While going to university is crucial to job success, a study conducted by Gallup in the US found that there is a clear discrepancy between the perception from universities and employers: 96% of university deans believe they are adequately preparing their students for the labor market while only 11% of employers believe that graduates have the skills needed for the job. Based on the Gallup results, there are two factors that can improve performance of recent graduates in the labor market: the first is having one or more professors as mentors, who have a genuine interest and support the aspirations of the student; And the second is, the ability to have practical training combined with their studies.
What is bewildering is that these results are in direct contrast with the perception that where you study is of great importance: private or public, “prestigious” or not, these factors do not seem to predict the subsequent success of students. The important thing is not where you study but how you study. Assessing how to study becomes even more urgent with the emergence of disruptive technologies. Here are some ways we can start preparing as a response to a precipitously changing environment:
Ideas for a New University
Practical experience: to know something it is not enough to have learned it, said Seneca. As reflected in the Gallup survey, the university has to go into companies through internships and practical experience. But we must also take the company to the university. In my years as an educator, I have seen that nothing teaches and motivates more than an exercise that is as a close to real life as possible. For example, present and defend the international expansion business plan of a company in front of its manager, director, or even CEO. A leader who then also becomes involved as a mentor in development of your plan.
Flexibility: a dynamic and changing environment is incompatible with the rigidity of an academic calendar from September to June. A university open 12 months of the year, adapting the onset and pace of studies to your needs. This is something that is already offered by universities such Schiller International University, an academic program divided into monthly modules; the student takes and focuses on one subject per month. He can start when he is ready and go as fast or as slow as he needs to.
Mobility: to be global citizens, it is essential to provide the ability to complete part of their studies abroad. This has been confirmed by data from the European Commission to assess the impact of the Erasmus program: as a criterion for selecting candidates for the labor market, they show that studying abroad significantly increases the relevance of international experience from 37% in 2006 to 64% today. Some will question if it is worth pursuing a cause that seems lost and with bleak job prospects. But the truth is that to have more opportunities, more income, and more resilience to an unpredictable future, a university education is your best bet. Not forgetting, as Socrates said, that knowledge is the main part of happiness.
Excerpt from article published in Spanish at: https://goo.gl/oqlo98_