The Estonian Business School (EBS) launches master’s programmes with a new concept, which are designed by the students based on their personal career needs, changes in society and lifelong learning principles.
According to the EBS chancellor Mart Habakuk, traditional business schools are rapidly losing market to e-studies and company colleges: “A few years back, the Estonian graduates interested in acquiring degrees in business or economy had to choose between the departments of economy of the 5-6 local universities or move abroad for studies, but today, in addition to all the previous choices, the students can choose from the e-curricula and the thousands of microdegrees and courses of hundreds of universities.
Relying on the new opportunities, the EBS has undergone a thorough makeover with its master’s programmes. The most significant innovation in the curriculum is the division of the curriculum between improving the academic literacy of business and leadership, developing personal attributes and acquiring special skills. The university designs the section on promoting business and leadership literacy and the other curriculum sections are designed by the university, the specialist direction of the partnering company and the students, considering the needs of the students and their (potential) employer. The programme also adjusts to the students’ schedule and can be acquired with a 100%, 50% or 25% work load, which in turn can be revised at least twice per year. We are expanding our library so that as of the 2019 autumn semester, access to more than 10,000 and growing online courses is included in the tuition fee of the EBS postgraduate and corporate academy students.
To help the students make smart career design choices and select the specialisation based on the students’ interests and the needs of the employer, the master’s programme also includes collaboration with a coach, with whom the students can discuss their career goals, the need for new knowledge and skills and the study paths and formats suitable for their aims and personal traits.
Habakuk is certain that the role of universities is changing, and the business and IT departments and schools are the trend setters. “Today, we are used to a life made up of stages – you learn until you get a degree and then start working. However, such a model is no longer valid when studying business, leadership and IT. The number of positions where only thorough specialised knowledge is sufficient and business, leadership and IT skills do not matter is on the decline. But this does not mean that you must find 40 hours a week for 39 weeks of the year at the expense of your work, family and hobbies to call yourself a full-time student according to Estonian laws, which give you the right to study for free in a public university.
We are living in a world where 200-400 hours of retraining and additional training only helps you stand still on the career ladder. The EBS has built its new master’s programme study paths and curricula based on the new reality.
Significant innovations of the new master’s programmes:
- A design thinking course heads the student admission process, the passing of which helps the candidates map their needs and plan their further career and education;
- The main subjects of the master’s programme provide academic business and leadership-related literacy and updated base knowledge;
- The specialisations have one or several corporate partners, and students from partnering companies are involved in the specialisation modules. The conditions of the specialisation module qualification vary depending on the nature of the module.
- Students can discuss their goals and alternative ways to achieve these with the coach at least once a year;
- Students select the pace of their studies; the improvement of business and leadership-related academic literacy can be divided across 1-4 years. Specialisation modules (the required work load of the students is 700-800 hours per year) take place throughout the year;
- A programme centred on the students is part of the lifelong learning principle. The students have the right, but no obligation, to accept the EBS master’s degree after successfully passing at least a 120-credit curriculum. If the students already have a master’s or a 4-year bachelor’s degree, then after successfully passing a 60-credit curriculum. The EBS master’s programme curricula continue at the lifelong learning pace (with the required work load of 400-800 hour per year), offering additional modules and individual study paths based on the EBS lifelong learning community needs.