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Career Focus

Mini MBA’s, micro-credential new ways to get up to speed

By WENDY TERRY - March 16 2023

The front page article of the Winter 2022 issue of Learning Curves titled “Micro Credentials  The Next “Big Thing” in Adult Learning” described a new type of certification. Now I see the Globe and Mail in the November 23rd 2022 Business Section had an article titled “Mini MBA’s are a time-friendly way for professionals to boost skills” described a new type of graduate studies certification. 

Both of these, mirco credentials and mini MBA’s, are marketed to would be adult learners as a way to get a specific skill needed in a cost efficient and timely way. You do not have to pay for a full course or series of courses or spend the time to take them, in order to just earn a specific skill or gain a specific area of knowledge. to get a credit to show on your skill set listing or resume. 

Seeking a specific skill or area of knowledge is especially true to continue to be digital literate.  To be digital literate, it used to be knowing Microsoft Office, then analytics and big data, now it is about communication across sectors to make sure you are not siloed.   See the Globe and Mail in the November 23rd  2022 Business Section, an article titled. “ Industry leaders must be able to talk tech.” 

Having read news about the latest data release from Canada’s 2021 census, I learned we have the highest percentage of citizens with post secondary education in the G7.  So that could explain the market for micro and mini, as many adults want a specific skill set or area of knowledge not another full under graduate degree or post graduate degree.  They want an education package that does not take up a lot time and money to earn that specific skill set or area of knowledge 

Having gone back to school in the early 1970’s most of my fellow students had not even completed high school, so we were willing to put the time and money in to get a Certificate, a Diploma,  a BA.   Most of us went part time evening, forever, it seemed to get that certification. Now you find that adults are more willing to invest going back full time day as the labour market will now reward them for getting that full credential. There is also more student funding.  For those who already have an accepted credential, and there are many, adding a specific skill or knowledge area is then what they would be willing to pay for. 

The Canada census data noted that partly what drove us to having a high rate of degree holders was that many newcomers had a degree as they are given priority for entry, based on level of education. But do we reward them for that in the labour market, often not. So taking a micro or mini course would help them gain Canadian credibility at a price and time investment they could afford given the costs of adjusting to a new country, labour market. 

So where can you find these Micro and  Mini graduate courses.  Well Micro credentials have become well spread out in the adult education field but one of the first to offer them was the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto.  The Rotman school of Management at the University of Toronto offers mini MBA’s called Essential MBA’s.

Put Micro Credentials in your search engines as well as Mini MBA’s and see the plethora of choice.  Many of these can be done by distance ed, so you can still work in Toronto but study at the University of Ottawa, their digital transformation mini MBA.

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