Working at the crossroads where people and business meet
In an interview with Dr Heike Schiebeck, Professor of Business Psychology at IUBH, she talks about the new degree programme and career prospects for business psychologists.
Psychologists think primarily about people, economists only about money – that is the cliché. Is business psychology a contradiction of terms in itself?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: The business psychologist is the best example of how these two perspectives converge. Based on his/her economic knowledge and understanding, he assesses employee, customer and organisation-specific concerns and evaluates these in the context of economic considerations. In this respect, he/she has an eye on both the people and the numbers.
What qualifications does one need to be successful in this field?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: One should enjoy dealing with people and curious about economic interrelationships and changes. It is also important to like mathematical and statistical topics, and the process of conducting and evaluating surveys.
What are business psychologists needed for in companies?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: Business psychologists have an understanding of economics and a broad knowledge of psychology and methodology. As “bridge builders” between companies and people and as “change agents” they are needed more than ever. Due to upcoming transformation processes in business, topics such as project management, personnel development, agility, market research, change management and organisational development are gaining in importance. This is the area of expertise of business psychologists.
How has this professional field developed?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: Especially in the last years, developments have been very dynamic. On the one hand, the ongoing digitalisation of the economy has spurred this. Companies are required to realign their business areas and products. This creates new tasks and these require new skills on the part of employees. Helping the company and employees with change processes is an important area of responsibility for business psychologists.
On the other hand, there is a stronger focus on employees and customers. As products and services become increasingly personalised, there is more focus on the individual and his/her opinions and needs. The business psychologist plays an increasingly important role here, which increases the attractiveness of the degree programme.
Why should one study business psychology at IUBH?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: The degree programme is tailor-made for current business psychological challenges. With basic psychological and business knowledge, supplemented with modules such as Design Thinking, Conflict Management, Intercultural Psychology and Leadership, graduates are able to work in a wide variety of fields at the crossroads where people and business needs meet. Since it is an online degree programme, it is completely flexible, with no fixed time schedule or location requirements. Even examinations can be written online!
Is a degree in business psychology worth it? What does the job market look like?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: Businesses are looking for graduates with an interdisciplinary education and behavioural science expertise. The recently published Future of Jobs Report of the World Economic Forum, which rates various skills in terms of their relevance for the future job market, confirms this development. Business psychologists are thus in high demand.
One potential area of work is, for example, market and opinion research. Europe is by far the most important market for market research, currently accounting for more than 40% of the world market. Revenues in this industry have doubled in the last ten years to over 18 billion euros.
Is a bachelor’s degree enough for a good career?
Prof Dr Heike Schiebeck: The bachelor’s degree gives students a broad base of knowledge that qualifies them to start working professionally. At the same time, the degree meets the prerequisites for completing a master’s degree. One should do a master’s if one want to expand their knowledge and pursue a specialisation. Starting in January 2019, we will be offering a Master of Science in Business Psychology at IUBH Distance Learning. Students, who want to keep the option open of getting a PhD later in their professional life or pursuing an academic career, can then also do a master’s at IUBH.