Most schools are generally making sincere efforts in preparing students to embrace a changing global economy and enter the workforce. Throughout my career, I have come into contact with hundreds of new graduates. I find most of them are energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to learn and do well. Schools may be able to achieve better results if they reach out and maximize support from the business community and alumni networks to develop internship, summer jobs, and mentoring programs, in addition to aligning the course curricula with basic skill competencies to meet the expectations of employers.
Among career preparation programs, I find internships are among the most effective programs to help students gain on-the-job experience. Internship placement allows students to work in a company or organization for a period of time. Students are given the opportunity to interact with the company management team, coworkers, customers, and the supplier community. They acquire hands-on experience in a real world working environment. By performing actual business tasks assigned to them, students will be able to gain a better perspective of the business challenges and obstacles presented in the business environment. I encourage schools to offer counseling sessions before and after internships. Counseling sessions are effective to help students understand the skill sets that are needed for career placement and identify areas in which they should improve before they enter the workforce. Internship programs are excellent initiatives for companies and organizations in developing young talent.
Studies have shown that employers find some students lack basic skill sets required for their job roles. I believe students stand a better chance to be recruited and advance in their career if they are able to develop better business writing and presentation skills. I encourage schools to regularly reach out to companies to refine the format of these courses to incorporate more real life business cases.
Most schools recognize the power of its alumni network for fundraising purposes. I believe schools should further leverage their alumni networks to offer regular career talks and mentor programs.
As technology and business continue to evolve, changes are inevitable. Schools now face unprecedented challenges with how to equip students to enter the workforce. If schools reach out to work more closely with the business community, we can make much more progress in the journey of nurturing and developing students into the social, business, and political leaders of our future.