Alumni Advise Kaplan University Business and Information Technology Students to Hone Critical Thinking and Communication Skills to Get Ahead

Student Advisory Report Offers Insights from Alumni to Help Current Students Make the Most of Their Education

DAVENPORT, Iowa--()--Students enrolled in Kaplan University’s College of Business and Information Technology were offered the insights of alumni in helping them chart the necessary traits that will help them get ahead, identify industries that offer the greatest opportunity, and gain from personal advice for guidance on building their careers. These recommendations were published today in the second, “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report based on a survey of a diverse group of alumni. In June, the college announced the first “If I Were You” report results based on a faculty survey.

Kaplan University business and information technology (IT) alumni were polled and value the higher education they received. More than seven in ten participants responded that higher education is very important for obtaining a good salary (71%) and having access to better jobs (72%). Many are already experiencing the benefits of earning their higher education degree, and have an optimistic outlook: Nearly two thirds (64%) of respondents expect to be in a higher position or have their own business within five years.

Kaplan University’s business and information technology graduates also believe that today’s students have reason to be optimistic after graduation, with almost a third of respondents reporting that new industries offer a broadening scope of opportunity. A quarter are hopeful because of the ability of today’s companies to recognize and reward talent and sixteen percent believe today’s companies are being more flexible and accommodating with work requirements.

So what can help graduates be most successful and employable?

Critical Thinking, Communication and Networking Skills Benefit Graduates in the Workplace

Critical thinking (75%) and written communication (60%) ranked high on the list of most valuable skills for today’s workplace. Also high on the graduates’ list were networking skills (33%). When asked about important skills they acquired in school, Kaplan alumni also listed critical thinking (20%), as well as general business skills (13%) and strategic planning skills (13%). Networking (18%) and technological skills (14%) were among those they wish they had better developed prior to entering the workplace.

“In addition to strong functional knowledge, the interpersonal and communications skills that students possess will help them succeed in best applying that knowledge in the workplace,” said Dr. Thomas Boyd, Dean, School of Business, Kaplan University. “Clearly the Kaplan University alumni that participated in the survey have already experienced this firsthand, and current and prospective students should take note of this practical advice, and take advantage of the many opportunities in our curriculum to hone these skills.”

Areas for Opportunity

Overall, Kaplan alumni believe the following areas will present the newest and best opportunities for business and IT graduates:

  • Information Technology
    • Information Security
    • Multiplatform Software Development
    • Database Management
  • Business
    • Management
    • Marketing/Internet Marketing
    • Finance

Alignment Among Faculty and Alumni

The insights shared by Kaplan faculty in the first “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report released earlier this year, aligned with alumni responses in the most recent survey on a number of topics, including valuable traits to get ahead, industries that offer the greatest opportunity, and professional advice. “We were pleased to see this alignment, as it suggests that what faculty are emphasizing in their teaching correlates with what the alumni are experiencing in the workplace,” said Boyd.

“If I Were You…” Words of Wisdom

Along with identifying top skills and areas for opportunity for future graduates, the Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology’s “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report also asked the alumni respondents for the one piece of advice they would give to students considering a business or IT career. The comments below are a sampling of more than one hundred responses:

  • “Strive to understand the how and why of your tasks. Be willing to learn about other areas of the company and industry. Have a broad knowledge of all aspects of your company to help make yourself invaluable to your employer.”
  • “Know your audience. Be well versed in a multitude of lifestyles, demographics and interests through your networking, as this will serve you well as you create target audiences and grow your company revenue.”
  • “Education doesn't end when you graduate. Be prepared to constantly learn new concepts.”

About the “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report Respondents

Representing 37 states, Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology graduates, from an alumni database of approximately 10,000 members, participated in the “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report. Seventy-six percent of respondents were already employed, with the average age the respondents being 46 years old. Sixty-three percent of respondents participated in Kaplan’s business degree programs, while thirty-seven percent of respondents participated in Kaplan’s IT degree programs.

“If I Were You” Student Advisory Report Methodology

Conducted by Wiser Marketing Group, the Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology “If I Were You” Student Advisory Report was fielded August 14 - September 8. The survey was voluntarily completed online from a Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology alumni database of approximately 10,000 members.

About Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education. It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by providing a practical, student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Kaplan University serves approximately 46,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education Group and Kaplan, Inc., a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Kaplan, Inc. serves approximately 65,000 students online and through approximately 60 campus-based schools across the United States. Kaplan’s higher education schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from certificates and diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a juris doctor degree. Kaplan serves students of all ages through a wide array of offerings including higher education, test preparation, professional training and programs for kids in grades K-12. Kaplan, Inc., is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company its largest division. For more information, visit www.kaplanuniversity.edu.

Contacts

Media Contacts:
rbb Public Relations
Rebecca Stella, 305-967-6675
rebecca.stella@rbbpr.com
or
Kaplan University
Amy Hawkinson, 954-515-3603
ahawkinson@kaplan.edu

Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology's "If I Were You" Student Advisory Report: Fast Facts Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

Kaplan University College of Business and Information Technology's "If I Were You" Student Advisory Report: Fast Facts Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

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Contacts

Media Contacts:
rbb Public Relations
Rebecca Stella, 305-967-6675
rebecca.stella@rbbpr.com
or
Kaplan University
Amy Hawkinson, 954-515-3603
ahawkinson@kaplan.edu