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In the placement season of 2019, the anxiety and enthusiasm in MBA freshers to enter the corporate world was palpable in the air. Then came the lockdown and companies delayed hiring, some even cancelled the offers they had given to MBA freshers, resulting in a decline in jobs for MBA graduates, however, things are about to change.
The major reason behind this was to avoid the "training the freshers" loop.
With industries re-inventing their business and the job market, the skills that employers are looking out for also underwent several changes. Companies realized the need to hire professionals with advanced and specific skill sets, including the freshers coming on-board. This requires us to rethink the fundamentals of the management curriculum and MBA placement criteria.
It is crucial to think about the aspects of how B schools and management colleges are going to prepare a talent pool that is ready to face the problems put up by the uncertain future of the business world.
Bridging the skill gap using virtual infrastructure in MBA Freshers
From digital skills like google meet and zoom being scarce options to online classes and business processes taking the internet by storm, all changed in a matter of months.
As one can see, even before the pandemic, there was a skill gap already present between what the industry demands and what the MBA graduates and freshers had to offer. The ageing workforce and COVID pushed businesses to completely revamp the hiring process. Here also, technology played a huge role, as the entire recruiting process started being done virtually.
It was evident that the skill gap had to be filled via technology and digital literacy. B-schools had to incorporate the evolving demands of the industry in terms of digital and work from home skills including agility, adaptability and time management. Good communication also plays a crucial role in a work from home setup, as everything depends on virtual communication rather than on your “people skills”. B-schools need to bridge the gap by incorporating the training in these areas.
Employability workshops & webinars for industry-ready professionals
Being industry ready is essential now more than ever. Management institutes make students job-ready by conducting employability workshops and webinars on the latest changes happening in the industry. Employers and businesses that are surviving and want to make the change towards thriving need employees, both old and new that are ready to deal with uncertainty and have apt skills to sustain a boundaryless office setup.
‘WFH for a Manager’ by Sumit Bansal, TheBirbal, is one such example of a workshop conducted for future MBA graduates who will be entering the workforce amidst the ongoing changes. This workshop prepared students to be more flexible towards workplace changes and being problem solver in every kind of situation.
Shaping new age curriculum through continuous industry insights
Not just educational institutes but education itself needs to renovate completely by incorporating the important changes and how to overcome such challenges into what is taught to our students. Management education needs to reflect the ways we can tackle business challenges in the workplace. The new curriculum needs to be practical, should require very little hand-holding, get constantly updated and should train students in the skills that are currently required by the industry. Skills like agility, dynamic mindset, and proactiveness.
Around 65 lakh students graduate from higher institutions in a year in our country, but there are only 8 lakh entry level openings available. What’s more concerning is that only 7% of the talent is actually employable.
We believe education providers can and should produce professionals and not freshers. An APT approach can do this effectively.
- Accountable institutes- Who take equal responsibility for the students’ careers.
- Pragmatic learning- Honest agile tech-enabled practical learning.
- Tailored curriculum- Prioritizing domain-specific and role-specific concepts.
Streamlining career path through pre-employment skill courses
With the vast array of job opportunities and career paths now available to students to choose from, a more focused approach is needed to help students reach their career goals faster. A streamlined approach towards a particular career path and gaining the right skills that can help you make a mark in that field is what can increase by the day. Many B-schools were already training the students in how to present, work with and deliver through various virtual platforms.
Time management and assertive communication are demanded by the industry from fresh graduates as all businesses have a digital dependency at every operational level. Earlier the online presence of any company was limited to the various social media platforms. However now, almost every process can be taken over virtual mediums and with freshers managing their online classes and internships from a WFH setup, they might be the best fit to handle such situations.