Saturday, November 17, 2012

Community Conversations

Hardly had time to breathe this week, much less blog!

I've spent a lot of time this week in the community, and I always use the opportunity to talk with business and community members about the skills, knowledge, and abilities they need to see in our college graduates. Although the answers vary a bit based on whether we're talking about business undergraduate or graduate education, there are some interesting emerging trends.

For years we've heard about the need for improved writing skills.  Currently, I'm hearing more about the need to work with students on their ability to communicate with confidence, and to be able to use and master workplace remote communication technologies. Interesting shift.

Additionally, I'm hearing a compelling tension between leadership and management abilities (which we have heard for years) and the ability to analyze and use data for decision making.  We've always understood the importance of each area in the curriculum, but many of the conversations are now focusing on the exponential increase in the quantity of data now available and the necessary skill to determine what information is needed for the particular question being asked.   Employers want graduates who are better at finding and analyzing the relevant information for the decision, and who are able to present and communicate the analysis in an honest, clear, and meaningful way.

So here's a clear message back to the business and community members -- We hear you, and we'll make it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Communication is definitely something I did not learn in my undergraduate, but more while in the workforce. It's important to realize when someone is hearing something different than you are hearing and address it immediately.

    Data is also important, and knowing what data can actually help you make better business decisions and which numbers just 'look good'!