Since everyone is talking about career readiness these days, this Wall Street Journal interview with a recruiting director for Amazon.com seems like it may have some K-12 pertinence (in a trickle-down kind of way). At one point, she talks about what Amazon looks for in candidates with MBAs:
The core qualities that cut across each of those positions are a really strong sense of ownership, customer obsession, a strong bias for action and teamwork. Built in there is the ability to influence others, to invent and deliver on behalf of the customer.
We'll ask them to tell us about times that they've owned projects from start to finish. We'll talk about tying results to customer demands. We tend to look for real, practical work experience.
Obviously, there’s a big difference between the skills and experiences MBAs need and the work that, say, middle or high school students should be doing in class. (You have to learn how to walk before you can dance, etc.) But I was struck by the recruiter’s emphasis on teamwork, project ownership and completion, persuasiveness, problem-solving, and real-world experience—all things we’ve been hearing a lot about lately in discussions around curriculum and instructional changes.
What’s your take? Are schools today giving students the right foundations for this kind of work? How can they?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.