As tuition prices in the US continue to rise, and the job market in New York and nationwide becomes more competitive, the challenge is for recent graduates to gain real-world experience without taking on unpaid internships and more debt.
In today’s work climate, graduating students face a catch-22; they need job experience in order to be hired, but they need to be hired in order to get job experience. Many students turn to internships as a way around this conundrum. But internships can be a costly undertaking. Many of them are unpaid, and the ones that are paid are usually low salary positions. To top it all off, there is no guarantee of a job at the end. A 2014 article in Forbes magazine provides some depressing statistics about the state of internships in the United States:
- Upwards of 1.5 million internships are filled in the United States each year, half of which are unpaid (Ross Perlin, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy).
- Only 63 percent of graduating students who held a paid internship received a job offer by graduation (NACE, 2013).
- A paltry 37 percent of students who took on an unpaid internship received a job offer, only slightly higher than those who had no internship at all (NACE, 2013).
Unpaid internships are of particular concern in the United States. Most graduating students leave university with thousands of dollars of debt, so the prospect of having to take on a full-time unpaid position is not feasible. Moreover, many unpaid internships are in breach of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In light of all these concerns, the U.S. federal government has been cracking down on unpaid internships. Very soon, these types of internships may be a thing of the past.
So if internships aren’t a realistic or fair option for many graduating students, what is an alternative way for students to gain real-world experience? The answer is business simulations.
Business Simulations Deliver Real-World Skills
Skills increasingly trump tenure in the workforce. Therefore, ensuring your students are armed with the latest knowledge and competencies is critical for staying competitive. Today’s students need to understand complex problems, experience working in teams of people with diverse opinions and learn how to come to a decision in the face of many competing options. In the past, many students have taken on internships to develop these skills. However, business simulations can provide this same practice in a low-risk, highly engaging environment, during the education phase itself.
Smartsims has a range of business simulation games that will challenge your students with issues from the real world. These business simulations provide an interactive learning experience that requires participants to apply what they have learned in a robust, virtual business-like environment. Participants build relevant skills, improve conceptual knowledge and gain a better appreciation of business strategy and of the systems of business management.
Business Simulations Deliver Active Learning
Simulations perform the very important role of bridging theory and real-life experience through active learning, considered to be a crucial technique to engage students by Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence. They provide participants with the opportunity to make relevant decisions in a competitive marketplace so that they can see the immediate effect on business performance. And perhaps most importantly, they can save students time and money by providing the same benefits as an internship without the costs.
Other Benefits of Business Simulations
Simulations create more engaged learners: The high level of interaction makes learning fun, increases retention, solidifies learning and builds skills. Studies have shown that business simulations stimulate enjoyable learning (Fripp, 1997).
Simulations improve knowledge retention: By immediately applying new concepts, participants learn by doing. This approach produces significantly greater learning gains in both declarative and procedural knowledge than classroom learning alone (Sitzmann et al., 2006).
Simulations provide risk-free learning: More than just a business strategy game, a simulation recreates real world experience or tasks so that learners can practice without fear of major repercussions. It bridges practice and theory in a low-risk environment (Gosen & Washbush, 2004).
Simulations prepare learners for the real world: Users are able to practice different techniques so that they are better prepared when they encounter those or similar conditions in the workforce. This type of practical experience reduces the potential ‘shock’ of recent graduates entering their first job in their field of study (Kramer, 1974).
Read more about the benefits of business simulations or watch the video below: