Thursday, September 16, 2010

Corporate Universities

Since the 1990s, bigger companies came up with the strategy to train and equip employees with company, and by the 21st century, this strategy is being mass-practised by 2,000, including Walt Disney, Boeing, and Motorola. And this strategy is the establishment of corporate universities that specializes in training undergraduates how to work in that specific company.

Today, the term "corporate university" is not a new idea anymore. Being an increasingly popular alternative for undergraduates in this age, corporate universities no doubt have their alluring advantages of high job positions guarantee, early exposure to the real world, but is not without its disadvantages of opportunity-narrowing, lack of strong knowledge fundamentals, and over-commitment to one certain company.

It is widely known and recognized by undergraduates that once they enter corporate universities - such as Hamburger university of Macdonald's Corporation, they will no doubt, be automatically promoted to formal employer immediately. Whats more, high job positions and more opportunities such as managerial roles will come by with that certificate in hand.

As such, it is not unusual to see many students opting for corporate universities of hospitals, banks, and bug businesses. They are probably risk-avoiders and just want to secure a reasonably good life for themselves, with monthly wages of about 4000-5000.

Hate school? Think trigonometry is totally irrelevant to what you aspire to be in the future? Then, corporate university is definitely for those who would die to get out of taxing school, with most universities providing courses that are way deeper and complicated then what is really required in the real world.

"You won't use so much complicated knowledge of finance or accounting when in real business world", "EQ is much more important", these are popular cries by corporate university under-graduate when asked to justify their decisions. Well, it is not without proof. Today, a quick research on famous and rich people who drop out of school mid-way can easily tell us that in the business world, specific, real skills - whether in work or with people - are really more necessary than plunging into thick, deep books. And corporate universities provide the ticket to the gateway of early exposure to the real world.

However, it is not without its disadvantages, without qualms. It is not without reason, too, why over the years, people have also raised doubts about the quality of education corporate universities provide. Learning how to operate a Macdonald's cashier, how to make a hamburger, how to deep fry fries? Are these the things taught in corporate universities?

Now, the very reason for the existence of such questioning is because everyone understands how narrow the field of knowledge many corporate universities offer can be. It is only logical that learning what is the style of doing sales in one certain company is incomparable, in terms of transversality, to learning the general techniques of sales in a normal university.

What if recession hits your company very hard? What if another company offers a higher pay job? You, as a corporate university graduate, who only understands the certain company's model and way of working, may be left with less opportunities in the corporate world, as compared to someone with basic skills that can be applied to anywhere he goes. Of course, it really depends on one's decision - conservative, secure or bold and hungry for success.

Besides, it is no untrue that general skills and enlightenments from a normal, "orthodox" universities can more importantly, be applied in life. Sales "soft" power is used by many to pacify their wives, and finance helps many plan, financially, for retirement.

As we analyse this scenario, we would really find that corporate companies not only give one job opportunities, but by limiting one's knowledge learnt, it is forcing one to be loyal and commit fully to the company. The mentality goes, "Since I have already spent 4 years learning how to work in this company, I cannot waste the time, I have to use the skills learnt, and stay in the company". This is what makes the company not sorry for investing and pumping millions of dollars into these universities.

In a nutshell, the decision has its advantages, of course, but be aware of its drawbacks too when making considerations. Personally, I would choose the latter stand, as a much better alternative for entrepreneurship aspirations.

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