Backpack to Briefcase

Connecting business students with their career goals.

Jul 03, 2013

University provides students with the opportunity to make an investment in their future. Higher education is a formative and potentially life-shaping experience. For students, going to university offers them the opportunity to explore, discover, and contribute new knowledge, as well as the opportunity to go on to lead fulfilling, relevant careers, and to carve out an identity - or maybe try out several.

Today, the graduate job market is a competitive place, and there aren’t two ways about it. This has put pressure on students to start thinking about their careers and researching what employers in their field look for much earlier in their studies.

In a recent survey by CBI/NUS, 82% of businesses revealed that employability skills were the single most important consideration when recruiting graduates and that work experience plays a key role in the development of these skills.

There’s no conclusive blueprint of employer requirements for every job in the market, but when students come to the end of their degree and they join the other thousands of graduates across Lebanon and the region, we want to make sure our students can stand out from the crowd, explains Dr. Said Elfakhani, dean of LAU’s School of Business.

At the LAU School of Business, faculty and staff are finding ways to develop students’ skills, personal attributes and enhance their knowledge - all of which will help contribute towards their employability.

Alongside elements of the curriculum which help develop skills for employment, LAU’s School of Business is working in a range of ways to help students acquire employability skills. “The school is collaborating with leading business figures, bringing them onto campus to lead workshops and provide lectures and case studies, as well as sending students for work experience opportunities and internships,” says Dr. Said Elfakhani, dean of LAU’s School of Business.

In addition, the Career and Placement Office which was recently established by the School of Business offers a range of services designed to assist students when they go applying for jobs. These services involve specific skills such as resume and cover letter writing, resume critiques, interview techniques, salary negotiation tips, internship and job search techniques, and applying for graduate school tips. Some of these are not the same as the aforementioned employability skills, but the services are designed to help students - for example, by pointing evidence to demonstrate a competency.

“When I went to my interview, I was hardly asked about my degree. They wanted to know more about my leadership skills and whether I was confident enough to answer all their questions efficiently,” says Khodor Shour, a Hospitality Management student. “That’s what gets you the job!”

The Career and Placement Office helps Business students and recent graduates develop the skills and knowledge needed for informed career decision making and job or course search before leaving University and beyond. “The office’s goal is to support Business students in developing themselves into confident, capable and professional graduates,” says Mrs. Lina Abou Chacra, the Career and Placement Officer at the LAU School of Business.

Furthermore, along with the responsibility that the university holds towards students and providing them with an enriching experience and offering useful academic resources; today’s competitive and highly demanding market is also bringing to students the need to take personal responsibility for developing the skills and attributes that will help increase their employability. It’s also teaching them the necessity of skillfully presenting themselves and what they can offer to a prospective employer.