As a relatively new entrant in the Swiss private school system, the Swiss School of Business Research was founded on the promise of making management studies relevant to today’s business environment. To fulfil that promise, the school flipped the educational model around – instead of pursuing a pre-set academic curriculum, the school would wrap a high-quality theoretical framework of business management principles around the student’s own area of expertise and experience.
Thus a student’s final thesis – and their master’s or doctorate degrees – would be an advancement of their own business experience, their specialization of choice through meticulous research and problem-solving skills. And it would be testament to their own skill-sets with real-world relevance to their future career prospects.
This was the promise of the Bologna Process, in response to which the Swiss eduQua quality label was created, and which SSBR wholly embraced when it sought and received certification in its very first few months of operation. At the same time, SSBR also became an approved centre of learning in the United Kingdom under the globally recognized othm, the UK-based Awarding Organisation regulated by Ofqual (Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulation).
Committed as it is to academic excellence with real-world relevance to the field of modern business, SSBR is continuosly seeking further accreditations for higher education in desirable markets that appeal to international students and business professionals.
The Era of Specialisation
A question we at SSBR keep getting asked is: “Is higher education really worth the time, trouble and money?” And our answer has always been “Yes!” The reason for that is a problem versus solution scenario which are both technology-driven.
1. Business is changing… It is being transformed by technological change. Old processes and systems get updated in terms of depth and scale, or are completely replaced by new systems. The knowledge and skill-sets needed to manage new systems are vastly more in-depth and require out-of-the-box thinking in real time. These real-world problems and solutions also cross national boundaries because business itself is more globally inter-connected now.
In other words, the era of specialization is here, whether we are ready for it or not! In the world of education, a master’s degree is a lot more extensive and in-depth than a bachelor’s; and a doctorate is the very ultimate in specialization.
2. Public Education wasn’t keeping up… Swiss public universities are managed by the state, and publicly funded, and the certificates and degrees are issued by the state or state-mandated governing bodies. In return, they must conform to the rigid educational mandates and methodologies of the state at every educational level. These universities are multi-disciplinary, have large classes (mostly in-person), are managed with full-time faculty steeped in academia, fixed enrollment and completion dates. Teaching methods, because of large class sizes, is wholly theoretical. When technology moved the goal posts, traditional universities proved to be not responsive enough.
3. Technology to the rescue… Private institutes like SSBR, because they are entirely student-funded, did not need the confines of a traditional academic model, and could be uni-disciplinary, and therefore could focus on the more open-architecture standards mandated by eduQua in Switzerland. The same technology that transformed business practices enabled a dynamic, flexible and high-quality learning methodology, while lowering the cost of higher education for all.
While harnessing technology fully, such as 100% online classrooms and research, which enabled a multinational assembly of students and faculty, SSBR focused on the key differentiation factor – high-quality, student-led research and dissertation rooted in – and relevant to – the business world of its alumni.
Higher Education Pays Off
Does this emphasis on higher real-world learning and specialization pay off for students? All evidence points to the fact that it does.
According to data collected by the BLS (US Bureau of Labor Statistics) on occupations projected to have the most openings each year, on average, through to 2029, “36 occupations typically require a master’s degree for entry; 63 occupations typically require a doctoral or professional degree for entry. Additionally, wages for each occupation listed at these education levels were higher than the median for all occupations.”
A person in the second or third ladder of their field of work or profession is far more likely to be promoted to a position of greater authority and responsibility if he or she acquires a master’s degree with a specialization. Recruiters in the aerospace, defense, automotive and tech sectors actively seek out PhDs specialized in their sector of industry.
The US Census Bureau reported that “In US terms alone, a graduate with a master’s degree earns around US$10,000 per year more than a person with only a bachelor’s qualification. This difference is compounded over the course of a lifetime, with the potential to secure steeper pay increases and other financial rewards…” When it comes to doctoral degree holders, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that “in 2020, they earned a median weekly salary over 20% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree.” While pay differences vary in percentage terms depending on industry, a “study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce showed that across the fields examined, individuals with a graduate degree (master’s and doctorate) earned an average of 38.3% more than those with a bachelor’s degree in the same field.”
With so much of every course offered razor-focused on original, student-led research that is relevant to specialized and focused aspects of business and industry, SSBR is confident that the acceptance of their degrees is distinguished more by the high-quality of each student’s thesis, than merely the name of the awarding institution.
Reactions from students enrolled in the graduate and post-graduate courses has been both enthusiastic and supportive. That the first batch of doctorate students at SSBR whole-heartedly identified with the school’s student-first mission statement, was made abundantly clear this July by the graduating class of 2022.