The war for talent has always been one that has forced many organisations to vie for the best, but often they settle for what’s available. Campuses have always been a favourite recruiting source and many organisations have tried various models that have worked for them. Some have tweaked the curricula, some have trained the faculty, some have sponsored and many provide internship opportunities. While hundreds of engineering colleges churn out thousands of graduates, their employability has always remained a challenge.
Why do corporate-academia models work better in today’s context?
The collaboration between corporates and universities has always been done in an ad hoc manner. By giving more thought to the structure of the relationship, companies can strive at achieving better results. It is important for an organisation to go through multiple levels of face-to-face interactions to understand an individual’s learning agility, logical thinking, authenticity, and other important aspects to identify the right set of candidates for a particular company and fitment to an academic program.
The thought behind a carefully developed curriculum is to ensure that the students go through an industry-specific learning cutting across the topics that are unique to the company and its interests along with techniques and managerial skills. The delivery of the program must be a joint responsibility between the university and the company where senior, experienced practitioners from the company teach and impart knowledge on specific, contextualised technical topics, while subjects related to domain and managerial skills are taught by leading university faculty and industry specific practitioners.
Helps shape professionals skills
Students, at the time of recruitment must be briefed of the industry and specifics in order to inform them focused information regarding the various aspects of the job, the possible career growth path, etc. at the very beginning. This helps in recruiting students based on their interest in the industry and their potential to perform well on the real job.
Moreover, it is important for companies to encourage and motivate the students to pursue these industry-specific programs. In an effort to make it a value proposition for the student, there are various companies that bear the cost of the education as well as offer scholarships for students to meet their living expenses. Also, an association with the right university is crucial as it allows the company to attract the right talent from campuses.
Looking beyond academics for an all-rounder professionals
It is the responsibility of the private IT sector to create, nurture and enable its talent and this is precisely what a corporate-academia partnership focuses on. While the company is focusing on building its future manager workforce with a streamlined academic program, it is also empowering these fresh graduates to take control of their careers, be it the industry they choose to work in or the skills they are looking to develop.
Partnership an enabler
It is vital for the senior leadership team to spend substantial amount of time aligning the recruits to the organisations’ values and culture. Mentoring becomes essential in this case given that most of these students will be the future leaders of the company; in such cases, a non-hierarchical approach works best.
Perspectives of senior executives while learning
The other important aspect of a corporate-academic partnership is a rigorous internship which involves on-the-job training and working on live projects under the direct supervision of project and program managers. This provides a win-win situation for both the individual whose learns tremendously by shadowing their seniors and also for the company whose fresh recruits are project-ready from Day 1 with the necessary skills and managerial competencies.
Preview with internships
India has always thrived on the gurukul system where the teacher extends his/her knowledge to their students; this is probably why a formal system has always worked in the education context. While companies help in on-the-job training, theoretical knowledge is equally vital, the traditional set-up of a classroom comes with performance assessments, training & infrastructure.
Amalgamation of theory & practice
Corporate–academia partnerships help build an organisation’s talent pipeline and to fulfil leadership positions. This results in accelerated development and availability of highly qualified and trained talent ready for deployment in a relatively short span of time as compared to lateral recruits.
In short, this model helps in matching capabilities to what companies are exactly looking for.