The University of Pittsburgh’s Business School helps their students stand out from the competition by ensuring that they have developed proficiency in core competencies and skills outside the classroom. This is done through a college-wide strategic initiative called Pitt Business Outside the Classroom Curriculum (PB OCC) powered by Suitable. With Suitable, not only are students more engaged, but so are the employers, who can use the app to interact with students most engaged in the PB OCC.
Pitt Business is among the top nationally ranked Business Colleges and serves approximately 2,500 students. To increase student engagement and better set their students up for success upon graduation, they created the Pitt Business Outside the Classroom Curriculum (PB OCC) and partnered with Suitable.
Career Development Specialists at Pitt Business were noticing that their business students all looked so similar on paper when meeting with recruiters and applying to internships and jobs. They wanted their students to be engaged at a higher level and be given the opportunity to stand out beyond their resume and GPA. The Pitt Business Outside the Classroom Curriculum (PB OCC) was created to provide students with soft skills necessary for them to succeed in the corporate world.
The Assistant Director of Career Services at Pitt Business worked with the school’s corporate partners to understand what competencies they looked for when recruiting Pitt Business students. Pitt Business considered the results to define a set of 10 core competencies that recruiters found most desirable. They also made sure to look at the AACSB accreditation SLOs to make sure there was alignment with the college’s learning goals. This helps students articulate the value of their PB OCC participation in a way that employers better understand (competencies).
The Pitt Business OCC was created for the sole purpose of benefiting students to be more prepared personally and professionally. With Suitable, Pitt Business has been able to engage more students than ever before. Plus, students finally have a record of their development that they can use to stand out and tell their story. To finish the PB OCC, students must complete certain experiences across all 10 core competencies. As they progress, Suitable provides students with personalized experience recommendations that automatically prioritizes activities in competencies that need more work. With Suitable’s gamified approach, engagement is assessed through five levels of proficiency so students can recognize the difference between high impact and low impact activities. The levels also help scaffold student competency development over time. The Suitable app gives students a number of ways to record their involvement but the two most common are event check-in and self-reporting.
Everything that a student accomplishes on Suitable is logged and translated to competencies on their verified Experiential Learning Record that Suitable provides. As employers caught wind of the PB OCC, they wanted in. So Pitt Business let certain employers create branded employer badges. These employer badges let companies communicate to students the specific experiences that they seek in potential candidates for their positions. There was a positive response from employers because they could now quickly see which Pitt Business students were taking action on their advice and being proactive about working for them. Essentially, employers could tell right from the Suitable app which students they should target for which internships and jobs.
After launching the PB OCC on Suitable, Pitt Business noticed an immediate increase in their career and personal development and campus engagement among students. As participation grew, Pitt Business had unprecedented data about which students are landing jobs upon graduation and could correlate PB OCC engagement with improvements in starting salaries. With Suitable's real-time data Pitt Business can see that 75% of students were engaged last year and they averaged 10 activities per student per year with 24,000 verified experiences captured.
In the future, Pitt Business plans to use Suitable’s technology to predict critical outcomes such as freshman retention, graduation rate, career outcomes, and academic performance rather than just reporting on them.