Impactful synergy: The American University in Cairo School of Business career readiness assessment powered by PwC

The AUC School of Business has a well-established culture of continuous improvement. The cornerstone of this culture is assessment. The periodically reviewed assessment plan of the school captures the extent to which the school attains school-level and program-level learning goals. This exercise ensures a consistently high level of quality among students in terms of skills and knowledge relevant to their professional success and development. One of the main school-level learning goals is Career Readiness, which captures the extent to which students’ education and training prepare them for a professional career.

 

 

The assessment of Career Readiness was historically conducted in-house through the Office of Student Services and Development (OSSD) as a pilot project for 35 students who sat for a mock interview then they carried out multiple internationally recognized assessments to measure their cognitive ability, grit, resilience, critical thinking, and numerical reasoning. Finally, a scale was developed to indicate students’ level of competency and specific areas of development. With the start of the new assessment plan 2019-2022, the School aimed at adopting a more scalable and sustainable model based on specialized technical expertise in the areas of human resources and talent acquisition.

Given the historically strong collaborative relationship between the School of Business and PwC Middle East, its status as a prominent international professional services provider, and its well-established recruitment process the ‘Career Readiness Assessment powered by PwC’ initiative was launched in fall 2019 as a pilot. The school has recently started recruitment for the second cohort with the goal of increasing the number of participating undergraduate students for 2020-2021. The assessment utilizes the non-technical portion of PwC Middle East’s actual recruitment process and therefore is suitable for students of all majors.

There are two parts to this assessment. First, two online SHL aptitude tests (Numerical reasoning and Inductive reasoning). Second, a live interactive assessment where groups of six students collectively solve a generic business case while being observed by PwC specialized recruiting professionals. A new addition for this cohort is a mock video interview which will include a set of questions that students will have to answer in a short video and send back to PwC Middle East for evaluation.

Initial testimonials

‘Our students are the core of this partnership with PwC. We are providing them with a great opportunity to reflect on their areas of strengths those requiring development while experiencing realistic recruitment process. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that their skills and knowledge competitively match the rapidly changing market needs,’ reflects Ahmed M. Abdel-Meguid, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration, AUC School of Business.

‘PwC supports this initiative because young talent is the future of our firm. We are fully invested in attracting the best, diverse talent in our region,’ comments Mona Abou Hana, PwC Middle East chief people officer and consulting partner.

Naela Afifi, accounting and finance graduating senior, reflects on the experience: ‘The Career Readiness Assessment Powered by PwC gave me a very realistic recruitment experience and we were also given the results of all tests so we can work on our identified weaknesses. My advice to all Business School students interested in this career path is to go through this experience as it really adds to your knowledge when it comes to recruitment.’

Maged Ezzeldeen, Egypt country senior partner and deals leader, PwC Middle East conveys: ‘Career Readiness of graduates is important for PwC because we’re a people business and we’re only as good as the people we have. We are committed to developing young graduates to their full potential through different programs. Being one of the largest employers of graduates in the Middle East Region, supporting individuals to grow and make an impact for people, quality, and value means everything.’

Nabil Diab, Egypt partner and chief operating officer, PwC Middle East highlights: ‘Career readiness of graduates is very important for us in PwC, building peoples capabilities is a cornerstone to make sure that they are ready for business. Our purpose in PwC is to build trust in society and solve an important problem, therefore career readiness is always a challenge, students have to know where they stand to get ready for the future.’

Dina Mohsen, academic assessment and accreditation manager, AUC School of Business concludes that ‘The pilot assessment attained very satisfactory results and I encourage all students presented with this opportunity to be part of it.’