What expectations do employers have on newly graduated students? What abilities are important to take with you from the studies into the working life? The Business School gathered some employers and students to be able to identify and discuss the expectations together.
The workshop with employers and the student council with representatives from the programme unions was part of the work with formulating the abilities and knowledge that Karlstad Business School believes to be a clear feature for the graduating students. This is also a part of the quality assurance work that is currently underway within the entire Business School.
The concept of Professional Skills has since long been traditionally a course made up of modules, where the students have practiced abilities parallel to their programme or within the frame of certain programmes. Now, the idea is that general abilities such as to be able to apply knowledge, critical thinking, communicating, acting responsibly, being able to work in a team and practice leadership is to be integrated in all programmes and worked with in a pace with systematic development work.
-The purpose is to strengthen the students on the job market and to live as we learn according to the motto “Knowledge is worth nothing without the ability to use it”. What we are doing now is to see if these particular abilities that we are gathering during Professional Skills are relevant – should we have more, less or other abilities that we train our students in? says Marie-Therese Christiansson, the deputy head at the Business School and responsible for the quality assurance.
The students that participated at the workshop said that different abilities can be trained and used in different parts of the course, rather than for the entire courses.
-It is better to, ahead of a group work, to go through group dynamic and how to work with handling conflicts for instance and analyze the work after. The abilities should be prevalent throughout the whole programme, or else there Is a risk with only doing it once or at few occasions – at which time you will forget, meant Lovisa Österberg, president of Mexika.
Theory and practice – both are needed
More exercises were something the students wanted to see and meant that practice is an important element.
Andreas Prochazka, previously teacher in jurisprudence, is these days hired at the Consumer Agency. For their part, the understanding for the legal context and methods is important.
-The actual expertise is clear, that you take the theories with you. When we as employers recruit it is an investment for several years. The ones we hire need to therefore understand the legal context. It is natural that the students want to seek the practical experience, but that is also something you learn once you start working. The practical knowledge is shaped according to the application and environment you come to.
During the discussion, it also appeared that different skills are emphasized for different programmes. To be a feature for the Business School it could be useful that these abilities, “skills”, are also lifted from the daily business. Perhaps a combination of securing the student learning and abilities during a programme and the modules/courses that the students can take extra? There are several possibilities.
Other angles of approach that was lifted from the employers was knowledge and training in leadership. And that leadership is not only about management, but also to be able to lead yourself in your own development. Digital ability was something that was obvious for the employers, who also brought up the importance of being customer oriented in your action and more personal abilities that you can develop and train, such as a healthy dose of humbleness.
Apart from the Consumer Agency, the Labour Office, Karlstad University, the Project engagement PE, SBAB and Grant Thorton as well as the student unions Karlekon, Mexika, Lina and Pelikan also participated in the workshop.
The work with defining, developing and implementing the abilities that are to characterize the students of the Business School is going on during the spring together with other programme leaders, the student unions of the student council as well as employers who are in different ways cooperating with Karlstad Business School.