Real-World Competence: UB MBA Program to Assess, Develop Core Competencies of In-Coming Class

Release Date: August 20, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Before they even step foot in a classroom this fall, in-coming MBA students in the University at Buffalo School of Management will begin preparation for success outside of the classroom and inside the real world of business.

As part of the management school's intensive, four-day MBA Advantage program, new students on Aug. 24-27 will begin personal assessment and development of five critical "core competencies" valued by corporate recruiters -- communication skills, problem-solving and decision-making, team skills, interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, and initiative/proactivity.

According to Katherine G. Ferguson, assistant dean and administrative director of the UB MBA program, competency-based assessment of employees for career planning, personnel development and hiring is a growing trend among many companies, including Xerox, M&M/Mars, AT&T and Lucent Technologies.

To keep pace with this trend and enhance the job marketability of its students, UB and a handful of other MBA programs nationwide have begun to incorporate competency-based education programs within their curricula.

"Our goal is to encourage students to take responsibility for their personal and professional growth from their very first days in our MBA program and throughout their careers," says Ferguson.

Through group discussions and assessment tests administered during MBA Advantage, Ferguson says the students will begin to better understand their strengths and weaknesses and can begin to develop a strategy for maximizing talents and improving deficiencies.

She adds that students will be given the option of enrolling in a year-long course in which they can build and refine a "portfolio" of competencies that will make them more attractive to corporate recruiters and more valuable as employees.

During the upcoming MBA Advantage sessions, students also will receive instruction in head-to-toe image refinement and resume-building, and will meet with UB management school alumnus James Ringler, chairman, president and CEO of Premark International, who will discuss the value of an MBA in today's job market.

According to Ferguson, MBA Advantage is designed to continue throughout the students' first and second years in the MBA program, with sessions on professional networking, negotiating salary offers, business etiquette and job-search and interviewing strategy, in addition to traditional team-building activities.

Media Contact Information

John Della Contrada
Vice President for University Communications
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