At this time of year many management students will be anticipating 2016 as the year in which they start or improve their career. Yes, ’tis the season to be dusting down CVs and writing new ones.
The question is, are employers actually looking for the skills delivered in the course of an MBA? Many employers, their representative organisations and government departments are emphasising a gap between the skills that students have on leaving education, and the skills that employers value and need in the new economies.
They emphasise a demand for so called soft skills such as critical thinking, collaborative working, communication, and empathy. These are all skills that are closely associated with learner-centred approaches in the classroom, and particularly with case-based learning.
The FICCI report Higher Education in India: Vision 2030 recognises this and, on page 31, makes the following recommendation:
The ‘case study’ method of teaching can be adopted to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills.
I think case-based approaches also go further than this, but it’s a welcome recognition of the value added by adopting case discussion in the classroom.
And it’s not just in India that the skills gap is recognised. Employers across the world are crying out for recruits who can think on their feet, and are adaptable, analytic problem solvers used to working collaboratively.
And, guess what? Many employers are favouring students with experience of the case method and are using cases as part of their selection process.
Students might be well advised to read a few cases about their prospective employers before writing that application.