Most Millennial workers do not think that they acquired the top 3 skills that they use in their job presently from their past professional schools. That is indeed a shocking revelation of the survey that was conducted on various professional social media platforms over two weeks and dozens of others were interviewed. 

Only a meager 13% of millennial workers stated that their professional schools imparted them the skills that they need most in their jobs today. By 2025, millennials also known as Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1999, will make up roughly 75% of the world’s workforce. By 2028, the last of the boomers will be reaching retirement age, Millennials will make up roughly three-quarters of the workforce by this time, and the oldest millennial who will be still quite young at just 47, will be entering leadership positions. If the soon to be the largest cohort of workers globally, feels that their top skills of today did not come from the professional schools that they attended yesterday, it certainly is indicative of an existing and continuing gap between what is taught in professional schools and graduate attributes that are desirable by the industry. 

The gap can be qualified at least in two very significant aspects –

  1. The education imparted by the professional schools are largely not contributing to the skill development of the graduates.
  2. Professional schools do not prepare graduates for the skills needed in the future. This may be also because most of them are yet to take stock of the future of skills and tailor their curriculum design and delivery on those lines.

From the interviews that I conducted, I have picked a few of them to be featured here, and just to ensure that the presentation is an unbiased one, I have also included those comments who accounted for the 13% who were lucky to find those skills in their professional schools as well. But what’s interesting is that all of them have some advice for the professional schools to better equip the graduates with skills that they will find useful in their future jobs and career –

Amit Sinha, Regional Head – New Sales Management -Delhi, Safexpress Pvt.Ltd

 The top 3 skills that I currently use in my sales job are:

Amit Sinha
  1. Decision-making Skills.
  2. Negotiation Skills along with Business acumen.
  3. Adaptability nature.

These skills were not imparted in my professional school. I acquired these skills to work in a challenging and dynamic environment and contribute to the best of my abilities and knowledge under core sales situations.

My advice to the professional schools is to make future graduates’ future skills ready is by equipping them with ‘Go to market strategy skills’, ‘Learning to embrace failure, be team player and be calm & patient under any circumstance. 

Mahesh Reddy GV, Manager Sales & Marketing, Shapoorji Pallonji Construction Ltd, Bangalore

 The top 3 skills that I use in my job include –

Mahesh Reddy
  • Relationship Building- 30% of my Sales target is achieved by my existing client’s reference and 20% through the channel partners and 50% through other sources. It’s all because of my good relationship with my clients and other channels. I learned this skill while perceiving my summer internship in FMCG sales.
  • Time and project management – managing time and targets are given by organization. I learned this skill when I joined my first job as a sales executive.
  • Intellect – A strong intellect with a particular emphasis on analytics, mathematics, finances, and economics goes a long way towards performing my job requirements in sales and marketing. I learned this skill while pursuing my master’s in business administration at the business school.

It takes a certain personality and a specific skill set that can be taught and learned in universities, but some of which are intangible and inherent. In addition to these learned and natural skills, takes someone who strives for, commits to, and is hungry to learn and perform at the top echelon in a challenging environment. Take advantage of this time of intellectual and creative freedom. Visit your professors during their office hours. Get to know them. Get to know your fellow classmates. Don’t compromise in learning new things.

My advice to professional schools, to train future graduates on the following skills:

  1. The ability to work with a wide variety of people
  2. Time management and practical skills
  3. Problem-solving skills
  4. Data analysis
  5. Most importantly how to manage stress and achieve given targets.

Kanwal Preet Singh, Customer Success Account Manager with a Global Cloud Security Company in India

Kanwal Preet Singh

 Customer Success Account Managers (CSM) is about being a part business consultant, part technical expert, and part organizational therapist. As a CSM, you get to know your product, your customers, and your company deeply, as well as seeing first-hand how different teams interact. This makes for a fulfilling and intellectually demanding role, which requires strong data analytics skills and using them to identify potential issues and opportunities. Alongside these abilities, CSMs need to be strong communicators, with great emotional intelligence. The case study-based learning at my business school helped me attain these skills and apply them to real business situations. Through coursework, company visits, workshops, and industry consulting projects, business schools can prepare students for customer-centric roles like CSM.

Dr. Shweta Tewari, Assistant Professor, Dayananda Sagar University – School of Commerce and Management

Dr Shweta Tewari

 Venturing into academics has been a very smooth journey for me. Being a noble profession, it is equally demanding and requires one to have skills like good communication, basic to an advanced level understanding of technology, and of course networking for knowledge sharing. Deep diving into some technicalities has been a challenge for me and I believe it is important for professional schools to create value addition courses apart from mere academics on aspects like negotiation skills, advanced excel, change management, etc. This will lead to future employees becoming more productive!

Way Forward

A philosopher once said – ‘Education is the passport to the future’. Education should help one to think critically and build character at the same time. In present times though, it should also make graduates skilled. The concept of Backward Design in curriculum design, delivery and assessment calls for ascertaining the learning outcomes of a course or a program first before deciding on what to teach, how to teach, what to assess and how to assess. Most professional school programs are over focused on disseminating information and knowledge, but less focused on skills that would graduates in good stead in their future jobs and careers. Considering the Future of Skills would be much different and much demanding then the present requirements, the task is cut-out for the professional schools to revamp their curriculum design and delivery and make it focused on developing skills for the future among the graduates.

Also, read out cover story for this edition – MAPPING THE SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

About the Author

Dr. Debashish Sengupta Coeditor of Future of Earth, is a celebrated award-winning author, millennial expert, business consultant, professor, a master trainer and a Harvard University certified teacher.