix’.
In a fast - moving world, our job is to find solutions. In an educational industry struck by Covid 19 the idea above may be the lifeline they need and use their CRM list of old graduates and bring them back. Imagine the market size and potential and remember: It’s all about the ‘packaging” and ensuring these Upgrades will be more ‘professional’ in nature to be useful for all.