Graduate Champion? The perceived working life skills of Management and International Business Programme’s MSc graduates from Aalto University

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
This thesis studied Aalto University’s Management and International Business (MIB) graduates’ perceived working life skills and capabilities. The research questions were: 1. What kind of skills and capabilities Management and International Business program graduates perceive to have when entering working life? 2. What kind of skills and capabilities HR-professionals perceive them to have and what are their expectations? 3. Is there a gap between the perceived skills and capabilities and the work life requirements? The goal of this study was how the theories and literature on the skills and capabilities higher management education produces and how that occurs in Aalto University School of Business, Management and International Business Programme (referred to as MIB in this study). LITERATURE This study is a case study that looks into what skills and capabilities graduates and the working life HR representatives perceive MIB graduates possess. The findings of this study suggest that the MIB program is responding to the work life demands, providing graduates with general work life skills. According to many researchers (e.g. De la Harpe et al., 2000; Henderson et al., 2004; Tomlinson, 2008), higher education should, through different disciplines, provide graduates with general skills, such as analytical skills, verbal and written communication skills and subject specific skills, to respond to the needs of the work life. The study indicates that MIB fulfils this purpose. As Harvey (2001) suggests higher educational institution focus on work acquirement skills and becoming lifelong learners, as well as offering a mix of subjects to study over focusing on fields with poor employment rates, or comparing their graduates’ employment rates to those of other institutions. Seems that the HR representatives look for similar focus from the higher education institutions, and MIB graduates perceive to have focused on relevant skills, with some cautions. Alarmingly, as Mintzberg and Gosling (2006), Chia (2005) and Pfeffer and Fong (2002) discuss, teaching management to unexperienced students might not be purposeful. As the findings indicate, HR professionals do not expect management graduates to have subject specific skills and capabilities. This warrants more research on focus of the MIB program.
Thesis advisor
Katila, Saija
management education, work life, higher education, capabilities, skills
Other note