Of all the complaints he hears from employers, he said, they especially want the millennial generation — born in the 1980s and 1990s — to learn to communicate “in a respectful manner that gets the idea across well. General professionalism and work ethic are other areas where millennials are found lacking.”
Some universities are spurring students to focus very early in their studies on workplace preparation. At Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts in the US, freshmen take an introductory career development class and a skills assessment to get a better sense of their aptitudes, as well as weaknesses. Employees of such companies as Fidelity and TJ Maxx visit the class and provide feedback on resumes, elevator pitches and interview skills
Bentley also gets input from businesses about the curriculum. For example, EMC broached the idea of a professional sales major, Gloria Larson, Bentley’s president, said.
“We discussed it with faculty and other companies and now have a sales major,” she said.
Most students major in business at Bentley but also take some liberal arts classes. “I have worked in teams in most of my classes, much more than my friends at other schools,” said Amanda McCormick, a junior at Bentley who hopes to work in fashion marketing. Teamwork, plus her experience making presentations in class, proved valuable for an internship this year at fashion designer Kate Spade.
“The most valuable thing was getting to see what a corporate workplace is really like,” she said. “It was eye opening.”
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