How Can Students Be Trained For Best Employment Opportunity

With the advent of the fourth revolution, an employee with fair digital literacy with an understanding of key emerging platforms, and how can they be utilised to address the customers' evolving needs, has become a necessity.

Management education needs to get its act together. As opposed to popular opinion, the reality today is that there is no job crisis. There are many vacant positions in organisations, but one is not able to fill them.

According to a study published by McKinsey, the senior management of most companies have revealed that as many as 45% of the positions are vacant because they are unable to find people with the right skills. Only 42 per cent of the employers worldwide believe new graduates are adequately prepared for work. There is a growing gap between what the corporates want and what the management graduates are able to offer. The growing gap between what business needs and what management education provides is a matter of serious concern.

When asked about the skill requirements, companies narrate the anxieties that are hurdles to grow. The first obstacle most corporates face is the inability to take a look at the crystal ball to understand how the future may evolve. The future is extremely uncertain, with technology being a key factor, disrupting everything a company has accomplished and is accustomed to. The emergence of start-up companies, David challenging the Goliath in every sector, is forcing the companies to hire someone who can add value for sustaining growth and profitability. 

With the advent of the fourth revolution, an employee with fair digital literacy with an understanding of key emerging platforms, and how can they be utilised to address the customers' evolving needs, has become a necessity. Companies are also inundated with large volumes of data from across different media, at a high speed, the reliability of which is often not known. Organisations, therefore, look at hiring employees comfortable with new-age technologies, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. Ability to engage in descriptive analytics, i.e., looking at patterns in data collected; predictive analytics, i.e., understanding how a particular segment may behave is also a necessity. 

Unfortunately, what one may predict based on past data, may not be very dependable as the future is uncertain with many PESTLE forces at play. Companies are therefore looking for people who can also engage in prescriptive analytics, which entails crafting a range of scenarios of the future, including the optimistic, pessimistic and the most likely scenarios to suggest how a company can move forward. The intent is to help cope with ambiguity, and take decisions when faced with uncertainty. 

One should also be able to design a dashboard of metrics to ensure the organisation is moving in the right direction, with mid-course corrections as needed, to adapt as to the changing business environment. They are looking for people who can think not just inside the box with the data collected, but also outside the box for embracing creativity and innovation, so very vital for an entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial mindset.

Organisations for long have been operating in silos – the marketing, HR, IT, Finance and so on, operating as isolated fiefdoms. However today, every problem a company faces is cross-functional in nature and not uni-functional. Recruiters are also on the lookout for people who can cut across silos, be a member of cross-functional teams for undertaking a holistic approach to solving problems. Another important requirement is leadership, being able to communicate and work with others. If one does not possess these soft skills, or the potential to build a team and lead it, they will not be able to add value efficiently. 

In a nutshell, these are some of the skills that make a graduate relevant. Sadly, a majority of the management graduates do not possess these skills, a primary reason for their not being relevant for the current day and age. There is an imminent need to reinvent management education to be able to tackle these issues. These skills need to be imbibed on a continuing basis by taking advice from industry experts, thought leaders, corporate partners, senior alumni, conducting surveys and monitoring student feedback. 

The curriculum and pedagogy need to be continuously reinvented so as to make the students industry-ready. The curriculum can include unique teaching methodologies like simulations, through which students can be trained to cope with ambiguity by creating challenges that mimic real-life situations. For example, by creating a simulation in production or operations, one can learn to deal with raw material shortage, labour strike, and shrinkage of the market or increase in utility charges. More the students go through these situations, the more comfortable they become when faced with similar circumstances in an industry environment. 

Management educators, therefore, are required to hone the skill sets that are necessary to make the students industry ready, thereby making them highly relevant and employable.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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