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The Extended Classroom: Responding to the Changing Job Market


The Extended Classroom: Responding to the Changing Job Market


Career Trends

The workplace of today looks dramatically different than it did a decade, or even a few years ago. Technological and societal changes, including the incorporation of data and analytics into virtually all job functions, and the growth of social media, have had a signficant impact.

Just three years ago, employers and corporate recruiters responding to a Bentley survey gave college graduates a “C” for preparedness in their first job. Today, a new survey reveals 78 percent of employers feel that recent graduates are, in fact, prepared to succeed after college.

The new research tapped 1,000+ employers, educators, current students and recent graduates to examine how the labor market has changed, how higher education has responded, and what is required for the next generation of graduates to thrive.

The results are resoundingly positive. While students and those just entering the workforce are worried they don’t have enough skills and experience, nine out of ten employers feel that students do have the necessary skills to succeed.

The Extended Classroom

So what has changed? In the past five to ten years, there has been a shift in and out of the classroom. Most traditional college courses were based on a lecture format, but emerging technologies and job market trends have led to broad curricular changes and a move to what Bentley calls “the extended classroom.”

“Today’s graduates have opportunities and education that rival previous generations.” #PreparedU


The new norm is for courses to have an increased focus on technology and include fieldwork and group projects where students collaborate and present information to their peers and corporate partners, skills which employers deem invaluable. In fact, 73 percent of educators report they have moved toward a curriculum that includes a combination of classroom learning and relevant fieldwork, and 67 percent of educators place a greater emphasis on technology.

“Many educators have seen the changes happening in the workplace and made the necessary adjustments to their course content and teaching methods,” said Bentley University President Gloria Cordes Larson. “More colleges and universities are extending learning beyond the classroom by stressing the importance of internships, partnering with outside organizations to bring real business challenges on to campus, and utilizing programs like service learning and study abroad to teach students leadership and independence.” 

While employers are confident students have the skills needed to succeed, they also have high expectations that they will hit the ground running once hired.

“Today’s recent graduates have opportunities and education that rival previous generations,” said David Lucey, vice president of Talent Acquisition for global marketing leader Epsilon. “It is no longer solely what you learn in the classroom that carries you through your career, but the notion of an extended classroom that includes real-world experience that best prepares you to succeed. At Epsilon, our entry level employees have not only the technical skills we need, but are also able to work together as a team. They received the education and experience they need to analyze data, think creatively and in turn, drive our economy.”

The Survey

The Bentley University analysis was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research using an online survey methodology. 1,003 interviews were conducted among: employers (N=300), educators (N=200), and students/recent graduates (N=503). Weights were applied to ensure the sample accurately reflected the demographic profile of the populations surveyed.

Executive Summary 

Click the photo below for more information and key findings.

The PreparedU Project


Learn more about the PreparedU Project research, findings and recommendations: 

About the PreparedU Project
The Millennial Preparedness Survey
Solutions: 7 Ways to Better Prepare Millennials for the Workplace
Millennial Women in the Workplace
The Second Survey: Millennials at Work
2016: Year of the Hybrid Job
The Extended Classroom: Responding to the Changing Job Market


Hands-On Learning
by Kristen Walsh February 25, 2019

Valerie Boucher '20 used the business skills she learned at Bentley to land an internship at a Hollywood movie production company. 


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