Expert Advice: Tips to Turn Your Dream into a Business

Quantic Alum, Dr. Lisa Bélanger is a keynote speaker, author and behavior change expert. She teaches professionals about healthy habits, mindfulness, productivity. Besides her accomplishments of running the Paris marathon, climbing Kilimanjaro, and being the mom of two wonderful children, she is also the founder of ConsciousWorks, an industry-leading consulting firm that integrates proactive mental health and performance strategies by applying cutting-edge science to strategically improve behaviors, engage leadership influence, and shift cultures. 

What ultimately inspired her to take the leap and launch her company and what advice does she have for new business founders? Dr. Bélanger gives us her top tips to create a successful startup. 

What inspired you to create ConsciousWorks? 

While I was consulting and researching corporate wellness, I realized that most programs lacked strategy, behaviour change support, and well-defined metrics of success. For the most part, there is little to no science behind how we work. There was an opportunity to leverage science to the mainstream to unveil ways to work better. I knew the potential that lives within a company to not only impact personal behaviors, but also leverage social support through a well-designed program, and create long term, sustainable change. 

Your company’s core values are important for your mission. How did you build these and how can someone determine their own for their startup or new business?

Our core values were determined a few months after the business started, and it was an activity with the whole team. For our team, we were very aligned in terms of individual values and where we saw the company. The company values can really be what you want to be known for, and would be represented in potential employees and future partners. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting to draft a business plan? 

Be ready to pivot! My business plan was finished just weeks before the pandemic and then we went into a complete shutdown. The plan was placed directly in the garbage and re-imagined. In the past year we had to respond to the changing world and try to plan through the uncertainty. An agile business plan became a requirement.

What resources did you need to launch your business?

My primary and more important resources are the incredible team I work with and a solid wifi connection. 

Where did you find it most important to invest your time and energy? 

In relationships: with my team, with partners and with clients. I believe this is always a large part of business, but during the pandemic it has involved creativity and a conscious effort to collaborate remotely. 

What advice would you give to someone for setting their future company goals? 

Connect your goals to your purpose. Know how they intersect with the big picture, then, create a system to achieve them. Move towards that goal every single day. Even if it is just 1% – after a year you are 365% closer. Your goals are as strong as the systems you create. 

What mental health advice would you give to someone dealing with the stresses of setting up a new business? 

In a new company there is always something on fire, deadlines, and inevitable pressure. There are more ups and downs than you can imagine – so create a system to rest every single day! Rest is not a reward for when the work is done, it is a strategic behavior for longevity. 

Also, get a mentor! Someone further along in the entrepreneurship process. I realized quickly, that entrepreneurs are often the only people who ‘get it’ and are great sources of connection. They can provide support for both the emotional and tangible starts to a budding business.  

Want to hear more proactive mental health techniques to become your best self and reach your highest potential? We recently worked with Dr. Bélanger to launch a podcast called The Science of Work, which examines top business leaders’ advice, research, and current trends that are shaping today’s workforce. Tune in to learn more!

The Benefits of an MBA for Startups and Entrepreneurs

Common folklore surrounding what it takes to start a business is awash with one familiar motif: the dropout-turned-billionaire entrepreneur. 

Indeed, when enterprising individuals come of age and start contemplating business ideas, their dreams often adopt this narrative.

For a long time now, a contrast has been cast between two groups of people. In one corner, those who spend a significant part of their lives furnishing their educational backgrounds. And in the other, those who choose to act on their entrepreneurial dreams.

Still, many aspiring business owners have pursued a Master of Business Administration. They’ve done this to better equip themselves in their role as startup runners.

The evidence supporting this trend goes beyond the anecdotal. 

For this reason, we think it’s important to understand what use an MBA could be to those in the startup world — whether well established or still aspiring. 

Is an MBA Worth it?

What’s the Remuneration Like as an MBA Holder?

First off, is getting an MBA worthwhile to your earnings? 

QS World Rankings conducted a survey to assess the revenues earned by entrepreneurs holding an MBA. The pay averaged $106,000 per annum, without aggregation across regions.

Here’s a more specific lowdown of the yearly revenue across countries:

  • USA: US$ 102,100 per annum
  • Italy: US$ 86,400 per annum
  • France: US$ 98,500 per annum
  • Germany: US$ 77,200 per annum
  • Switzerland: US$ 123,500 per annum
  • The UK: US$ 92,400 per annum
  • Singapore: US$ 82,700 per annum
  • Australia: US$ 98,400 per annum
  • Canada: US$ 99,800 per annum

Promising, no? It even makes the prospect of repaying your tuition loan a little more plausible.

But here’s the rub: Pursuing an MBA is quite an investment. The fees can get pretty steep. 

Especially if you opt for an ivy league school — most of which offer a curriculum no different than any other university.

That said, the investment of pursuing an MBA is worth it. And to prove this, we’ll look at five of the world’s most renowned MBA holders.

Four of The World’s Most Renowned MBAs

Michael Bloomberg

An American philanthropist, former politician, and business magnate, Michael Rubens Bloomberg is well known within entrepreneurial circles. 

He’s the sole owner and founder of Bloomberg LP, a company that supplies financial data to investment companies and other entities.

He currently has a net worth of $40 billion and earned his MBA in 1966.

Phil Knight

Are you filled with gratitude for your Nikes and have perhaps wondered in the past who to thank? 

This is the guy. 

To say that Phil Knight’s shoe brand has been successful is quite an understatement. It started as a small shoe retail outlet in 1964. And under his long stewardship, it has grown into a billion-dollar conglomerate.

As an individual, Phil Knight is worth well over $45 billion. He owes his business acumen at least partly to his MBA, which he acquired in 1966. 

Melinda Gates

Perhaps one of the world’s most well-known philanthropists, Melinda Gates has carved out her niche within the business management world. 

She graduated with an MBA in 1987. Since then, she has worked with Microsoft and the charitable startups she co-chairs, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There’s a long list of entities to which she has dedicated her entrepreneurial expertise.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook took up the role of Apple CEO following founder Steve Jobs in 2011. Those were some pretty big shoes to fill, to say the least.

Since then, he’s not only made good on Jobs’ vision for the largest tech conglomerate in the world — he has also steered Apple away from ethically grey manufacturing practices. 

He’s been featured multiple times on the list of Fortune 500 CEOs. And is well known as a torchbearer for equality and civil and LGBT rights within the mainstream tech world. 

Important Things to Consider Before Enrolling in Business Schools 

How Long Is the Program?

The length of your program determines how quickly you will resume your entrepreneurial work. It also determines the density of your course requirements.

In colleges with shorter entrepreneurship MBA programs, students will typically spend six hours per day studying in class. While in programs of standard length students will typically spend half that: approximately three hours.

Though it varies between colleges, an MBA program runs for an average of between 11 and 16 months. 

Where Is the Business School Located?

Your location determines the availability of your chosen specialization and the quality of education you have access to. 

Indeed, a UK citizen residing in the capital will enjoy access to top business courses. Just as a Californian seeking to do a tech MBA will benefit immensely exactly where they live.

That said, there is still a lot to reap from living in a more rural environment. 

Does the Tuition Cost to Return-on-Investment Look Favorable?

When assessing the return on investment of such an important financial decision, it’s vital to think beyond the prospect of revenue.

Sure, it’s important to choose an MBA in entrepreneurship program with a sustainable tuition tag. But the applications of an entrepreneurship MBA towards running your business are, in large part, analytical. And therefore individual.

Unlike MBA students looking to enter the job market, your goals are directed towards starting a business. And eventually, making everyday entrepreneurial decisions.

What Are Your Strengths and Interests?

There are numerous MBA specialization areas.

Think of it like this: If you can start a business in a subject, it can be studied and mastered. Finance. Tech. Textile design and manufacturing. Financial accounting and consultancy. Legal management; you name it.

It’s essential to have some idea of what your interests are. Which, of course, will almost always be wholly determined by your specific field of business.

Best MBA Programs

In addition to an MBA for entrepreneurship, there are several other specialized fields to choose from:

  • IT (Information Technology)
  • International Business
  • Corporate Management
  • Marketing 
  • Finance 
  • Operations Management

Jobs for Entrepreneurs with MBAs

The jobs most suited and most accessible by MBA graduates include:

  • Financial Consultant/Analyst – manages the firm’s accounting department and advises proprietors
  • Marketing Manager – oversees advertisement development and product marketing strategies
  • Research Manager – helps in budgeting, business plan formulation, and overseeing research projects
  • Non-Profit Manager – organizes events to raise funds for various causes
  • IT Department Head – managees developer teams; delegates and supervises business tasks
  • Human Resource Manager — coordinates staff issues for startups, both internal and contracted

MBA for Entrepreneurship vs Actual Entrepreneurship: Myths Dispelled

Myth #1: You Must Pick One Path: School or Entrepreneurship

Ah yes. So the fallacy goes. While the rest of the world trudges on with actual entrepreneurial work, MBA students extricate themselves. For two years, they’re fed all there is to know about starting and running a new business.

But on closer inspection, this contrast of school vs. experience is not entirely valid. The theory comes tainted from the source. 

For one, the first most important requirement for an entrepreneur is, and will always be, an appetite for prudent, calculated risk.

A decent case can be made that you’d be in a sufficient fiscal position after finishing your degree to start and run a new business. 

About this question of time and value, Seth Godin says

Myth #2: Traditional MBA Programs Trump Online MBA Programs

Not so. Truth is, many graduate business students set their sights only on a traditional, on-campus MBA at a brick-and-mortar school. 

If we allow for a grander comparison, there are over 1,000 MBA programs in the United States. 

Some are full-time, while others are part-time, often offering classes on nights and weekends. 

Here at Quantic, we offer both an innovative free online program as well as an online executive program.

But, just like the world of business itself, MBA programs are changing rapidly. There are now over 330 online MBAs offered in the U.S — of which Quantic is a top contributor. 

With two accredited, highly selective business degree programs — the free MBA and radically affordable Executive MBA — Quantic’s MBA programs are reliably well-reviewed and readily available online. 

Online MBA Pros

The biggest reason that many entrepreneurs choose an online MBA is for the flexibility. Unlike traditional MBA programs, most online graduate business degrees allow you to work on your own time from anywhere.

Online MBA Cons

One disadvantage of an online MBA program is a lack of in-person community and connection.

MBA students often benefit from in-person conversations with peers and instructors. And that’s both in terms of academic collaboration and socializing. Fortunately, the Executive MBA also offers multiple weekend-long conferences held in cities around the world.

Traditional MBA Pros

In traditional business schools, MBA programs often appeal to students who want a little more hands-on guidance. 

Fresh undergraduates from top business schools might prefer the additional in-person attention. At least that which is offered by a brick-and-mortar school, as well as the familiar daily routine of face-to-face classes. 

Traditional MBA Cons

Of course, the most significant disadvantage of on-campus MBA programs is the lack of flexibility. 

Say you have a family at home, existing business obligations, or a burgeoning career. For these students, it can be difficult to justify starting a full-time MBA program.

Traditional business schools offering MBAs also tend to host younger students on average and there aren’t as many international students at any given on-campus program. 

Benefits of an MBA

At its most efficacious, an MBA will equip its holder with an exhaustive, well-rounded set of entrepreneurial tools. 

Here’s what you can expect to gain from an MBA: 

Firm Conceptual Foundation to Start & Run Your Business

MBAs are meant for aspiring corporate climbers just as much as aspiring entrepreneurs. And its core units are designed with either end in mind. 

An MBA is as credible a tag as you can earn to validate your ability to steer businesses in any (and more) of these fields. And that’s regardless of your eventual course of trade. Whether mechanical operations, marketing and branding, financial services, communications, corporate law, even IT.

A recent study that profiled nearly 40 new businesses reliably found that, of those started within the past decade or so, at least 33% had an MBA-holding founder.

Essential Skills and Insights for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The world is awash with people hiding truly innovative ideas. The trouble is that most people lack the basic knowledge needed to be competitive in the real world.

An MBA will serve the crucial role of equipping you with the right know-how to see your ideas to fruition. Specifically, that which is needed to manipulate the market, find a niche and make it sustainably profitable.

Indeed, like most other fields, entrepreneurial knowledge is a priori — the concepts are testable, predictable, and hence actionable. And an MBA will go a long way in giving you the innate ability to pattern out your businesses’ course in just this way.

Practical Communication, Leadership, and Problem Solving Skills

There’s no other way to make something meaningful out of your new businesses — you need the ability to communicate efficiently. 

Regardless of your line of trade, if you do indeed want to accrue enough venture capital to bring your business ideas into fruition, you need to learn how to convince investors of the soundness of your product, service, or business plan. 

Additionally, as a startup founder, you will need to learn how to manage teams of workers. And just as well, you’ll need the conceptual tools needed to understand the scale of a problem, scope out its dimensions, and determine how best to tackle it. 

With an MBA from Quantic, you will gain the skills of interpersonal communication, teamwork and collaboration, adaptive thinking — and that’s just some of the tools in the MBA’s holster.

Extra Academic Credentials and International Experience to Appeal to Potential Investors and Partners

If you opt to enroll in either one of Quantic’s two MBA programs, it’s an excellent step towards making a credible case for your worth in the international business market. 

An MBA is not only universally recognized as a valuable credential by investors you will eventually pitch to. But it’s also a mark of global exposure and evidence of compatibility with most business environments worldwide. 

Get Started With Your MBA at Quantic

While an MBA is impactful, it’s essential to recognize that it is not a replacement to a business’s uniquely crucial requirements: the confidence to take necessary risks. Nor will it furnish you with the passion needed to see an idea through the inevitable successes and pitfalls.

What it will do, however, is take your leadership skills to the next level. All while building connections in a global community of high-achieving classmates and alumni. 

Quantic’s online MBA program can serve as a game-changer in your business career, and we’re not the only ones saying it

Our premier 13-month degree program is designed for mid-career professionals. It integrates collaborative group projects with our rigorous MBA curriculum and is enhanced with specializations in management, leadership, and advanced strategy. 

And you don’t have to take it from us. Vay Cao, alumni of Quantic Business School and founder of Free the PhD, an advocacy and career development platform for PhDs, has very interesting things to say about her time at our campus. Check out this case study we conducted on her work and startup.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

What women want: The proportion of women in tech remains far too low, despite concerted efforts to rectify things. Studies show that this regression is largely due to poor culture in many tech workplaces that aren’t inclusive enough to support female workers. In cultures where discrimination was more prevalent, women would advance to managerial roles just 28% of the time, versus 40% for men. Some of the top inclusive culture aspects that women wish to see in a company include supporting parents and parents-to-be, genuine mentors, and diversity in senior positions. 

High hopes: Jay-Z has created a $10 million fund for startups to boost minority-owned cannabis businesses. The rapper and entrepreneur says he is motivated by an imbalance in the marijuana business: People of color, who have been disproportionately punished for involvement in the drug, where it is illegal, comprise only a small number of those making money from the multibillion-dollar market in legalized pot. Mr. Carter, who started the $10 million in seed money received as part of a merger, joins a broader push for equitable, economic opportunity across the cannabis sector. 

Born to be wild (and safe): New fashion technology from Airbag Inside Sweden AB designed airbag jeans and high-tech vests to make motorbikes safer. The wearer tethers the jeans to their bike and if they fall from the motorcycle, the airbags are triggered, filling with compressed air and lessening the impact on the lower body. The airbag can then be deflated, refilled with gas and reassembled into the jeans to use again. This is part of a larger effort to make innovative safety options more attainable to motorcyclists around the globe. 

Food for thought: Executives at Kellogg Co. and Unilever are calling on startups to help tackle food industry issues. The companies partnered with the organizers of the Future Food-Tech Summit to launch the Innovation Challenge, which will culminate in a pitch at the live-streamed virtual event on March 11-12. Innovative food solutions can include improving taste, plant-based alternatives, gut wellness, and waste management.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Try your mother’s maiden name? Bitcoin owners are getting rich because the cryptocurrency’s value has soared. But what happens when you can’t tap that wealth because you forgot the password to your digital wallet? Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco, has two guesses left to figure out a password that is worth, as of this week, about $220 million. 

When in doubt, Zoom it out: Companies have had to figure out remote work on the fly. Everything from outdated technology to a lack of in-person social time with colleagues has presented new challenges for employees used to an office environment. However, businesses are finding that with a little flexibility, the right technology, and more employee training, they can increase employee productivity well into 2021 and beyond. 

Word of Advice: At 34 years old, Nikhil Kamath is one of India’s youngest billionaires after co-founding India’s largest trading brokerage, Zerodha. The company has seen its number of registered users double under the pandemic and reportedly has a daily turnover of an estimated $10 billion. Nikhil explains his best advice for other entrepreneurs’ success, including observing industry trends and tapping into growing industries. 

Good genes: Gene-editing technology can tackle some of life’s most pressing problems, from disease to malnutrition. In the past decade or so, genetic engineering has undergone its own transformation, thanks to companies like CRISPR Therapeutics, which allows its users to snip a stretch of DNA and then either disable the affected sequence or replace it with a new one. Funding has risen from larger pharma companies, considering that the treatments could be lucrative and the broader technologies may be highly scalable. Because of this, gene-editing stocks have now returned about 230% over the past 2 years, compared to the broader S&P 500, which is up by about 52% over the same period.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week:

Do what you like, like what you do: This past year brought an explosion of newly launched small businesses and startups. What are their success secrets? One tip is to simply be yourself and be passionate about your work. Embracing your identity and trusting yourself allows for more novel products and opportunities. The pandemic and lockdowns have afforded many of us the time and space to discover who we are, and what we want in life, love, and work. The start of a new year is a great time to pursue these passions and go full entrepreneur. 

Purpose over profit: From the importance of authenticity to being grounded in humanity, purpose-driven companies will not only help advance industries, but create meaningful societal impacts. What are some of the top forecasted trends for businesses focused on purpose? One main aspect will be that “storytelling” will evolve into “story-doing.” Companies will increasingly take action before they communicate about it. “We’ll hear stories about real risk-taking, about rolling up sleeves and jumping in to help,” says Laura Ferry, president of Good Company. “We will learn about the people who bravely stood up, helped others, or marched for a cause.”

Creativity is intelligence having fun: Some researchers are finding that while many companies are spending more money on creativity and innovations, their returns are still flatlining. How can they fix this creative slump? Welcome “Augmented Creativity.” This is a term being used when humans use AI to help them understand the deluge of data to create new works and prototypes. This approach utilizes huge datasets that AI mines to look for well-established, yet previously untapped, connections. Augmented Creativity has helped develop everything form new music apps, to delectable cookie-cake hybrids. 

Wednesday’s riots in Washington D.C., which included the United States Capitol being breached during the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes, has gained the attention of business leaders from around the globe. Executives and CEOs from some of the world’s biggest tech companies took to platforms to condemn the violence, and even temporarily ban Trump’s accounts, but was it too little too late? The role of social media, and the political, cultural power it can wield, left Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, saying: “there are a lot of hard questions we’re going to have to answer for our children.” In any case, here’s to hoping 2021 has nowhere to go but up from here.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

From being on mute to overusing the adjective “unprecedented,” here’s a roundup of  lessons we all learned in 2020. One key takeaway? Apparently, people are generally better off when their leaders are emotionally intelligent, humble, and ethical. Want to better your emotional and cultural intelligence skill set? Make sure to try our new Cultural Intelligence course. 

Can innovation be learned? The answer is yes, according to Elon Musk, one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of the modern era. During a candid interview with Wall Street Journal, Musk argued that creating innovative products is “absolutely learnable.” It all comes down to answering three simple questions

A whole new meaning for greenhouse: AI technology can now help fight the climate problem that may be hiding inside buildings. From HVAC systems to water chillers, almost 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions comes from the construction and operation of buildings. A new startup called Carbon Lighthouse is using hundreds of sensors combined with AI to dramatically lower carbon emissions.

No more language barrier: The UK-based startup, Papercup, has developed speech technology that translates people’s voices into other languages. Papercup is building out an AI and machine learning-based system that it says is capable of translating a person’s voice and expressiveness into other languages. Unlike a lot of text-to-speech, the startup claims the resulting voice translation is “indistinguishable” from human speech, and, perhaps uniquely, it attempts to retain the characteristics of the original speaker’s voice. The company has already raised £8 million in funding and is being used in the video and television industry. 

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

Here’s to strong women: Forbes has unveiled its list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” From fighting the pandemic to reengineering American politics, these influential women — including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams — are making history. According to Forbes, the women who made the 17th annual list “hail from 30 countries and were born across four generations. There are 10 heads of state, 38 CEOs and five entertainers among them. Where they differ in age, nationality, and job description, they are united in the ways they have been using their platforms to address the unique challenges of 2020.”

Beavers, burpees, and bread, oh my! What do these three things have in common? They were some of the most-searched words in 2020. It’s that time of year again when Google Trends releases the UK’s most-searched terms of the year. From sourdough to sanitizer, not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic dominated this year’s list. 

If you want to explore the most-searched trends, globally or for your home country, head here.

Need an inspirational spark for your next “Aha” moment? Here are five steps that will help boost your creativity and capacity for innovation. From fundamental steps like exploration and focus, scientists have studied how the process of creativity works within our brain and what conditions can favor new, unconventional ideas. For example, a brain that achieves mastery through practice and repetition is more capable of finding innovative solutions to complex problems in a given area. 

Face value: China’s male skincare market is booming and domestic startups and global investors are taking notice. These new beauty companies have brand ambitions that rival giants, like L’Oreal, in a billion-dollar business that serves millennial men. The cosmetic interest seems to be highly influenced by the spread of social media and South Korean pop culture. Already the biggest in the world, the Chinese men’s facial skincare market is forecast to hit 12.5 billion yuan ($1.90 billion) this year – and expand 50% to 18.5 billion yuan in 2025.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

Pivot! A buzzword synonymous for start-ups is making its way into the shared vocabulary for small businesses. Smaller companies are finding new ways of operating and reaching new consumers in an increasingly competitive space. Business founders are learning lessons from entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs. These start-up skills are helping them streamline their processes and in many cases, boosting profits. 

Good genes: The UK-based startup, Bit Bio, is aiming to recreate every human cell type in the body. Not only will this be a monumental scientific milestone, but access to human cells would also accelerate the development of cell-based therapies. Quantic alum, Grant Belgard, is the Head of Bioinformatics at Bit Bio. The company’s cell reprogramming platform only needed three weeks to raise $41.5 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to support this company’s goal. 

Green machine: There’s never been a greater push for sustainable products and technologies than there is today. We’ve reached a critical point with regards to climate change, and many global innovators and businesses are stepping up to the plate to build a greener future. From smog vacuum cleaners, robotic bees, and edible cutlery, here are some of the incredible examples of sustainable innovation that could change the world as we know it.

Shape up your social accounts: A start-up, Lifebrand, is now using AI and machine learning technology to scrub users’ social media accounts for “harmful” posts. Their software boasts that it can scan your social media accounts (if permitted), and flag potentially inappropriate or harmful posts so you can review and/or delete them. The company was the winner of a pitch competition with more than 1,000 competing companies, hosted by investing company, StartEngine with Kevin O’Leary. Executive MBA student, Dr. Chris Kager, has been an investor and a close advisor for Lifebrand. Chris recently helped the company raise the majority of their $1.6 million seed round.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

We’re big fans of fellow disruptors: From nanobots to brain-computer interfaces, Forbes lists its top five emerging disruptive technologies that entrepreneurs need to know. They have the potential to create innovative breakthroughs and completely change the aerospace, health and manufacturing sectors. 

Move over Dr. Dolittle: A new app has been developed that can translate your cat’s meow. MeowTalk records the sound of your feline friend and then attempts to identify the meaning. The purr-fect concept was developed by a former Amazon Alexa engineer. Although every cat’s meow is unique, it can translate the sound into phrases like “Feed Me!” The app is mostly used for fun now, but could lead to developments of “smart-collars” for in-depth pet vocal translations. 

Gen Z passes the vibe check: New reports show that Zillennials will reshape the economy and how we invest… forever. The first generation born into an online world is now entering the workforce and compelling other generations to adapt. Gen Z plans to do things differently than past generations, especially with their time and money. Sectors that will benefit include e-commerce, luxury, and media, while areas like alcohol, meat, cars and travel may suffer.


Old McDonald had a drone: Studies show that drones are helping UK farmers become more sustainable and increase their yield. They are offering a wide range of agriculture benefits like irrigation management, high-resolution crop maps, and quality control. European startups are now creating drones that can collect data to create valuable insights into the effectiveness of overall farming methods and techniques. 

Corporate Training & Development: Why It’s Important in 2021

No matter your industry, role, or career objectives, knowledge is power. You need it if you want to advance and maintain the same level of performance that won you that promotion. 

How do you go about getting the skills and knowledge you need? That’s where corporate training and development come into play. In the 2020s, it’s going to play a huge role in the way organizations think about and invest in their employees.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. We’ll uncover:

  • What corporate training is and why it’s so important
  • Tips to maximize the benefits of corporate training and corporate eLearning
  • How to identify the right corporate training courses that work best for you

By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly what a solid corporate training program looks like and how to make the most of what’s out there to accelerate your career.

What Is Corporate Training?

Corporate training refers to organized professional development activities created by companies to help their employees be more effective on the job. If you’ve ever taken a set of courses created and hosted by your employer, you’ve had a taste of what it entails.

These days, you’ll often see it called Corporate Education or Workplace Learning, but it’s a little different from the concept of on-the-job training. Corporate training is:

  • A form of continued education. You may encounter online courses, seminars, or series of lectures much like a traditional college class. This is especially true if your company uses outside resources or institutions that offer corporate training.
  • Geared toward your holistic professional development. It will help you attain the skills you need to be an effective corporate professional.
  • Not always company-specific. Corporate training is designed to help you excel in your current role and become more valuable to the company over time. However, you’ll usually also develop skills that you can take with you to other companies.

How You’ll Benefit From Corporate Training

A good corporate training program is one of the most critical things to look for when you consider taking a position in a company. The presence of one signals that the company recognizes its employees as a valuable resource and is interested in nurturing you as an asset. This has a host of benefits for both the company and you. Research suggests that you’ll enjoy:

  • Increased efficiency and competence at your job
  • Greater motivation and morale
  • A stronger and more cohesive company culture
  • Stabler teams and relationships due to fewer turnovers

Corporate Training Processes That Support Your Success

Imagine one Friday that you walk into your yearly review with your boss, who’s so enthused about your performance that you get a promotion. Congratulations! In the corporate world, that’s what everyone wants to hear.

Come Monday, get dressed up in your most confidence-inspiring outfit and head into the office. Your first task? A meeting with a key partner in an hour about an initiative spearheaded by your department. All right, you say. New position, new experience! Then, your boss hands you spreadsheets you’ve never seen before to help you prepare. By the way, after that, you’re having lunch with two of your department’s team leaders to discuss the findings in that meeting. No pressure.

It’s a good thing you had time for that online corporate training module over the weekend to help you get up to speed, right? Thanks to those processes your company has developed to help support your career, you’ve totally got this.

What a Strategic Model for Training & Development Looks Like

A strategic corporate training model typically has four phases. As you move through the ranks of your company, you’ll encounter them. They are:

  1. Onboarding. Onboarding gets employees up to speed on processes, procedures, and policies. In a good program, you’ll find yourself onboarded when you’re first hired, when you’re promoted, and when you’re brought onto a new team.
  2. Training. The company may have unique processes or procedures. You’ll need to develop the skills to perform them. This may also include mandatory training such as those established in compliance regulations for your industry.
  3. Development. Once you’ve gained competency in your position, you can begin with career or personal development training. Developmental training often focuses on soft skills like communication, problem-solving, or negotiation. Attaining these skills help you function much more effectively.
  4. Education. A good corporate training program also includes opportunities to attain an education that’s not related to your current job or role, but which help you attain career objectives down the line. You may pursue these opportunities to help tip you toward that promotion.

Although these are arranged linearly, you might find yourself moving through all four stages multiple times. They’re designed to complement one another and holistically improve your career. 

For example, in the story above, you may have gone through these steps when you were first hired. However, you went through at least the first two steps again when you were promoted. As you settle into your new role, you may also consider additional courses that help you develop professionally, or which provide you with the education you need to move forward again.

Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Corporate Training

Corporate training accelerates your career growth by giving you the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goals. However, like with any continuing education, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. We recommend that you:

  • Make corporate training programs a priority when you job search. Research whether the company you’re interested in working for has a corporate training program. If the job listing doesn’t mention it then someone on Glassdoor, Reddit, or Quora might have the scoop.
  • Identify your time and learning needs. Determine whether you need flexibility, certain time allowances, or for the material to be presented in a certain way. That will help you identify a program that works for you.  
  • Create a plan and a schedule. Make training and development a priority by putting it into your schedule. That will help you commit.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out third-party corporate training on your own. If your company doesn’t offer corporate training, look into organizations or institutions that provide it. Likewise, check with your company to see if they’ll offer tuition reimbursement.

4 Types of Corporate Training Programs

Many types of corporate training programs exist, and the company you work for might have many. They generally fall into four distinct categories:

1. Mandatory Learning

Mandatory learning involves legally required training that employees must receive. Sometimes, this happens regularly. Other times, it only has to happen once. Some examples of required training include:

  • Safety-related training, such as under OSHA or the FAA
  • Affirmative defense training
  • Ethics training, such as under the Federal Acquisitions Regulations
  • Privacy and security training under HIPAA

2. Leadership and Management

If you’re advancing to a management role, prepare to hit the books! According to LinkedIn, managers spend 30 percent more time learning new soft skills than the average person. Corporate training for leadership and management is often offered to individuals preparing to move into management positions for the first time, or into higher-level leadership positions. You’ll gain expertise in things like:

3. Department or Role-Specific Training

A company that’s committed to helping you develop professionally will offer corporate training directly related to your department or specific. That’s crucial when you transition to a new role or team, as it will help you get off on the right foot immediately. Department or role-specific training will include:

  • An overview of necessary processes, policies, and procedures
  • Resources for developing a deeper understanding of your role

4. Executive Readiness

Companies seeking to build, train, and grow their executive team often invest in executive readiness training programs. If attaining an executive position is among your career objectives, it’s well worth your time to consider these. Executive readiness training often takes the form of an EMBA program. These programs are like an MBA but focus more on the exact skills you’ll need as an executive in a corporation. A good EMBA:

  • Is accredited
  • Offers focuses and specialties
  • Has enough electives that you can broaden your skillset
  • Still teaches you the core business skills you need

What Is Corporate eLearning?

Corporate eLearning is the use of eLearning tools and solutions for corporate training. In other words, it’s digital and online learning for your professional development … much like online classes in college.

It’s also what you’re most likely to encounter when you sign up for your company’s corporate training program. Over the past 16 years, corporate eLearning has grown by an astounding 900 percent. From 2017 alone, the number of companies using eLearning jumped from 77 to 98 percent.

This tremendous growth is largely because there are many benefits of eLearning for corporate training for both companies and employees. With corporate eLearning, you’ll enjoy:

  • Greater schedule flexibility. You’ll access training and materials on your own time, in the comfort of your own home.
  • A differentiated learning experience. It’s easier to receive a customized learning experience that helps you close the specific skills gaps you have.
  • Self-paced learning. You’ll maximize knowledge retention by studying at your own pace.
  • The ability to learn on your own device. Rather than learning a new system or device, you’ll stay focused on learning the material you need to advance on familiar grounds.

These benefits can make or break your success, especially if you undertake a challenging endeavor like executive readiness training. (Checking out an EMBA program? Consider the full advantages of an online course over a traditional course.)

How to Get the Most Out of Corporate eLearning Solutions

Whether you’re enrolled in a company-provided program or pursuing corporate training independently, there are a few things that you can do to help you get the most out of your program. DO:

  • Look into customization options. Whether that includes signing up for electives or configuring a course interface to facilitate your learning style, make the eLearning experience one that works for you.
  • Set yourself up for success with the right hardware. Make sure your experience is a profitable one by having the right technology to support your learning.
  • Treat your eLearning and training as part of your job. Online learning can sometimes fall “out of sight and out of mind.” Keep it visible by putting it on your calendar and carving out a specified time for it.

Companies With Excellent Training & Development Programs

According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies with comprehensive corporate training and development programs generate 218 percent higher revenue and 24 percent higher profit margins.

And companies have taken notice. Here are three excellent examples of corporate training and development programs (plus what’s unique about them) to help you get a sense of what these programs include.

  • Etsy School. Etsy’s Learning and Development team helps employees develop professionally using evidence-based approaches and innovative formats. It’s unique in that development pathways for each employee stem directly from performance reviews.
  • Data University. Created by AirBnB, Data University strives to make the workforce more data literate. This unique approach allows employees to take courses, gain the “credentials” they need to move forward, and even includes Intensive units on specific skills.
  • Yelp’s Learning Culture. Rather than creating a separate university or training hub, Yelp adopts the attitude that “every day can be a school day” and has many initiatives for integrated learning. Both hard skills and soft skills are emphasized, as well as overall employee satisfaction to keep everyone engaged.

Key Takeaways to Build the Best Corporate Training for Your Executive Team

With the majority of companies offering some sort of corporate training, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to grow the hard and soft skills that can accelerate your career. We’ve covered how corporate training can help you develop professionally, as well as provided plenty of tips to help you make the most of whatever corporate training program you choose. You’re now ready to go forth, expand your skills, and seize the new opportunities corporate training creates. 

Happy advancing!