5 ideas for bringing academic business courses up to date

Students often complain about out-of-date university courses in business as academia struggles to catch up with the business dynamics today. Here are 5 steps I have taken this year to bring my university course “Management of outsourcing projects and companies” up to date with today’s happenings in business and prepare my students for the real-life challenges that they will face:

1.      Career goals: At the beginning of the academic year, I ask my students to define and share their career goals with me so I can adjust the course content as well as invite respective experts as guest speakers. Hence, I contribute to their growth in the direction that they have chosen themselves.

2.      Personal development: In addition to my lectures, I also design workshops with focus on personal development (e.g. personal branding and time management) to complement the theoretical knowledge of my students. In today’s world, theoretical knowledge is not enough, but to have a successful career one should also develop self-awareness and self-leadership skills.

3.      Real-life case studies: I ask my students to work on case studies with real-life challenges that I am currently facing in business (e.g. how to manage teams efficiently with all members working remotely).

4.      Today’s hot topics: I open discussions about the current hot topics in business following the pandemic and how the awareness of those may help my students grow their careers.

5.      Guides for business: As part of their course projects and master theses I ask my students to prepare recommendations and guides which will help companies tackle an urgent need more efficiently (e.g. how to increase the emotional intelligence of their employees). Those may be directly applied today. 

Inviting guest speakers from the business from time to time or asking students to stay up to date with the news in global business is not enough anymore. Now we need to adjust our university courses not only to the current professional needs of our students but to the future of work which the pandemic has already brought much closer to us.