Why we shouldn’t stop learning after we graduate
Executive Education / 30 May 2021
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Head of Executive Education Marketing & Sales
Julia ist Head of Executive Education Marketing & Sales an der Frankfurt School. Von 2013 bis 2020 war sie Programmdirektorin für den Master of Finance. Zuvor arbeitete sie in verschiedenen internationalen Vertriebs-Positionen in der Finanzbranche. Ihr Studium hat sie in Passau, Budapest und am Europa-Kolleg sowie Weiterbildungen in Oxford und Stanford absolviert.

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We all know that feeling: final university exams. Yes, finals – maybe in the form of a block exam covering multiple subjects, or a whole bunch of individual exams, or a dissertation or thesis. Preceded by months of preparation, swotting, poring over books and lecture notes… And then the big day arrives, and it’s all over. Finished. No more exams – ever. You’ve done it, you’ve “finalised” your education. You’ve got a “solid degree” in the bag and now you’re ready to embark on your career!

It’s a fallacy, of course. And we all know as much, really. Because we’ll be learning new things for the rest of our lives. And in times of rapid and permanent change, it’s increasingly important to learn new things. In a growing number of areas, a single academic degree or one-time apprenticeship is no longer enough to base a career on – let alone a career that will last for years or even decades. But there’s a host of other reasons why lifelong learning is especially important nowadays.

Why we (must) learn throughout our lives

  1. For our jobs – and especially if we want to develop our careers. Artificial intelligence, digital transformation, ESG, globalisation… there are very few jobs nowadays that aren’t being affected by these (and other) drastic changes. Last year, the pandemic showed us just how fast the skills needed for certain jobs – and even for entire industries – can change.
  2. For personal development. Delving into new areas of expertise, accepting intellectual challenges, sitting exams again – in short, stepping outside our familiar comfort zones: All these things are important if we want to stay “mentally fit” as adults. Learning to learn is something we shouldn’t unlearn!
  3. For building up our network of contacts. Quite apart from professional or personal development, continuing education usually provides us with great opportunities to expand our personal networks. After all, our fellow “students” are likely to have similar motives and professional backgrounds, so it’s easy to make a connection.

So how do I keep learning all my life?

Basically, lifelong learning is defined as the ability or capacity to learn on your own account throughout your life. Naturally, taking part in continuous professional development (CPD) or other continuing education programmes plays an important role, which is why so many universities have developed lifelong learning concepts and courses. This also applies to Frankfurt School, and we offer a comprehensive portfolio of Executive Education programmes to assist you in your personal and professional development no matter what stage you’ve reached in your career. We’re especially anxious to support our alumni on their continuous learning mission, which is why we also offer our Alumni Special, in the form of big discounts for alumni who come back to Frankfurt School to take a course.

What kind of continuing education is right for me?

In short, how do I navigate successfully through the jungle of seminars, courses, certifications, webinars, degree programmes and free-of-charge online sessions?

When deciding on the “right” CPD programme for you, three factors are particularly important (apart from the subject matter itself, of course, see also graphic below):

  1. How much time am I willing/able to invest? Can I study while I’m holding down a job? How fast or how soon do I need the relevant expertise or qualification?
  2. What format would I prefer my CPD programme to be in? Online, on campus, as a blended-learning course, in a “hybrid” format (giving me enough flexibility to decide at short notice whether to attend in person or via live streaming)? The Covid pandemic has generated a wealth of new digital options and formats.
  3. How important is it for me to have a recognised qualification? Maybe even an academic degree? Do I need a formal qualification to take the next step in my career? And how much time and energy can I devote to preparing for my exams? Or to writing an academic thesis? Which brings us full circle to the time factor.

“You don’t learn for school; you learn for life.” How often have we all heard our parents and teachers utter this pearl of wisdom? And yet it’s probably more relevant today than ever before – as is another favourite saying: “You don’t just learn at school; you learn all your life.” As we accompany our alumni on their continuous learning journey, we’re delighted to act as their intellectual sparring partners!