Having a good degree is a must, but being able to apply the range of skills fostered at college and beyond is the real difference. The difference of being employable, not just being employed.
Are they one and the same? No, they are not. They are different and employability refers to a person’s capability for gaining and most importantly, maintaining employment.
Typically, a B-School student is expected to have skills in critical thinking analysis and synthesis, including being able to identify assumptions, evaluate statements, detect false logic, identify implicit values, define terms adequately and generalize appropriately. In other words, student should possess effective problem-solving and decision-making skills, using appropriate quantitative and qualitative approach.
Serious universities & colleges, including B-Schools, of late have done a lot of homework in the direction. Same reflects from the strategic plan document 2012-16, University of Edinburgh and it states, “We aim to produce graduates fully equipped to achieve the highest personal and professional standards“. Competitive business environment have made B-Schools to realign education for employability.
Employability: The Employer’s View
Industries needs & requirements vary by employer, and also from one city to another. Therefore, in order to augment competitive advantage, the employability skills needs to be cultivated in addition to subject – specific knowledge.
Each job roles requires a different balance of specific functional skills, aptitudes/existing skills and knowledge, as well as so-called ‘soft’ skills and knowledge, plus relevant personal qualities.
Employability: Way Forward for B-Schools
“With uncertain economic times, recent survey estimates almost 4 million people out of work in UK alone. Implies career management is no more a luxury in these with many people are concerned about hanging onto their current job, rather than looking for the next”. Colleges & Universities in UK already have ‘Employability Service’ divisions to mitigate the situation.
Trends, reports suggests that it is applicable to the entire global job scenario. Many management schools like IPER, module has already been initiated with focus on employability. ‘Employability’ explicitly expands the notion of the ‘professional’ and ‘reflective’ practitioner. The module discussed here outlines the following objective:
- Feed attributes and employability via different frequent sessions of the module (FEM), thus give students an edge to compete in the global marketplace’;
- Feed socially, economically valuable attributes and expertise;
- Build student confidence by raising the benchmark above than the industry needs, thus on D-Day one is better prepared than their competition;
- On-the-fly based, dynamic module curricula that responds to feeds from industry, specialists and other institutions to enhance the development of global employability attributes in all students’.
The module termed as ‘Focus Employability Module’ , recently held on 03/01/2014 comprised of sessions catering four different streams to ensure balance between business and creativity – theory, industry, the creative and practical aspects. Session were specifically designed and conducted for PGDM Students, who have applied for campus placement for the following companies: Nestle India Ltd, Ocwen Financial Corporations, Capital Via, & AV Entertainment.
At the start point, GD with topics twisted intentionally is introduced as a research and language practice session because in near future (if not already), international language skills and the ability to operate comfortably across different countries and cultures will be absolutely essential and become the job landscape. A formal company style boardroom meet is fostered wherein students sell/convince their outcomes/inferences to the audience. This followed by, written/online examinations on analytical ability, on subject related understanding and followed by their overall assessment. The sessions conclude with students completing the skills matrix and points allotted as per the benchmarking policy of the organization.
Mentoring: key aspect to this skill development module with the mentors assigned need to assess, demonstrate and evaluate the skills and attributes employers are seek. With first of the group discussions, all the do’s/don’ts are briefed to the students by the mentors, which needs to be applied in their discussion. Mentors, then focuses on individual improvisation and carries out group analysis on the basis of established evaluation guidelines. Suggestions given, are to be applied in next of the group discussion. The same mechanism is repeated for the third and final session of the group discussion. The outcome of the process is students walking away with their individual pointers/area of scope suggested.
Snaps of the Focus Employability Module
On final note, glance on drivers of sustainable performance demonstrates that successful organizations are those that create agility and adaptability in their workforce. Such business can take advantage of new opportunities on the fly. Colleges should focus on career building skills and ensure that it is done right because its not just about job survival but its about quality of professional life that a student is going to lead in the future job landscape.
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The views expressed here are that of the author.