The stunning pace of change in technology is well documented, and it should come as no surprise that it’s disrupting the finance and business management sectors along with all the others.

For students and midstream career professionals looking to upgrade their skills, this presents a challenge. Many senior and management-level roles require formal educational credentials. However, the time, effort and financial investment is significant, and there are some questions being raised about how relevant and useful these credentials are now, and will be over the lifetime of a career.

The gap between employer expectations, which tend toward the traditional, and modern-day sensibilities and developing trends is significant. How can you reconcile the need for formal educational credentials with the potential lack of relevancy of your investment?

You need to selectively pursue an educational track that meets both needs with a programme that prepares you for the future of business and finance while satisfying employers or clients and providing you with the formal credentials that will open doors in your career. While work experience and self-study are valuable, the network-building effects, specialised knowledge and formal credentials of an education aren’t to be missed.

When you start your search for a business leadership, administration or finance degree, there are a number of considerations. Foremost among them must be the programme’s relevancy to current needs and value for future needs, including the changing nature of work. Ask how the programme that you’re considering will make you more competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s employment market.

The educational institute and degree programme could be a known and respected quantity to employers, adding credibility and quality to your CV. It might have a high bar to entry and be known for its standards of academic excellence. It may expose you to an extended network of professionals who might be valuable as resources and supporters throughout your career.

Review the programme structure and course notes, sessions or syllabus to get a sense of what will be covered during the course. Look for content that speaks to current and emerging trends. Is the educational institution teaching content that was relevant ten years ago? Does it both incorporate the use of, and speak to, current technology and trends? Does it include projects or practical work that will expand your skillset, portfolio and preparedness to contribute to problem-solving in the workplace upon commencement? Does it emphasise capabilities and attributes such as rapid learning and creative problem-solving over rote memorisation or manual procedures?

The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers a wide range of programmes that not only look to the future in their content but also in their flexible delivery. Study remotely, in bite-size pieces around your career, or in intensive bursts as suits your schedule and needs.

A forward-looking certificate or degree programme focuses on helping you gain the skills, experience and connections that will help you succeed as the business and finance sector changes around you, rather than emphasising outdated technologies or skills. It’s that combination of transferrable, actionable principles and hard skills that will help you future-proof your career.

Elliot Preece