There are over 2,000 higher education institutions such as colleges in the US, and plenty more all around the world. With most of these colleges providing some sort of business-related courses to their students, there’s no doubting that higher education is essential for a functioning society. For every entrepreneur, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who dropped out of college, there’s another leader who studied for a qualification such as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), economics degree or something else.
While US colleges are known for being of high quality in terms of teaching, the student experience is multifaceted – and it’s not just about the education you receive or the content of your classes. Higher education institutions also offer students the chance to connect with potential contacts who may even offer them a job at some point down the line, while extracurricular activities can also help students to understand exactly what it is they want out of their career. Here, then, is a summary of just how higher education institutions can turn out the business leaders of the future.
First off, it’s important to make sure that students have the opportunity to undertake studies in relevant and targeted subject areas related to business. If this isn’t the case, it may well turn out that they’re put off business for life. It’s important to make sure that a range of courses with a directly relevant business tangent is offered: colleges should, for example, look to offer MBA courses in addition to courses with a clear commercial or numeracy focus, such as economics.
However, encouraging people to become future business leaders is about much more than simply ensuring that business-related topics are offered on the curriculum. After all, the business also requires other skills – and a business world in which everyone is an economics graduate to the exclusion of all other disciplines would certainly not be a competitively commercial one. For that reason, the provision of topics such as history, English literature, geography and many more is useful, as these subject areas provide transferable business skills, such as sound judgment, verbal reasoning, and empathy.
Internships and Experience
The modern business world is essentially an ecosystem. It’s common for business leaders to be interlinked to each other in one way or another – and this creates a community that will last for decades. When one business official knows many others, they’ll always have a pool of potential talent to tap into when their organization requires a new starter with a specific skill set.
Often, business leaders of the future will be meeting each other in the present day in education-related scenarios such as summer internships, graduate schemes and much more. By cultivating these relationships and ensuring that these are environments in which students can thrive and connect in a sustainable and long-term way, current business leaders can do their bit to contribute to the well-connected and embedded communities of the future.
Educational establishments, however, are not just meant to be placed to learn or rehearse for working life. They’re also explicitly designed to bring people with common interests together, and this is especially true in terms of business. That’s why so many people meet their future spouses or long-term best friends at college – it’s also where many people meet those who will go on to become business partners, colleagues and more.
By encouraging this through business societies, entrepreneurship schemes and more, colleges can play a strong role in building the business ecosystems of the future. In the modern age, this can sometimes be a practice that colleges and universities might shy away from explicitly encouraging. But it’s actually a vital function of a college: by providing the infrastructure for students to connect with one another and build the sorts of relationships that go the distance, educational establishments can leave an important legacy
Another way to learn from others and develop contacts and mentors who can help a student become a better business leader in later life is to join a fraternity or a sorority. Take, for example, Sigma Chi, a fraternity designed to produce values-based leaders for business and beyond. This organization has a strong track record of turning out business leaders, as it teaches skills such as trustworthiness and judgment. Sometimes, it’s only by participating in this sort of environment that students can begin to pick up these skills – and college is the time to do it.
Going to college, then, is clearly a smart move for someone who wants to proceed into the world of business once they graduate. From the impact that going to college can have on their knowledge of economics, commerce and society to the connections they’ll make, either through fraternities, extracurriculars or even their tutors, there are many ways that college can transform a person’s business prospects, no matter what sector they plan to enter.