Executive Education's Joseph Schaffer quoted by U.S. News & World Report on popularity of online certificate programs

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016
New York City, N.Y.

When Allison Bonner was wrapping up her senior year at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill in 2013, she desired business skills to round out her resume and supplement her double major in classical music and communications.

The 25-year-old, who now works in human resources, turned to UNC's self-paced Business Essentials online certificate program to learn the subject without having to pursue a full MBA – a step she wasn't ready for at that point, she says.

Bonner isn't alone, as business certificates, in some cases referred to as "mini MBAs," become increasingly popular in online education. Experts say the trend is no surprise given that smaller credentials – ranging from digital badges to these certificates – are now prevalent in online learning.

"The speed of change in today's business environment is unprecedented. That sounds like a cliche, but it's a reality," says Joe Schaffer, associate dean of executive education at Rutgers Business School. Lifelong business skills, he says, are beneficial for employees who want a competitive advantage.

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