Exploring student futures as business graduates: insights from capstone and internship experiences

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Employability or ‘work-ready’ curricular initiatives are designed to help students conceptualise and prepare for their future careers, yet students often have a poor understanding of what their careers might look like and they rarely engage in strategic career planning. The two-phase qualitative study reported here assisted final-year undergraduate business students to plan their future lives and work by supporting their development of career- and self-awareness: their career literacy. In Phase 1 we explored the concept of career literacy with 35 final-year business students. Leximancer mapping of the two-part, career literacy focused inquiry showed that the business students primarily attributed graduate success with having proficiency in oral communication skills. Of concern, the same students reported that their own oral communications skills were under-developed; they also felt that they were not sufficiently career aware. We wondered whether students’ self-assessments were aligned with the expectations of graduate employers. In Phase 2 we compared student and industry assessments of a second students cohort. We surveyed 44 final-year business students and their industry hosts whilst the students were completing industry placements. Phase 2 revealed significant differences in hosts’ ratings of students’ oral communication skills and the students’ far lower self-ratings. The findings suggest that some final-year students have unrealistic expectations about the communication skills required after graduation, and that their lack of career awareness leads them to underestimate their ability to articulate their strengths to future employers. The findings suggest the need to help students develop better career awareness and more realistic self-assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventBiennial EARLI Conference 2019 - RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
Duration: 12 Aug 201916 Aug 2019
Conference number: 18th


ConferenceBiennial EARLI Conference 2019
Internet address

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