Finding jobs: put two and two together

In July, an assessment company released the grim findings of a survey of employability of MBA graduates in the country. The survey found only about 20 per cent of the graduates employable.

Earlier surveys of engineering graduates too had found just around 20 per cent employable. The continuing low employability raises concern for both academics and students. The only question now is how to improve employability.

The cue to where to start the clean-up lies in the survey result. The most important area of concern that the employers raise these days is the lack of analytical skills among job aspirants. The issue has a little bit of history.

In the earlier era when the education sector was not so liberalised, there were only government and aided colleges and a limited number of seats.

Commensurately, the job opportunities were fewer. Most of the entrance tests had application questions and the analytical skills were tested heavily in the pre-admission process. In that period, more importance was given to communication skills and the lack of these was publicised heavily as the reason for the lack of employability. In that era, analytical abilities were taken for granted in every professional course participant.

The ground situation has changed. The liberalisation of education has resulted in an increased number of colleges and intake. Consequently, the intake process has thinned in rigour. Correspondingly, job opportunities have increased. All said and done, the primary requirement of jobs is to be able to analyse situations and take decisions.

The onus now is on the colleges and the students themselves to develop analytical abilities. Fashionable communication no longer gets jobs. Companies have understood that communication abilities alone do not make a good candidate. That is the reason why most of them insist on good logical thinking abilities for every candidate. The overemphasis on communication skills and personality development in the curriculum as surrogate for placement training will not serve the purpose anymore.

Students need to read newspapers and start having an opinion on the issues. The opinions are generated by looking at the relevance of the information. In the initial stages, there is a necessity to read both sides of an issue. Slowly, the thought processes set in and therein come the analytical abilities, along with the thoughts.

Probe and find

In the system of schooling that we have, we are seldom encouraged to ask questions. Questioning is what encourages thought processes. We need to understand that and question many processes and things that we read in the textbooks in professional courses, especially the MBA course. The colleges need to develop an environment conducive for the students to question, experiment and learn. That is where the new-generation colleges need to have a closer look at their methods of teaching.

As for the students, they need to observe things more purposefully and develop the ability to question. To ask meaningful questions, the basics need to be in place and attention to detail is necessary.

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