EY & the Democratization of Corporate Education
How EY is ensuring all of its people have an equal chance to upskill & grow
In June 2020, amid great job-market uncertainty, EY launched its groundbreaking Tech MBA in partnership with Hult International Business School. The first of its kind, this fully-accredited course offers all of EY’s 300,000 people the chance to develop new knowledge, behaviours, and skills in a range of technology, leadership, and business areas — such as artificial intelligence blockchain, robotic process automation, employee wellbeing, diversity & inclusion, and sustainable business practices.
Being heavily involved in tech at EY, I was obviously thrilled about the trailblazing move. In a decidedly rubbish year, it gives everyone at the company the opportunity to better themselves, defining a clearer professional purpose and standing out from the crowd — to their own benefit, as well as that of their employers and clients.
EY’s Global Chairman & CEO Carmine Di Sibio says:
“As the world continues to manage through and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe the skills of EY people and their ability to serve clients will be a differentiating factor.”
But for a couple of different reasons, I was also totally unsurprised by EY’s announcement of the course.
First, the Tech MBA merely continues the firm’s long-running and unrelenting commitment to “building a better working world.” This ambitious goal includes continuous investment in career development by providing formal education and essential coaching & support, on top of preparing its people, as Hult’s President Stephen Hodges puts it:
“for the greatest challenges of tomorrow.”
Such investment totalled an impressive $450 million in 2020 alone, which covered the delivery of a staggering 16 million learning hours (an average of 54 hours per person).
Moreover, the MBA builds on the exemplary EY Badge programme, which further demonstrates the company’s open approach and commitment to its staff. The programme allows employees to earn digital badges for future-focused skills, helping them improve, transform, and remain relevant in a competitive space.
Second, entirely consistent with EY’s solid environment of inclusivity, the qualification is available to everyone at the company, regardless of their location, position, or prior educational experience. Oh, and as if that’s not already incredible enough, it’s completely free. Isn’t that all amazing? If you remain unconvinced, feel free to meet the Tech MBA’s very first graduates, and listen to what this pioneering bunch have to say about their time on the course. Trust me, it’s all positive!
If you were to travel back to 19th Century Britain, I’m certain you’d also hear people praise open access to learning. That’s when the government made formal education available — and in many cases, compulsory — to all children, including the poorest.
Like EY, which understands that the MBA benefits not only the participants but also their colleagues, the firm, and its clients, the government realised accessible education would profit society on the whole as much as the individual learner.
It makes sense that UK Education was democratized in the Victorian era because the concept of self-help was so important at the time — and not just for kids. The period was witness to a welcome explosion in night schools and informal education institutions like museums and libraries, where adults could go to obtain an education.
Just as EY now encourages its people to become “the best version of you” through interacting with a host of professional development schemes, the government back then encouraged citizens to self-improve by learning in their spare time instead of engaging in idle pursuits — as it does to this day. Learning is, after all, for life.
EY agrees with this sentiment, arguing that “you never stop learning,” and I feel the exact same way. I can’t imagine the Tech MBA grads I mentioned earlier — or even future grads — will call it a day any time soon. From the minute a person starts to taste the gains from education-based career development, especially when it’s as accessible as this, it can be mighty difficult to shift back into a state of professional stagnation.
According to my old friend Julius Pringles:
“Once you pop, you can’t stop,”
Though, I should really call him my former friend given that I’m on a health kick right now— that Victorian spirit of self-improvement persists today. Even when we’re focused on bringing out the best in ourselves through professional development (as I am every day), there’s always time for a spot of personal development too!