Business leaders underwhelmed by recent grads

Recent college graduates are not prepared for success in the corporate world, according to a Jan. 26 survey of 500 business leaders.
The study found that graduates did not possess the collaborative skills necessary to work in a professional environment or cooperate among various employees and departments.
“Workers at every level in businesses are needing to be able to meet, talk and solve problems in larger groups. Everyone needs to graduate schools with these competencies,” Jeff Holmes, author of the study, said. “It’s being brilliant plus.”
The study – funded by architectural firm Woods Bagot and executed by research firm Global Strategy Group – found that recent college graduates “fall short of expectations on highly valued attributes like problem-solving, collaboration and written communications skills, while exceeding expectations on little-valued social media and technology skills.”
Holmes said that Woods Bagot conducted the research “to understand the relationship between students’ competencies and compare that to the skills that business leaders value most.”
Dean of Students Peter Konwerski countered the concerns raised by the study, saying that GW’s location allows for practical work experience before leaving college.
GW is in the process of evaluating how it approaches student career services, which University President Steven Knapp named as one of his top priorities in September. Konwerski, who is overseeing the restructuring, will present a mid-year progress report to the Board of Trustees Friday.
“One emerging part of the career [services] revamp will focus on developmental activities that begin with an initial skill assessment and then create corresponding career milestones designed to emphasize skills and competencies,” Konwerski said.
Holmes said redesigning classrooms to be “environments that change as rapidly as the rest of the world” could combat the lack of collaborative skills many students demonstrate.
The forthcoming Science and Engineering Hall, set to be completed in 2014, will include collaborative labs designed to encourage interactive learning instead of lecture-style science classes. Renovations to Gelman Library’s entrance floor will also put an emphasis on shared study space.
Konwerski added that students should balance “experiences both in and out of the classroom where they can practice essential career skills including critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication.”

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