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Fifty per cent of employers would not consider recruiting someone who had studied for their degree wholly online, according to a survey to be published this week by CarringtonCrisp, the market research and consultancy business. Indeed, only a third of employers responding to the survey said they would consider online graduates at all, and more than 70 per cent of these same respondents said they did not believe that an online degree offered the same opportunity for students as a campus-based one.
The research is a blow to the growing number of universities teaching online programmes, and for the Moocs (massive open online courses) that are becoming increasingly prevalent in business and management teaching. “I think it’s a job for the Moocs to sell themselves to employers as well as to students,” says Andrew Crisp, one of the founders of the research company.
However, 80 per cent of those same managers and directors surveyed believed that their own companies would use technology to deliver more workplace learning in the future. The responses were largely consistent across the public and private sectors.
Prospective and current business students were also wary of online degrees. Although more than 40 per cent of prospective postgraduates said they would consider studying for part of their business degree online, they were more suspicious of Moocs. Only 30 per cent of them said they would consider studying on a Mooc.
As well as the place of technology, the survey, conducted in May 2013, asked questions about the role of business in society, the value of a business education, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and internationalism.
“There is a definite sense in the Eurozone that the image of business has been tarnished,” summarises Mr Crisp. However, the survey shows that the role of the business school is still seen to be about getting jobs for graduates.
When looking at CSR, students believe this should be embedded in programmes rather than taught as a separate topic, he says. “About half the respondents thought business schools that don’t teach sustainability should be dropped from the rankings.”
And while an international environment and curriculum is something students expect as a matter of course these days, what is perhaps more surprising is that about a third of all employers said that students should learn another language as part of their programme.
The report, See the Future 2013, published in conjunction with the EFMD, the Brussels-based accreditation body, and the UK’s Association of Business Schools, was compiled from a survey of students, prospective students, alumni and corporate managers. Nearly 5,400 people from 137 countries responded to the survey.