Human Capital Skills Important But Lagging

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<p><strong>Nashville, Tenn. &mdash; Nov. 16</strong><br />Having skills in the field of human capital management has the potential to put newly minted M.B.A. graduates at a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, according to a survey conducted at the first-ever National M.B.A. Human Capital Case Competition held Oct. 19-20.<br /><br />Human capital &mdash; including such skills as hiring and firing, managing performance and forecasting talent needs &mdash; is rapidly emerging as a field of study that only a handful of M.B.A. programs have truly embraced, yet is increasingly on the radar of corporate recruiters. Hosted by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, 46 student participants representing 10 of the nation&rsquo;s leading business schools were asked about importance of human capital education and the significance of these issues in today&rsquo;s business world. The survey found:<br /><br />&bull;    More than 80 percent of students polled considered human capital education extremely to very important in the overall M.B.A. curriculum;<br /><br />&bull;    All of the students agreed that managers today aren&rsquo;t particularly well equipped with the skills necessary to deal with human capital and HR issues on the job;<br /><br />&bull;    Thirty-nine percent of students felt the demand for human capital strategy knowledge in today&rsquo;s business world was very high; and<br /><br />&bull;    Seventy-two percent considered human capital and HR strategy skills to be valuable to prospective employers.<br /><br />&ldquo;Companies are faced with unprecedented workforce challenges that have made human capital management an essential skill among emerging leaders,&rdquo; said Ray Friedman, Brownlee O. Currey Professor of Management at Owen. &ldquo;This survey reinforces that M.B.A. students entering the workforce are tuned into the value and demand for such knowledge, and rapidly attaining the skills needed to succeed.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Owen School is taking a leading role in the study of human capital to energize and empower the next generation of business leaders. As a result, the school developed the National Human Capital Case Competition, which pitted students groups from top graduate schools across the country against each other to address real-world human capital issues and present solutions relevant to today&rsquo;s global economy. Competing teams were judged by a panel of industry executives from General Electric and Deloitte Consulting, both of which were major sponsors of the contest. Four finalists were selected, and Cornell University took home top honors. </p>

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