A couple of weeks ago I participated in one of the annual “mock interview” days for the second year Business Management students at the University of Bradford School of Management. As usual the performance of students was varied but the feedback from the students about the experience had been very positive, the vast majority saying that they found it constructive and valuable.
Yesterday was part two of the programme i.e. mock assessment centres where the students undertake two activities:-
- Building a tower one meter in height using only straws
- Developing a series of questions for recruitment purposes
Working with a fellow assessor (a NHS graduate finance trainee) we observed the various groups and it was interesting watching the difference in performance between the first and second activities. They had obviously listened to the feedback we had given them and made a determined effort to work more effectively as a team.
One group in particular made a real “hash” of the tower building exercise because they did not plan what they were going to do, when I asked did they all have a clear vision of what their tower would look like when they started to build it, all of them smiled and said not really. However, they learned so much from the exercise that their performance in the second task was extremely good.
During our feedback sessions with the different groups we talked about the importance of communicating effectively, what effective team working looked like, assertive behaviour, planning and organising, time management (a big issue for them), goal setting as well as a range of other important competencies.
The groups were very cosmopolitan in make up, one group consisting of two Chinese students, one Estonian and one local Bradfordian. When doing observation of “international” groups it is important to take into account potential differing “cultural norms” in terms of attitude and behaviour.
It is a pleasure to participate in such days which all form part of the School of Management Career Management / Employability programme which aims to prepare students for transition to the next stage of their career development, be that employment, further study, time out, voluntary work or entrepreneurship.
Congratulations to Elaine Dean and her colleagues at the School of Management for organising an excellent day which I hope the students fully appreciate.