Saturday, January 3, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Education

Regardless of the type of business you are in some form of education is required. Some of it may be as an apprentice on the job and others a more formal education like a certification or a degree. The goal of any education is to import the skills required to perform in a particular profession – typically it involves indoctrination in a certain way of thinking or being an engineer I can attest to the fact the curriculum is designed to reinforce a person’s ability to see and think spatially, notice patterns, learn their associated names, and approach to problem solving logically, methodically and systematically. Each course of study does something similar though the application of the knowledge is different. In the case of apprentice the master imparts his/her skills at the practical application of their skill set like in the case of a bricklayer, dry waller (rough or finish), pipe fitter, welder, etc. 

An important part of education is continuing education. In most professions a certain amount of continuing education is required in order to stay abreast with new trends and best practices. In this case sometimes a certain number of hours is required to each year to allow the practicing professional to stay relevant. Take the field of inspection for example – each year new codes are developed and old ones revised and it is important for the inspector to be able to know what information is applicable in the performance of their job. This is also true in running a business, more effective strategies and best practices occur and it is important to stay abreast of them. 

Many business schools offer executive education courses. Having attended Tuck at Dartmouth College I have a personal bias and affinity towards this school and its coursework. The practicum taught is challenging – imagine the first year of am MBA taught a week by some of the leading minds in the country. In addition imagine a fresh set of eyes objective eyes whose agenda is to see you grow and succeed walking you through creative methodologies to make your business profitable, to understand money management and marketing as well as to evaluate your business on a micro and micro level and provide you with pointers on your strengths and weaknesses.  These types of courses offer you a chance to be professionally introspective and then apply that knowledge. Additionally these courses allow you an opportunity to interact and network with the country’s best and brightest current and future upcoming business owners to look for chances to augment their efforts through teaming, joint ventures and referrals. 

In this challenging business environment education is even more important. Another less salient benefit of education is it shows those around you that you are open minded and willing to learn more and new ways of doing things and that you are willing to delay instant short term gratification in the pursuit of a long term goal or objective. 

As a business here are some courses you may want to consider:

  • Focusing your strategy on High Performance
  • Balance statements, Income Statements and Cash Flows
  • Financial Analysis
  • Customer Orientation and Service
  • Designing and implementing a Marketing Strategy
  • Financing
  • Strategic Thinking in the changing market demographics
  • Decision Making
  • Operations Strategy
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Case studies 

Would like to offer this reading material for your benefit:

As a business owner I strongly encourage you to look for new and creative ways to always learn, grow and continue your personal, business and professional development through education even if it is just spending a little while each day reading and researching on the internet.

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