Business schools and employers need to be more proactive to create work-ready recruits

More than 1,000 members of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) were surveyed on their work with business schools, revealing that links between the two groups were often poor. As well as finding that relatively few employers would take on business school graduates as first-time managers, the survey also found that nearly a third said that they could not see a business case for working with universities…

Only 22 per cent offered business school students job placements or internships, yet nearly nine in 10 said that such experience would make business school graduates more employable.

“Employers do not naturally look to business schools as their preferred source of interns or permanent recruits,” according to a summary of the report, 21st century leaders: building practice into the curriculum to boost employability, launched yesterday in partnership with the Association of Business Schools (ABS).

Almost half of surveyed employers did not know whether their local business school was well connected with firms in the area. However, nearly half used business schools to train up their existing staff.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said: “Stronger collaboration between business schools, employers and professional bodies will result in a better generation of leaders and also help lay the groundwork for greater innovation, management capability, and growth.

“It’s a win-win situation because employers get professionally trained, practically-skilled managers who can deliver results from day one – while graduates boost their career and progression prospects and universities improve student satisfaction, attracting more and better candidates.”

The findings come after 20 business schools were last week awarded a new type of accolade for their work with start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Small Business Charter Awards, supported by the ABS and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, judges business schools on criteria including whether they offer useful advice to local firms and whether they offer their students placements in smaller companies.

The 20 schools given the award at a ceremony at 10 Downing Street on 5 June were:

-       Aston University, Aston Business School

-       Coventry University, Coventry Business School

-       Edinburgh Napier University, Business School

-       Kingston University, Kingston Business School

-       Lancaster University Management School

-       Loughborough University, School of Business and Economics

-       Manchester Metropolitan University, Business School

-       Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School

-       Southampton Solent University, Faculty of Business, Sport and Enterprise

-       University College London, department of management science and innovation

-       University of Birmingham, Birmingham Business School

-       University of Leeds, Leeds University Business

-       University of Leicester, School of Management

-       University of Liverpool Management School

-       University of Northampton Business School

-       University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Business School

-       University of Salford, Salford Business School

-       University of Strathclyde, Strathclyde Business School

-       University of the West of England, Bristol Business School

-       University of Wolverhampton Business School

This article was written by David Matthews and was first published on Times Higher Education on 10 June 2014.