As technological advances expand and take over a large part of the overall world of work, students need to build on other skills, which will not be replaced by technology, at least not anytime soon.
According to LinkedIn Learning, some of the top soft skills companies are looking for in candidates are critical thinking, emotional and cultural intelligence, teamwork and collaboration, and adaptability.
Experiential learning, or learning through experience, can help students practice and develop these critical career skills for the future.
At the University of Manchester, for example, we take on a pragmatic Manchester approach — the Manchester Method — where we include case studies, live company projects, group projects that encourage collaboration and cooperation. This approach also reflects on the development of the skills required by employers.
Careers services provided by the university also provide soft skills training, networking opportunities and external speaker engagement series — all of which further develop students’ soft skills and expand their professional networks.
Business schools help students build confidence and competencies, the soft skills required to lead others and some degree of leadership — all of which are qualities required at every level of every organisation and so it applies to everyone in business.
Another way to engage students is through giving back to the community. Social responsibility is an important part of the overall mission and a high strategic goal for the university. It is another way our students build soft skills, engage in community services and support one another as well as the larger community in their respective regions.
Leadership development is part of a business school’s role, which provides tools and techniques, draws out personal and natural style of individuals, as well as offers special programmes that focus on this. Business schools help students build confidence and competencies, the soft skills required to lead others and some degree of leadership — all of which are qualities required at every level of every organisation and so it applies to everyone in business.
Making B-schools more relevant
Furthermore, business schools can help students to find and test their own talent and potential. Business schools are investing more now in coaching, mentoring and providing networking opportunities for their students.
All of which further develops students’ soft skills, expands their networks, and provides opportunities for them to grow and connect with one another. I don’t see any major disconnects that prevent business schools from developing business leaders; if anything, business schools play a positive role in the leadership development of students.
— The writer is Manager, Careers and Alumni Department, at the University of Manchester Middle East Centre