MSC BUSINESS COLLEGE – BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN EDUCATION AND INDUSTRY- MYSIME
A common, continual problem facing employers and new graduates alike is the lack of hands-on skills and work readiness in graduates freshly exiting tertiary education. This problem exists on varying levels of education and across the full spectrum of business career paths and industries. As most of us know from experience, the first two aspects employers look at in graduates is qualifications and experience. Although the qualification may be newly obtained, the experience is often lacking from graduates.
Traditional tertiary education is very often out of touch with the realities of the workplace. The theory is taught with little emphasis on how it is applied. Engineering and Trade tertiary education has been significantly more successful in putting out graduates who can seamlessly flow into the actual workplace. However, business tertiary education is still largely guilty of not incorporating a practical component to the theory. Whilst workplace experience is a critical component and a pre requisite from accrediting bodies in the training process, the reality is; that it is not possible to assist all students in this regard. This is due to the high number of students within all tertiary institutions as well as the unwillingness of business to accommodate them.
MSC Business College has committed itself to preparing its students for the real world of work. It prides itself on being in touch with what businesses require, and providing the students to deliver on that need. It has achieved this by providing industry recognised and accredited programmes that incorporate a combination of theory and practice. However, MSC have now taken this a step further.
MSC Business College’s innovative MySime programme allows graduates to demonstrate both a qualification and the necessary work experience. My-SIMulated-Environment (MySIME) is unique to MSC Business College and is based on a German model that was studied in practice by MSC Business College. This simulated real workplace setting within MSC campuses enhances the job readiness of its graduates by providing them with on-the-job experience in a professional, replicated business environment while they complete their formal qualifications.
A simulated office environment is set up within the campuses housing the following departments: Reception, Administration, Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Production. As part of the curriculum students spend time in the MySIME. First year students engage in general business related activities, are introduced to office protocol and soft skills. Second and third year students spend time in each department to gain insight into the workings of a business and how departments are linked and interdependent on once another. Final year students will also do specialised work within their field of study, for example, Human Resources Management students learn the theory behind short-listing candidates in a lecture environment and then go into the MySIME to conduct mock interviews and shortlist candidates in practice. Students complete log books as part of the programme, with simulated and relevant practicals.
In addition to providing a practice ground for course specific skills, the MySIME is also used to teach students the soft skills that are essential for success in a working environment. These soft skills include time management, problem solving, conflict management, self-motivation and entrepreneurship.
MSC Business College has a partnership with BBS am Musseumsdorff in Cloppenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany and this is where the simulated work environment was observed. The concept has been modified to meet South African requirements and is an initiative that will continue to improve and develop into even more progressive models. The plan is to register the MySime as a registered workplace to enable students to complete the compulsory workplace component required by the accrediting authorities.
Part of the strategy is to have MSC campuses trading with each other via the MySime divisions, possibly integrating this with an electronic business simulation platform. The strategy is to have each MySime branded by a company to create the real feel of a working environment as well as a marketing platform for the business. For example the MySime in East London has been branded by CopyWorld – a printing company and the MySime operates as a copy and stationery outlet.
The benefits of the MySime programme extend beyond merely the graduate. Businesses and industry benefit in numerous ways. Businesses can now employ young graduates safe in the knowledge that the graduates have the practical and soft skills that are required within their general duties of employment. These graduates can effectively ‘hit the ground running’ and begin performing optimally upon commencement of employment. This lowers the disruption within businesses when having to train new employees on basic skills. Smaller, local businesses also can’t accommodate large volumes of learners for work experience - the MySime essentially does this for them.
Businesses can also make use of the MySime Consultant who heads up the programme within an MSC campus. The MySime Consultant can assist businesses by screening and providing a select group of candidates best suited to the role and brief of the business. The MySime Consultant can often build long term relationships with businesses and can even structure some of the MySime activities to align with the work requirements of partnered clients.
MSC Business College firmly believes that programmes such as the MySime are essential elements of the education process and that education providers need to stay relevant to industry in a constantly changing business environment. By recognising the MySime as a workplace will provide access to this “real life” experience to so many more students. MSC Business College happily invites any interested businesses to visit them and observe the MySime in practice.