Top 3 Workforce Skills Learned by Maryland Alum

Dan Elias Bliss


A recent report by the World Economic Forum suggests that over the next four years 75 million current jobs may be replaced by machine. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be more opportunities. In that same report, the WEF predicted that over 130 million jobs could be created over that same period of time.

All these emerging new roles will require a workforce with an entirely new skill set. The report predicts that over 40% of required skills may change. The emerging jobs for 2022 require both tech skills and skills that are distinctly “human.”

According to the WEF, the skills workers will need are:
1. Analytical thinking and innovation
2. Active learning and learning strategies
3. Creativity, originality, and initiative
4. Technology design and programming
5. Critical thinking and analysis
6. Complex problem solving
7. Leadership and social influence
8. Emotional intelligence
9. Reasoning, problem-solving, and ideation
10. Persuasion and negotiation
11. Attention to detail
12. Resilience and flexibility

At Global Experiences, we were curious to see which of the top skills our alum learned most, so we did some research! Putting together an expansive list of our Maryland alum and their internship tasks, we discovered the top three World Economic Forum skills our alum learned while interning abroad.

Attention to detail

A creative thinker who pays attention to the smallest of details, is responsible, and honest.

It should come as no surprise that technology skills such as design and programming will continue to grow in demand, but so will “human” skills such as attention to detail. Computers and technology can do many wonderful things, but it’s the small details that are crucial for any business to grow.

While under 20% of hiring managers said recent grads lacked math skills, more than 50% said that recent grads lacked attention to detail skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Nearly 60% of the alumni we surveyed including Kerri D. had attention to detail as one of their top three skills learned.

Kerri D. - Salisbury University 

Florence intern cheering at soccer gameIn the summer of 2011, Kerri D. jetted off to Florence, Italy for her international internship. While in Florence, the Salisbury University student interned with a local web agency. As a communications and public relations student, the experience was invaluable to Kerri as she learned more about publishing, web design, and interviewing locals.

Kerri also became the first intern at her host company to write a front-page news story. Kerri came out of her internship with a deeper understanding of the world, and the tasks led her to gain a more in-depth skill for attention to detail.

In 2012, Kerri finished her degree and in less than a month after graduation, was able to find a job in marketing. Seven years after her internship, Kerri has made her way up to Sales Manager at a company in Washington, DC that turns any roof into a green space.

Creativity, originality, and initiative

An independent worker who takes charge and comes up with clever ideas and creative solutions.

While putting together their list of top skills, WEF came to an interesting conclusion: great minds don’t think alike. In fact, teams made up of identical thinkers achieved less than those made up of diverse minds who brought their own creative ideas.

WEF saw that there was no limit to what a creative thinker can achieve and that organizations were desperately searching for employees with original ideas. The WEF also found that the ability to problem solve, be creative, and collaborate are all best learned by experience.

Over the last decade the creativity, originality, and initiative skill set has slowly climbed its way up the list of skills and is now considered one of the most important. With all the exciting and new challenges that come with an international internship, there’s no wonder why over 40% of our alumni had such an essential skill in their top three.

Darcy M. - University of Maryland 

It was a winter study abroad experience that caused Darcy to first fall in love with Ireland. When she discovered she could intern in Dublin during the summer, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t afford to miss.

Before interning abroad, Darcy had worked a few different places and had other internships, but hadn’t done anything that she could visualize as a career. It was in Dublin that she found the chance to explore her desired career field.

Darcy was placed with a local radio station where she got to produce and design shows and conduct interviews. For this University of Maryland student, it was a dream come true; she was finally getting the experience she had always wanted while gaining creativity, originality, and initiative skills.

Dublin intern working at local radio station

After her internship, Darcy returned to the University of Maryland to continue her education. In the spring of 2012, Darcy graduated with a dual degree in communications and psychology, and one month later found a job.

After graduation Darcy worked in advertising agencies in and around New York City. After only a few years, Darcy worked in her way into a VP position at the first agency to focus on emotional technology.

Emotional intelligence

Being sensitive to others’ needs and posing a good-natured attitude. Preferring to work as a team and understanding others’ reactions.

Decades of research have proven that emotional intelligence is a crucial skill that sets students and young professionals apart from their peers. WEF breaks down emotional intelligence into two competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Personal competence focus on your interactions with people and how you handle your own emotions. Whereas social competence is all about understanding other peoples’ emotions in order to build stronger relationships.

Some people may be born more emotionally intelligent than others, but it's also a skill that can be improved and acquired over time. Emotional intelligence was one of the top three skills for nearly 40% of alumni including Jaclyn T.

Jaclyn T. - Towson University 

London intern at The Shard overlooking the cityDuring the summer leading into her senior year, Jaclyn T. traveled to London for her marketing internship. The Towson University student was placed with an integrated communications company in the heart of London.

Jaclyn got hands-on experience writing press releases for major clients including Huggies, Smiggle, and others. She also got to work with major UK newspapers for product placement. It was working with clients and understanding their needs that allowed Jaclyn to hone her emotional intelligence skills.

Paired with a business degree from Towson University, an international internship became the foundation of Jaclyn’s career. It was only a few short months after graduation that Jaclyn started working at NewDay USA.

A few years into her career Jaclyn ended up at USI Insurance Services and worked her way up into a management position.

Statistics prove the Global Experiences’ alumni on average get hired three months after graduation. While students without international experience end up waiting six months to a year before finding employment in their career field.

International experience not only stands out on a resume but also shows employers that candidates have the original ideas and skills they’re looking for. Through professional hands-on experience and culture immersion, an international internship teaches students and young professionals many of the top skills an emerging workforce needs.

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