Micro-Credentials in Business Education: Global Perspectives at the AACSB Deans Conference

Written by Coursera • Updated on

How can universities empower business students and shape the future workforce?

Micro-credentials are emerging as key drivers of change in business education. At AACSB’s recent Deans Conference held in Barcelona, Jenny Darroch, Dean of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, and Angus Laing, Dean of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University, were in conversation with Coursera’s Andy Poole to discuss global trends and strategies surrounding the use of micro-credentials in business education.


  • 90% of students perceive micro-credentials as catalysts for enhanced job prospects. Employers concur, with 72% more likely to hire micro-credential holders.

  • Universities can make micro-credentials an integral, integrated part of curricula or use them as supplementary add-ons or bolt-ons.

  • Strategic integration of micro-credentials into curricula offers additional value for universities, with 76% of students more likely to enroll in a program that offers micro-credentials.

  • Universities can stay agile by revising, adapting, and enriching their curricula quickly through the use of micro-credentials.

The discussion underscored the increasing value of micro-credentials to both students and employers, and shed light on how micro-credentials can be thoughtfully integrated into academic curricula. Here are key takeaways from the event:

  • Students and employers highly value microcredentials. A survey of thousands of students and employers found that 90% of students believe industry micro-credentials will help them stand out, while 86% believe micro-credentials will help them succeed in their jobs. Employers concur, with 80% agreeing that micro-credentials help students stand out, and 72% more likely to hire students with micro-credentials.

  • Micro-credentials can be used as add-ons or be integrated into curricula. Universities have the option to include micro-credentials in their curricula as supplementary add-ons or bolt-ons, or fully integrate them as for-credit components. Either approach could add value for universities, with 76% of students more likely to enroll in programs that offer micro-credentials. “We’re looking at how we can build micro-credentials right into the core of our curriculum,” said Angus Laing, Dean of Edinburgh Business School.

  • Micro-credentials can supplement coursework quickly to prepare students for work. According to Angus Laing, micro-credentials help universities stay agile and quickly modify, adapt, and enhance their curriculum. An enhanced curriculum can help students acquire both technical skills, such as data analytics or project management expertise, and soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving, ‌which are essential for success in the workplace.

...our brand promise is to graduate beyond-ready learners who can add value to any organization from day one. And we see Coursera as an important part of that brand promise.

Jenny Darroch, Dean of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University

Integrating micro-credentials into curricula demands a strategic approach, starting with a clear review of the job skills students want and need. Universities can identify providers offering suitable micro-credentials, while a well-defined implementation plan should guide the integration process. Importantly, given the time-consuming nature of curriculum integration, universities must remain patient and persistent.

Institutions can not only equip undergraduates with micro-credentials, but also explore other uses such as alumni engagement. Miami University’s relationship with Coursera allows them to offer micro-credentials to both alumni and students. “I can clearly see how Meta’s social media courses and some of the Google Analytics courses for marketing could be brilliant pieces to use in the curriculum, but we're taking it quite slowly with our faculty so they can trust the process,” said Jenny Darroch.

And that isn’t all. Graduate students with work experience could benefit from micro-credentials, too. In 2021 and 2022, Hult International Business School partnered with Coursera to provide micro-credentials for its graduate students, broadening their learning opportunities. Over 2,000 learners in Hult’s Global Online MBA program received both for-credit and non-credit Professional Certificates in less than two years. These certificates received high ratings from learners, with an average score of 4.8 out of 5.

Micro-credentials can transform how universities define learning for students of all ages. Their success in a fast-changing world will largely depend on higher education’s agility to learn and adapt faster than before. We envision a future where universities produce not just degree holders, but lifelong learners who’re workforce-ready.

Universities like Hult are already weaving micro-credentials into their programs. Ready to explore how you can incorporate micro-credentials into your curriculum?

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Written by Coursera • Updated on

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