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Reflection

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Introduction

This has been a very interesting course in my academic life as I learned the skills, which many graduates lack when they leave college and enter into the job market. The education has been compiled together by various experts in different industries so as to reflect a universal picture in the job market. Employers look for these skills because they are like a life jacket in an economy that is subject to changes based on several forces working against those who are not prepared and are not standing on firm ground.

The school emphasizes on academic excellence and this is the basis for all academic competitions. The grading and examination systems are biased toward academic excellence, intellectual knowledge on the subject matter. However, nobody is going to employ a graduate based on the grades one attains in school alone. Academic excellence is a wonderful achievement and students must be encouraged to strive for it.  However, they also need to know what exactly employers are looking for from students who would seek employment after school. These essential skills make one more competent during pre-employment screening. Moreover, it increases the chances of one getting a job compared to a graduate who only rides on his academic excellence.

Once learners appreciate the significance of the skills they give little regard while pursuing their academic training, they will attempt for attainment to excellence in these areas in addition to their hard work in academics. This is a good motivation for learners since getting a job of their dream is what each of them looks forward to. Students must be reminded that these are skills, which facilitate performance in a work place, and no employer will hire an individual who can bring discord in their business. They should try to visualize themselves as potential managers or owners of business empires and how they would like their employees to behave and work. Almost all of them will admit that communication, leadership, commercial spirit, teamwork, intellectual, problem solving, numeracy, general and wide knowledge of task among others are things they would look for in potential employees if they were to given the opportunity to hire.

If instructors truly value these skills, they should show this commitment by creating opportunities, in which students can have hands-on experience. Such opportunities will assist in the development of necessary skills. It should be scheduled in such a way that the four years or so in college are utilized for both theoretical and practical learning that incorporates. The opportunities can be through student-student; student-lecturer; or student-mentor interactions or relationships well planned with the objectives to be achieved known to both parties. Additionally, appropriate assessment methodologies have to be put in place to ensure that these essential skills are learnt.

During the time spent in college so far I am confident that I have a gauge against which I can continuously assess myself. I am sure my academic qualification will be taken care of through examinations given periodically according to university rules and sessions. I would also be able to learn from the people I interact with from time to time as I see the way they embrace or fail to show these essential skills in their work. What have I really learnt about myself during this period based on the skills presented in this course? I cannot say that I have attained all required skills but am not badly of. Based on this paradigm, I can confidently say I can stand a chance of being recruited in case an employer can give me an opportunity to present myself before him or her.

Commercial Awareness

This is a vital business skill for one to get the best product or service in exchange of his money. It is also important for a person to know how to make money, not only how to spend it. One must have general knowledge of the various activities in the country, upon which the economy is dependent, in order to know what position to take in order to reap more benefits out of life. What is it that people are looking for in a product or service? How do I create a product that will attract more customers? What is it that drives people away from your business?

The aim of every business is to make profit. To make profit you need people who can provide goods and services and those who need them. Everybody wants the best out of their money, including a businessman. I must be able to meet the customers’ need. I must have practical experience on what it means to be a customer or a business owner.  I have realized the day to day transactions I do in the market mean a lot in my business skills. I have learnt to use every moment I go to the market to seek for services or purchase goods as a learning opportunity where I practice acquired skills on discounts, checking out products which are on offer among other activities. Recently I realized booking early can save me several dollars when I wanted to travel. I decided to take a return ticket 5 days before travel date.

Currently I like going out for shopping with my friends. I have been able to learn a lot from my friends, based on the way they select quality items before they pay and thy can even leave items which do not please even after negotiating on price as they are not satisfied with the quality of item presented. I have realized we all have different tastes when it comes to purchasing, but one underlying factor is the quality of service or goods.  Teachers have also been instrumental in gaining insight into this area. This topic was explained very clearly so that each of us understands it. The teacher used very practical examples of the things which happen in the school and where students are involved and how they translate to impacting an individual’s life even as they become adults. I have learnt to take anything that involves exchange of goods, services or money with another person very serious, since it prepares me for success in business.

Communication

I have seized opportunities which have presented to me to address my colleagues in formal and informal settings. It felt nice as I am able to attract the attention of so many people who attentively listen to me as I relay the message for the moment and address queries raised, even some challenging my authority and motive for relating such information. I have been called upon to address my class on several occasions and whenever we are given assignments which need public presentation, I have always been delighted much on.  Through such forums I practice speaking to be understood so that whoever needs to challenge can have a chance to do that based on a clear and understood logic.

I have been delighted whenever I am asked questions since that helps me to know either my audience has an interest in the topic I am presenting or they understood the subject matter. I become more and more confident when my colleagues come to ask me to help them on expressing an idea in public. I have realized there are so many students who want to associate themselves with me or any group in which I study. I take my time to explain a point and carefully select the kind of words I use to pass the message across. Our instructors ask us to prepare assignments in both word and power point. I have done several presentations in both formats. This has improved my understanding of word processors and power point presentations. On very little occasions have the computer or lecturers detected spelling or grammar mistakes in my written work.  During class or group discussion we use charts to illustrate the different concepts we have learnt and to show any relationships between topics. However, I am not very good in drawing and if anybody relies on my diagrams they can be misled for they are never a true representation of what is in books. I am only good in writing sketches.

It is a requirement that whenever we write any assignment we use several peer-reviewed sources. I have never had a problem in retrieving appropriate information from any written source. I have also included online books and journal articles. It does not take me much time before I gather relevant information to answer questions. I have been challenged on several occasions to summarize or take limited information when there are so many relevant ideas.

Leadership

Leadership is a skill that everybody should have and it can be developed by seizing opportunities which present themselves. These include volunteering and providing a solution to a problem, or mobilizing people together to address an issue which might have risen in place of residence, school or at home. I have been a representative of my class or a part of my class. Some tasks are performed better when people are in a group, while others are done well at individual level. In all these there is need for delegation. As a class representative I was able to delegate some of my responsibilities to my colleagues and I took a supervisory and advisory role. I was able to give each of them a chance to learn and identify their leadership strengths and weaknesses for appropriate action. 

I know very well that I can plan and organize my work, as I already was a leader of groups in college time. The tasks were to make presentations on different business and economical topics. The grades mostly were Bs. Only once my team got a C. It was because 1 member of a team did contribute to this presentation, and when teacher asked what was his input in work he could not say anything, so she gave us a lower mark. I have learnt to try and make sure everybody plays a role in any group, since this skill is very important although there are some who feel they are being troubled when asked to participate. It may be hard for students to see the importance of skill while at school but they will appreciate it later as they will be proud to refer to that opportunity they were given to lead.

Motivating other people by giving them reason why they should be responsible in the the assigned task has been a very difficult thing to do. It is hard to motivate everyone, but what I learned when I was a leader, if you motive most people in the group, the others will follow and do their best to help in achieving common goal. I can see if person does not want to cooperate, but sometimes I think, is it so necessary to make this person work and help? In the end, it is his business to do the work or not, it shows his worst sides, his irresponsibility. Also there are another people who can and want to work, and can show their selves. So I usually do not bother irresponsive people. Of course it is easy to see how much did everyone input in the work, and it is not only work itself, it is also help in building a team, helping to motivate each other, etc. I think if this would be a real life, and I would be a boss of department with people who I was studying with, I would have given good bonuses to the salaries for every improvement done.

Ability to Work in a Team

It would be very difficult to succeed with my leadership responsibilities, develop my commercial skills, or communication skills if I had been alone. Team work is more about accomplishing and agreeing. Sometimes my opinions are different than of teammates, so we can start arguing about work. No doubt, sometimes it is easier to work alone rather than in groups. What I like about teamwork is that tasks are divided and there is support of the group. When the work is given, most students start to do it immediately. Usually I start late, so teammates may be angry that I am not reporting about my work, but at the end everything is good. In group work I have learnt to involve everybody step by step from the first activity and meeting.

When the task is given to a team, usually a leader is assigning responsibilities. In my opinion and I also do so, every member of a team should choose what he wants to make at this task. However, student should take something as perceived easiest for him; he should choose something that he can succeed in. If every student will do this, the overall work will get minimum grade of B.

When I work in a team, the most important for me is not to build a relationship with teammates, but doing my part in the project. Only then I can build relationships with other people in the group and help them. Regarding self-development, I do not believe that person can develop himself by studying at the university. I believe that in order to develop, people have to read more about everything to be knowledgeable and developed person, and be interested in everything what happens around. This will open person’s eyes on many things in a “new window”.

Problem Solving

There are times when I have been asked very difficult questions but in no time have I said no to them. I have realized attitude is behind any difficulties we encounter on whatever things we set our minds unto. I like to think business to be started up, considering possibilities. However, sometimes it is hard to identify real problems, and I think this is because of the lack of experience. I have leant to think of solutions first, rather than finding the reason. Of course after solving a problem, I am starting to think of how I got it, so that I prevent future mistakes. I have been capable of seeing a multitude number of windows out of a problem and after thorough comparison of all options, I pick the best based on several factors as considered appropriate for the issue at hand. When I think of solutions I develop many ideas, then I start to think which way to choose. Every way leads to own development of the situation. So it needs to be done carefully. When starting solving a problem, I check every step before taking another. Also, different factors around the problem are being checked as well, so that nothing interferes with it, otherwise everything done could be done in vain.

Conceptual Ability

Generally my intellectual abilities are very fast as I can process information very fast. Sometimes people complain that I do not listen. This is not true since I am always able to give appropriate responses to any question at hand. I have never been found wanting. I know there are times when I fail to reason due to fatigue or work stress, especially when I am under pressure it is hard for me to work since I cannot reason properly.

Subject Knowledge and Competency

There are so many areas in business which I am supposed to master. I have been only able to understand the basic skills an entrepreneur must have. I continue to interact with senior students and lecturers so that I can learn more about business. I intend to speak any of the sessions when we are out to acquire more skills and knowledge in places of work. I will seek the help of lecturers to link me to a business where I can have hands on-experience.

Foreign Language

I am only good in English. Although I do not intend to work outside my country, I am convinced that it is important to have a working knowledge of foreign languages. I have just enrolled in French classes. After I am through I shall apply for German classes. I am attending French classes with classmates. Since our first class, we decided to be together in most of times and practice speaking French.

Numeracy

While I was doing my primary research to collect data for my course work, I learned how to make the process faster, found out how to improve search of right materials. Also I discussed the topic with other students. I wanted to find out how do they work and what techniques they use to improve my understanding. I am trying to be accurate with all the used information, as the quality of sources correlates with the grades. Since my childhood I was very interested in mathematics. So I have more of a mathematical mind. While I was studying math, I was receiving highest grades. Math, as well as chess helps to develop thinking, logic, and brain activity in order to work faster. Now I do not take math as part of my studies, and, by looking at my last results, I see that my brain degrades. This can be associated with decrease in the number of subjects which need a comprehensive application of mathematics. Although we have not done extensive research activities with numerical data to be analyzed, I have undergone the training on data analysis. I have also been given to analyze and interpret summary findings. As I said before, it is easy for me to search for information; of course to use it in right way is harder. However, after reading and understating the information, I can easily handle it.

Good General Education

I’m quite good at finding weakness in my actions and character, as well as finding out how to decrease them. When it is necessary to improve something, I create a major list, of what has to be done. Then I put it on place where I can see it from day to day, very often. For example, I have put photo with University timetable on screen shot to remember to attend lessons. I know how to use feedback, but usually I am not taking any feedbacks, I only ask sometimes close people about my progress and what they think about my performance. Also after completing some tasks, teachers are giving feedbacks, so I do read them to understand what I can improve and what should be done next time to get higher grade.

I am a very critical person, but it is divided as in question for both academic and commercial perspectives. In academic perspective, I am usually not criticizing myself, I can re-read my assignments, and rewrite it. However, in terms of commercial perspective I do criticize myself a lot, as I want to start up business successfully from the first time. I had many ideas in the past, but did not bring them to reality, as I was afraid to make some mistakes. Additionally, it would be a shame for me in face of parents that are what I think. However, by writing this topic now I found connection between both commercial and academic perspectives, I understood that even if I will make mistakes, this would be only a lesson for lifetime.

I am quite good at using computers and other software, but not on the professional level. I can use many programs, but I do not know most of them perfectly. When I am just starting to use any program I usually do not search for any information about it on the Internet, usually I try to find out how to use it in practice, or sometimes ask friends. I can use PowerPoint, I can even choose nice colors, fonts, etc. However, I also know that I do not know many things in it. Anyways, if there is a need to make presentation, I can make it nice looking, with main bullet points, related pictures and information. I did study Business Informational Systems, but this subject was little bit difficult to me, I know some types of systems, and some information from the lesson, but as it was 1 year ago, I also may forgot details. So I mark myself here with low grade.

Conclusions

This has been a very practical course, which cuts across the life of a student throughout their study period. In case a learner takes this education seriously and continues to evaluate his performance both in academics and in practical skills, no objection will stand on his way to employment. I am determined to implement the skills I have learnt so far, continue to assess myself, and use them in my daily interaction with my colleagues and instructors. I will treat everybody as my potential employer and practice these skills on them to see how they respond. All learned lessons will be highly valued and will develop me and prepare for a competent and productive employment life. I will also devote my time to helping other people realize the value of these skills. In that way I am preparing myself for teamwork in future and knowledge sharing and networking, which is essential in the development of best practices in a work environment. I look forward to be a mentor for students and colleagues; the same way many people have worked hard to lay a firm and sure foundation upon which I stand today.

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  1. Working One-To-One Reflection Paper on Chapter 7
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