The value of lifelong learning

Judith Hanika-Grünn, Group Expert, Executive Development and Change Management at Raiffeisen Bank International AG, was a keynote speaker at AMBA & BGA’s Business School Professionals Conference 2019 in Vienna, Austria. Here, she discusses the importance of lifelong learning and how MBA qualifications can add value

Why do you value the importance of lifelong learning for employees? 

Lifelong learning is a given. There is no life without learning. We do it anyway. The only differentiation is that you can do in a smart or less smart way. Lifelong learning is a must.

Anyone who has been employed over the past 25 years has had to learn, and that’s whether or not they have attended formal classroom training, or they would no longer be in employment. 

How do you see MBA qualifications adding value to your business? 

MBAs are one of many ways in which we can support our employees in their development. It’s very selective due to
the cost and the time needed for an MBA. It’s not a format that will suit everybody, but for certain people, perhaps those with a technical background who are now stepping up to a more managerial role, for example, an MBA can really help them broaden knowledge and expertise. 

What does ‘good’ look like in an MBA graduate? 

I look at MBA graduates and compare them to how they were when they considering doing an MBA. 

What I first see is that their self-esteem has grown in a very healthy way and the achievement of completing a part-time MBA alongside a full-time job. It is a challenge and if you’re able to do it, it’s a very cool thing. Of course, they have also gained cutting-edge knowledge and built a network beyond their own industry. Our industry is banking, for example, but on an MBA you will normally meet people from outside financial services and this broadens your thinking and expectations. 

What advice would you give to someone considering taking an MBA? 

The first thing is to have a good reason for doing it. You should be very clear about this, perhaps writing down your reasons and sticking them on a pin board at home so that whenever you experience doubts, you remember why you are doing it. You should also ensure you have the support of family and friends, as well as your team and colleagues at work.  

How can MBAs be sure to use their skills in business once they have finished the programme? 

From my experience of colleagues studying MBAs over the past 12 years, as soon as they began studying a particular module or topic, they started discussing with colleagues what they could do differently in their job. This comes naturally.  

This article previously formed part of a larger feature published in Ambition, the magazine of the Association of MBAs.

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