Employers favor leadership skills

By Jean Dobrzynski

Susie graduated with a 3.8 grade point average in accountancy and a resume that included her name, address and past job experience at the local mall.

Today Susie is out pounding the pavement, reading the want ads and wondering why she has not found a job yet.

Students like Susie are not uncommon. Without student organization involvement or some kind of leadership skills on a resume, business graduates are finding the job market closing in on them.

Corporate recruiters complain that MBAs lack creativity, people skills, aptitude for teamwork and the ability to speak and write with clarity and conciseness, according to Fortune magazine on July 29, 1991.

Harry Wright, assistant professor of business education and administrative services, said he works closely with a lot of corporations and he sees what is going on.

“Executives want their new employees to be technically qualified and those who can walk and talk the written and spoken language,” he said. “They are looking for people who can think, who can look at a problem they have never seen before and have a solution in their mind as to how to solve it.”

Wright said there are several ways a student can gain the characteristics big companies are searching for, starting with choosing a role model.

“A student does not have to learn everything in the classroom,” he said. “Find someone on campus who is a good professional model … watch the way they dress, the way they handle their problems with care, someone who is admired and happy about their work.”

Dean of College of Business Richard Brown agrees a student can learn valuable lessons outside of the classroom and said NIU is going through a transformation, bringing it to the top.

“Now we require students to take a course in business report writing and we are integrating more cases and eliminating lecture time,” he said. “We try to put them in teams and see who comes out as the leader. It works on their oral skills.”

Brown said by the 1992 fall semester, international courses also will be required.

“A student can’t study finance without knowing the global dimensions,” he said. “You just can’t do it.”

Brown also encouraged students to join student organizations such as the American Marketing Association (AMA) and business fraternities like Beta Alpha Psi.

“These student organizations allow the student to practice their professional skills,” he said. “It’s not hard for the organizations to obtain members because the faculty is really pushing for them. Students are realizing they can’t get anywhere without them.”

Faculty adviser for the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) and Operation Management and Information System (OMIS) professor Gyu Kim, said the organization has about 100 active members in the NIU chapter and 70,000 nationwide. He said the students have the opportunity to hear special speakers and learn professional skills pertaining to the OMIS field.

Kim said when recruiters see student organizations on a resume, they are immediately attracted.

“It makes the student more marketable, which increases their chances of getting a better job,” he said. “A lot of NIU alumni come back and thank me for APICS.”