business graphAccording to the latest Student Advisory report from Kaplan University (KU), critical thinking and written communication skills are the most important skills college graduates in business and information technology (IT) programs need to succeed in today’s challenging economy. The inaugural report, “If I Were You,” comes from a survey of more than 250 KU faculty members nationwide. According to the institution, the report was “designed to identify the traits that will help students get ahead, describes industries that offer the greatest opportunity, and provides professional advice to guide graduates’ careers.”

Outside of education training, at 84 percent and 64 percent, critical thinking and written communication (respectively) ranked highest on the list of most valuable assets for students entering the workforce. Participating professors also listed “soft skills,” such as interpersonal skills (58%).

Other valuable skills included:

  • Articulate communicator (30%)
  • Strong work ethic (29%)
  • Communication skills (83%)
  • Ability to demonstrate potential value (72%)
  • Professional experience (53%)

Almost half (48%) of faculty surveyed are optimistic that the outlook for business and IT graduates will continue to remain positive over the next 12 months. Industries professors reported having he greatest promise for career growth included:

Information Technology

  • Information security and forensics (59%)
  • Mobile computing (47%)
  • Information systems management (41%)


  • Accounting (54%)
  • Finance (40%)
  • Marketing/internet marketing (38%)

“Beyond gaining a strong educational background, the interpersonal and communications skills students develop will make them effective at applying that knowledge in the workplace,” Dr. Thomas Boyd, dean of KU’s School of Business, said. “The Kaplan University faculty members we surveyed have acquired their knowledge through professional experience outside of academia. Students can benefit from those insights and take advantage of the many opportunities in our curriculum to hone these soft skills.”

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