Recent research papers have shown that candidates’ soft skills are decisive for recruiters, especially when hiring business school graduates.
Professionals tend to value soft skills more and more. Academic knowledge and work placements are not the only things taken into account anymore.
Over the last 20 years, EMLV has worked hand in hand with ESILV, an engineer school and IIM, a web and digital school, to train young professionals with a high capacity to fit in multidisciplinary and intercultural environments.
The emphasis put on soft skills is fostered by the close collaboration between the schools, all located on the same premises. Working on common projects with students from other scientific and professional cultures really enhances behavioural skills.
What particular skills do recruiters seek in business school graduates?
Communicating well with others
Interpersonal skills, attentiveness, empathy, friendliness, ability to deal with emotions: these are personality traits a young graduate about to start a career should develop and bring out.
The extent of services in the economy is growing and projects imply cross-disciplinary work within the organizations, bringing a variety of profiles to work together. It is then necessary to understand others in order to optimize interpersonal communication.
Intercultural skills are developed through semesters and internships abroad and the presence of foreign students on campus. These occasions foster strong interpersonal skills in EMLV business school students.
Being a good team-worker
Organisations no longer want their employees to compete against one another, they want them to collaborate on group projects: being able to work in a team, using agile processes is now essential for a professional to easily blend into a corporate culture.
Business school teaching methods strongly develop this competency: at EMLV, many assignments and projects are undertaken in teams, including with students from the fellow schools of engineering and digital, who often have different learning and working habits.
Extra-curricular activities, through student associations and sport also are fertile ground for team work.
Thinking outside the box, imagining innovative solutions, being curious, keeping up to date with the next trends, being flexible…These skills are necessary at a time when economy is shifting towards digitalisation and innovative processes are booming: technical skills tend to outdate quickly. Professionals must be flexible and fundamentally “learn to learn“.
All along their studies, EMLV students face innovation issues, especially regarding digital transformation. Two practical applications are the project led with PSA Peugeot Citroën on the connected car theme and the project on connected objects developed with Cisco.
Specific units are taught throughout the year to help students develop their creativity. Entrepreneurship is enhanced, particularly through the PEPITE PON programme.
Model transformation, digital transformation challenges, speeding up of rhythm… these changes must be addressed by young graduates with a solution-oriented attitude and proactivity as team-players. Numerous businesses encourage reverse mentoring practices.
Reversed teaching is central at EMLV: students are active in their education and not passively gathering unquestioned knowledge.
Being committed to work
For a young professional, being independent and resolute to achieve goals is a distinguishing quality in a context of less hierarchic organisation charts. Organisations are on the lookout for intrapreneurs with a deep commitment to the transformations and challenges of their companies.
Student engagement is a cornerstone of the educational programmes at Pôle Léonard de Vinci and has many concrete applications: the Student Engagement Projects or the student associations that can generate bonus credits, inter-school challenges, missions for companies, event organisation and conferences on business-related themes… Student involvement in their studies and at school is not only seen as essential but also brought out.
A whole department for soft skills
A student’s human qualities and interpersonal skills, often referred to as soft skills can make a difference during an interview and are performance boosters in a career.
Pôle Léonard de Vinci leaders thus decided to create a new educational department in order to coordinate all actions aimed at helping students to acquire these soft skills. Laure Bertrand is head of this department.