Open Access

The competency profile of online BMA graduates viewed from a job market perspective

  • Àngels Fitó Bertran1Email author,
  • María Jesús Martínez Argüelles1 and
  • Soledad Moya Gutiérrez2
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201411:11020012

DOI: 10.7238/rusc.v11i2.2053

Received: 15 November 2013

Accepted: 15 February 2014

Published: 15 May 2014

Abstract

One of the cornerstones of the European Higher Education Area is its emphasis on a higher education that prepares graduates for a profession. Within this context, competencies play a key role in the design of degree courses because they constitute dynamic elements that enable higher education institutions to address the changing needs of society. In this setting, generic competencies become particularly relevant for the job market.

Additionally, in recent years we have seen a significant increase in the number of online higher education options. Although there has been a lot of research into the effectiveness of e-learning, very few studies have actually looked into the employability potential of online graduates.

This study analyses the impact that the online training methodology has on the employability potential of Business Management and Administration (BMA) graduates, and it does so from a two-fold perspective — that of online students and graduates themselves, and that of employers — by appraising the level of acquisition of generic competencies that are essential to the profile of the online BMA graduate. The findings show that online graduates have a positive appraisal of their education, which contrasts with their negative perception of how this training is appraised by the job market. On the other hand, business employers consider that, even though the competency level of online graduates may be lower in some of these competencies (teamwork, leadership) when compared to face-to-face students, it is similar in most of them and even higher in others (using ICT, searching for and managing information and time management, among others). These findings point to a shift in the way employers perceive online graduates and their ability to compete with face-to-face students.