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Heeding the Call for Skills-Based Instruction

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When the world’s largest professional network and top workforce data firm both call for higher education reform, it’s time to listen.

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network–it exists to help jobseekers, working professionals, and employers network and connect.

Emsi Burning Glass provides real-time labor data that reflects workforce trends, including what skills are most valuable to employers, and what is happening—overall—in today’s economy.

In the middle are the educational institutions and programs that exist to prepare and unite students (job seekers) with jobs. It’s a whole new world out there—one that calls for educators to provide skills-based, career-relevant instruction, say leaders at Emsi and LinkedIn.

Why Skills-Based Instruction?

It’s experiential. “For a long time, the way people got hired was based solely on the job they had, the degree they earned or the people they knew,” states LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky in his post, “Hiring For The Future, Not The Past. “For far too long, we have used degrees and experience to assess talent because we didn’t have anything better.”

What about advanced degrees? “A degree is an achievement, but …the reality is that with the current pace of technological change," says Rolansky, “everyone needs to continuously expand their skills,”

So, how will Rutgers Professional Science Masters (PSM) program adapt to these new demands?  As we have for the past decade: Our Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree, established in 2010, was designed with this exact, skills-based approach in mind, and, as a result, has produced career-ready students and graduates since 2012.  


How is the MBS model still relevant eleven years later?

Emsi’s September 2021 report, Equipping Faculty to Engage Learners, concludes with the following directives for implementing skills-based instruction. All of which Rutgers MBS program is proud to offer.

  1. Design assignments [and programs] that help learners develop and demonstrate high-demand skills

Our curriculum is dynamic, as are our instructors –our courses are taught by industry experts and shaped by our Industrial Advisory Board.

  1. Incorporate work-relevant skills into grading rubrics to help learners consciously develop and assess their proficiency

All courses have an experiential learning component, with our “concept-to-market” courses requiring students to create working prototypes using technology (Applied AI, Design Innovation), and our Capstone course—which pulls all MBS learning together—is a graduation requirement.

  1. Talk to industry contacts to verify trends. Job postings data can tell us that a skill is less prevalent than it was two years ago, but it can’t tell us why. This is where relationships with regional employers are invaluable.

In addition to our Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), our MBS Alumni network and robust industry partnerships help inform and align our dynamic curricula and offer educational opportunities and career connections to our students.

  1. Show employer partners how the skills you teach align with their needs; explore partnership opportunities (including internships or co-op experiences)

Our cornerstone Externship Exchange—available to all MBS students—allows students to gain hands-on work experience at some of the world’s leading corporations. Our Internships program, which offers structured career-coaching for students participating in internships, boasts an 86 percent conversion rate to either a continued internship or permanent employment.

  1. Call out career connections in lectures

In addition to each MBS course—all taught by industry experts—our alumni network and industry partnerships are invaluable.

Jen Reiseman-Briscoe
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