Barney Workshops Expand Student Skills

November 30, 2022
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
Fall Fridays classroom

They know their way around financial statements and spreadsheets, and operating plans and supply chain challenges. Barney School of Business students certainly excel at the “hard skills” required by so many roles today.

But what about basics that employees often don’t consider until Day One at a new job? How to adapt to a company’s culture, ways to give feedback to coworkers, and more.

Barney students are learning those “soft skills” now, too, in a new program that spanned several weeks this fall and featured workshops by area business leaders and corporate partners. The “Fall Fridays” program welcomed first-years and any Barney undergraduates who wanted to become even better prepared for the working world. 

“There’s such a focus today on job-specific abilities and technical expertise, that soft skills can sometimes get lost in the process. Add the pandemic on top of that, and you have a group of soon-to-be employees who need a special focus in that area,” Barney Dean Stephen Mulready says. “UHart wants students to graduate as well-rounded individuals who can negotiate and manage their time and work easily with their new colleagues, so we created the Fall Fridays program.”

On a recent Friday, students were meeting with Greg Toczydlowski from Travelers about emotional intelligence. Such a skill aids people in relating to others, fitting into a company culture, bringing teams together, and helping others achieve goals, he said. Another group met with Kim Goodwin of Goodwin Solutions on active listening, and broke into teams to practice giving feedback on a team member’s contributions to a hypothetical project.

Along the way, attendance was strong, and Barney Leadership Committee students registered participants, assisted with workshop activities, and spoke on joined student panels.

There are plans to expand the program for Barney seniors in the spring as they prepare to embark on their new careers. Topics may include case studies focusing on problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, and team-building, as well as searching for a job, in an effort to support students in landing the first role of their careers before graduation day.