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'10 Lakh People Join Indian Workforce Every Month Without Future Job Skills'

People will need to reinvent their careers at least once or twice throughout their lifetime, says Jeff Maggioncalda, Chief Executive Officer, Coursera

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Artificial Intelligence is expected to automate half of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy. For workers, this means that lifelong learning is becoming a necessity. Coursera has partnered with Macquarie University, Australia to launch a Global MBA program which is designed to serve the rapidly growing workforce.

How do you plan to create better educated and skilled professionals?

About 1 million people enter the workforce in India every month, with no guarantee that they will have the necessary skills to succeed in the jobs of the future. Globally, more than 300 million people will enter the workforce in the next 10 years. Coursera is building a three-sided platform to help prepare learners, educators, and employers for this looming reality. We help learners gain job-relevant skills and credentials, we help educators teach the world, and we help employers transform their talent. 

What skills can help MBA professionals get a job?

MBA programs used to cater to a very specific type of professional whose goal was to quickly climb the corporate ladder into high-level management and leadership at established companies. Top MBA programs gave students a broad understanding of how a business operates - from the finance to the marketing to the operations. This foundation gave MBAs the ability to understand businesses holistically and lead a variety of people and teams. 

Today, people at all levels are changing jobs more often and needing to adapt to fill roles that never existed before. As a result, many more people stand to benefit from the broad education that an MBA has to offer. 

The Global MBA is designed to prepare professionals for success in a wide variety of career paths, whether their goal is to break through the glass ceiling at their company or to build a successful freelancing business. The curriculum includes live instruction by Macquarie University’s faculty and will help learners gain tangible, career-ready skills in cross-disciplinary capabilities, including leading, strategizing, and analyzing.

How is e-learning getting its sheen back? Do you think e-learning is equally effective as offline learning?

Online learning has evolved significantly beyond its previous reputation for low-quality learning experiences from low tier institutions. All of the content and credentials found on the Coursera platform come from the world’s best universities and top industry leaders. We’ve built a technology platform that enables degree students to fit learning time into their own schedules with many opportunities for engaging on video and chat with instructors and peers. We’ve had really positive feedback on this learning experience from MBA students in our existing degree program, the iMBA from the University of Illinois.

The flexible, high quality and affordable nature of the content provided by online learning platforms today are changing the way people learn. It is clear now that even on-campus programs will start having substantial online components.

How has AI affected professionals; both in terms of education and their jobs?

More people will need to reinvent their careers at least once or twice throughout their lifetimes. As a result, we see a rising demand for educational opportunities that can be completed without leaving the workforce and that deliver skills particularly in business, computer science, and data science.

Degrees continue to be the most transformative credential for career and economic mobility globally. That’s why we decided to work with our university partners to start offering online master’s degrees that confer the same high-quality diploma they would receive on campus but that also provides students with the flexibility to learn when and where it works for them. Coursera now offers 12 degrees from top schools around the world including Imperial College London, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and now Macquarie University.

Do you think you will be able to reduce the skill gap with this online MBA program?

Absolutely. Our vision is to build a platform where anyone, anywhere can come to transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning. The launch of the Macquarie Global MBA, Coursera’s first degree in the Asia-Pacific region, is an important step towards realizing that vision. I have no doubt that this degree will help people learn the skills to become more effective leaders and to thrive in an economy that will increasingly reward adaptability. 


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