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Climbing the ladder: How to recognise when you need extra qualifications

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You’ve been out in the working world for some years, and yet maybe you feel like something is holding back your professional profile.

Perhaps you are looking to change into a different career field. Or maybe you’re looking to catapult into higher positions with your current company, but you’re lacking some of the technical qualifications to make you competitive for the job.

For any of these cases, pursuing continuing or higher education is an excellent way to boost your career opportunities and provide you with the skills needed for the next step up.

climbing the ladder

Is it the right time to go back to school?

While it might seem the world is in recession, and therefore a scary time to go back to school, it’s actually an optimal time to expand your skill set.

Many businesses have paused their hiring processes, and ever-changing government regulations are forcing schools around the globe to become more flexible and competitive in their educational offerings.

Many programmes advise against going straight from an undergraduate degree into advanced educational programmes, without first gaining some experience in the field you’re looking to study. EDHEC generally recommends at least two to three years of job experience before enrolling in one of our advanced programmes of study.

How can you decide if it’s the right time in your career path to go back to school? If you’re feeling stagnant in your current position, or you notice that those above you all have additional training, now might be the right moment for you to level up your qualifications.

Having a strong foundation of experience in one area but looking to expand into another is an excellent reason to return to school. The qualifications and experiences required to apply for a degree or non-degree program vary widely depending on the course of study, and it’s important when choosing an education track to determine what fits your current needs, lifestyle and budget.

Some postgraduate programmes are designed with the working professional in mind, while others require significant investments of both time and money to complete.

What options do I have to continue my education?

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to bring extra credence to your professional profile, it’s important to determine exactly what kind of education you’re looking for and how you’re looking to obtain it.

Postgraduate coursework is offered either online or in-person, with some schools offering hybrid solutions to those who live nearby but have full-time commitments. Full degree programmes, such as an MBA or a doctorate, last between one to three years and include coursework and a thesis defence. They tend to be more time and cost intensive, yet they offer a large wealth of information for someone looking to become an expert in their field.

EDHEC’s Online Master in International Business Management presents a comprehensive understanding of management in the global context, spanning 15 months and necessitating 10-15 hours of flexible study a week from its students.

Credential and technical training programs, on the other hand, can last anywhere from six weeks to over a year, and the investment varies widely based on the programme, the certificate offered, and the university offering it. They offer in-depth, professional views on specific subjects, and are usually geared towards mastery of a certain niche or practical tools and skills for particular career-based situations.

Given current times, more and more universities are moving to a partially or completely online model. This offers maximum flexibility for students, allowing those with full-time jobs, family commitments, or diverse educational needs to complete their academic goals without the obstacle of having to always be in a certain place at a certain time.

It is important, however, to ensure that you are not losing education quality as schools move to online teaching formats. The variety of technology used in their teaching, the availability of professors throughout the programme and the class or cohort size are all essential elements of a quality online programme.

It is also important to examine closely the institutions themselves:

  • Does the school boast a large network of professionals and students? How does the school hold up in comparison to other schools in the same field/career track?
  • Do they demonstrate a solid grasp of modern technology through a developed web page and relevant social media pages?
  • Do their online programmes feel like a fundamental part of their offerings, or do they seem like an afterthought?

At the end of the day, if you’re seeking out this advice you likely already have a feeling whether or not you are ready to continue climbing the educational ladder.