Soft is Hard
by Rick_Franza
 Business through a Local Lens
January 18, 2012 04:22 PM | 756 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
As an administrator and faculty member at KSU’s Coles College of Business, I can assure you that we have excellent business programs.  Our students graduate with a strong skill set of analytic and business techniques that allow them to add value the enterprises of their future employers.  Depending on the program, those skills include auditing or cost accounting skills, professional salesmanship, or the ability to manage financial and/or human resources.  Our students are clearly mastering the more tangible or “hard” skills required to be successful business professionals.

However, like many business schools, we have been less than successful in teaching our students the so-called “soft skills” necessary for professional success in business.  These include interpersonal skills, oral and written communication, leadership, teaming, motivation, and basic planning and organizing.  Frankly, we have been struggling with how to institutionally improve the soft skills of our approximately 4,000 undergraduate business majors.

We have recently taken two major steps in the direction of improving the soft skills that potential employers have found lacking in business students across the nation.  First, we have recently completely a major curriculum overhaul of our BBA in Management program.  We have put together a series of four integrated courses that are linked together with conscious intent to improve the soft skills (along with the hard skills) of our Management majors.  More details on this curricular change will provided in a future installment of this blog.

Second, we have initiated the “Coles Success Series” which will bring in outstanding speakers to address this soft skill issues.  On January 26, local consultant and former Green Beret, Eddie Williams will kick off the series with the presentation, “The Essential Elements of Success” which will provide our students with tips and direction for better success in the marketplace.  Our second speaker will be women’s business leader, Erin Wolf, who on March 21 will discuss “Personal Branding”.

While the developing of soft skills are hard, we hope our new curriculum and speaker series will make it easier for our students to be better business leaders.

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