According to a report by ASSOCHAM, only 7 per cent of the students graduating from the 5,500 B-Schools in the country are employable. Almost 1 out of 2 MBA graduates fail to land a job. Clearly, the theoretical knowledge that is imparted to B-School students is not enough. If the situation is not reversed quickly, it will lead to a scenario of having a large number of people with degrees but not enough manpower. B- Schools need to focus on imparting present day job- readiness skills and moulding students into job-ready professionals with adequate skills proficiency, so that, they can be hired to meet the emerging requirements of the industries.
In this regard Career2NextOrbit team is thankful to Mr. Amit Malik, Chief People Officer at Aviva Life Insurance India Ltd. for sharing his views about the same.
About Mr. Amit Malik: Amit Malik is the Chief People Officer at Aviva Life Insurance India Ltd. In his current role, he leads the People function and plays a significant role in contributing to and facilitating the achievement of the strategic business goals of the organisation. He has over 16 years of work experience and prior to joining Aviva has worked in HR leadership roles at Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland, American Express and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. An alumnus of School of Industrial and Labour Relations, Cornell University, and Said Business School (Oxford University), he was awarded top 40 HR Leaders Award at the Asia Pacific HR Conference 2014.
Career2NextOrbit: How do we define Job readiness skills?
Amit: Every job comes with its own set of technical & behavioural skill requirements. However, certain skills are important when looking at B-school hiring:
- Communication (both verbal and written)
- Ability to work in a team (most MBAs will work in teams/lead teams in future)
- Analytical/ Quantitative skills
- Ability to think like a business owner/Critical Thinking/ Detail Orientation
- Flexibility/Adaptability/Ability to learn, unlearn and relearn
- Subject / Domain knowledge
Career2NextOrbit: Why are they important for B-school students, in addition to the theoretical knowledge which they gain through academics?
Amit: B-School graduates are likely to handle a wide variety of roles early in their careers. While technical skills are important, as prospective future leaders they need to have a keen understanding of business & economic trends as well. That is what will differentiate them from technical experts and allow them to take up diverse roles. An MBA in Finance, for example, may end up working in a team full of CAs. Naturally, they are expected to bring in more than domain expertise to the table. Whether you are hired for a role in HR or Operations, it is imperative that you understand sales, understand your customers and their needs. With the business environment changing rapidly, the shelf life of skills has also become small. Hence, the ability to learn consistently is imperative not only for success but for mere survival.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the five new era employability skills that you would like to share with B-school students?
Amit: The nature of jobs is changing at a rapid pace. The jobs of the future, when the application of AI & machine learning becomes wider, will require a new set of skills. While the applicability and need may vary from job to job, here are the skills that all B-schools students will need over the next few years:
1. Disruption leading to innovation
2. Understanding & Leveraging Diversity
3. Digital & Social Media Skills
4. Analytics & Big Data
5. Working with remote teams
Career2NextOrbit: Why do you think these skills are important in present day context?
Amit: These skills are in line with how the business environment has evolved. Currently, no matter what role or profile you handle, having an awareness and understanding of Digital & Social is imperative. Most jobs I believe will require knowledge and comfort with Analytics and Big Data in the near future. If you look at 5 -10 years into history, many jobs did not exist. There was no need to hire Social Media Experts nor was Big Data a skill much sought for at the beginning of this century. Now, these are ingrained in most jobs across functions, be in Marketing, Operations or Human Resources. There was no Gmail, Wikipedia was just an experiment & E-commerce had just started to emerge. One may recall when bank employees protested on a wide scale against the computerization of branches. All of these changes happened in less than 15 years but are now an integral part of our lives.
Career2NextOrbit: What are the few pieces of advice you would give to present day MBA students towards developing these skills?
- Take every opportunity to work in Corporate competitions & case studies/ live projects for practical exposure
- Any and every opportunity to work in teams on campus will help you learn - the group dynamics will be similar once you join a corporate setup
- Keep reading apart from course/ keep yourself abreast of business/ industry/economy changes
- Learning has many avenues now – make use of opportunities like e-learning & MOOCs to continuously learn new skills
Career2NextOrbit: What are your three recommendations that you would like to share with B-schools' Leadership teams to make students more employable?
- There is an urgent need to relook at the B school curriculums. The pace at which the businesses are changing far outstrips the rate at which our curriculums change. Moreover, the curriculum must focus more on training students on actual skills needed when they join the corporate world.
- Digital & analytics skills are/ will be required across domains. More focus needs to be put on training students in these areas.
- Make Innovation an integral part of B-School life