Lifelong business education can keep you up to date, raise your awareness, help you broaden your network and re-skill when needed. Business education can help you hone your skills and sharpen your attunement to the environment.
Unlike other disciplines, the concepts and tools discussed as part of business education acquire a different meaning at different stages of your career. Only several iterations over the same concept enhance it and allow you to acquire enough depth to make the most of them. Proof of this is when you hear a non-specialist overnight manager who uses the jargon, but does not get the idea. They probably did a weekend crash course, but they do need a couple more courses to avoid being dangerously overconfident.
Take concepts like Porter’s 5 forces or the BCG matrix, which are staple content. When you first heard them they sounded awfully like common sense, didn’t they? The second time was probably when you had to use them to address a real world situation and then you realized how useful these simple ideas are, and now they are likely to be second nature to you. Most management concepts look like common sense and are indeed simple enough to enable decision making under anxiety. When the going gets tough the clarity of a cow and dog has no rival.
Taking the time to revisit old but good concepts, discuss some new ones, compare notes with other people who are in business and talking to clever professors who spend their time researching new business and management concepts is what business education is about and it lasts a lifetime.
Professor Ignacio Canales is a Professor of Management at the University of Aberdeen Business School. Previously he held posts as Professor, Reader and Senior Lecturer in Strategy at the Adam Smith Business School in the University of Glasgow and at the University of St Andrews. His research interests in strategy process focuses on asymmetric relationships between managers as they interact to formulate and implement strategy.