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How Peer Tutoring Relates to the Top 5 Skills in Business

Generation Z students are entrepreneurial and desire practical skills with their education, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). 

Citing top Generation Z researcher Corey Seemiller, co-author of Generation Z Goes to College with Meghan M. Grace, NACAC explores Gen Z’s interest in customized, hands-on experiences as early as their first year of college. In addition, they share that 42% of Generation Z students expect to work for themselves at some point in their career, nearly quadruple the percentage of Americans who are actually self-employed.

It’s clear that Generation Z means business. As such, activities that truly prepare them for their career are always top-of-mind. Peer tutoring helps students develop the top skills employers are looking for in their future hires. 

When so much of business success comes from the ability to build relationships and work with different groups of people, relationship-driven peer tutoring that allows tutors to support key populations is the kind of vehicle that helps these students become career-ready. Here are five of the top skills needed in business, and how peer tutoring relates. 

1. Communication

Students who develop communication skills through college experiences like peer tutoring give themselves a competitive edge. Communication skills are consistently ranked as one of the most important in business. Of course, this includes both oral and written communication skills, as noted by Forbes, NACE competencies, and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

In addition, excellent communication skills can also reflect competencies in other skills critical for success in business. These include empathy, negotiation, and customer service. One’s competency in the areas of emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence, which are noted as top 10 skills for 2020 in business, are also evidenced by someone’s ability to communicate effectively.

Indeed, peer tutoring helps tutors build communication skills. Practicing body language, eye contact, turn-taking, attention, clarifying, and patience during peer tutoring sessions, for example, will help develop the ability to effectively communicate in the business world . The way peer tutoring work appeals to the use of emotional intelligence also bodes well for tutors who are planning to work in business, since it’s an aforementioned top desired business trait.

2. Adaptability 

Companies must stay competitive and resilient to do well in business. This can only happen when employees are able to adapt to shifting needs. Thus, the more experience students gain in activities that increase their comfort level when it comes to being flexible, thinking agilely, and learning new things, the more ready they will be for a successful business career. 

Forbes includes adaptability and flexibility as top skills companies seek. Furthermore, other skills on their list also connect to this key skill. For example, creativity, critical thinking, tech savviness, and complex decision-making are all related to the ability to adapt with ease. Similarly, Oberlo lists adaptability as a top business skill entrepreneurs need, but certainly the other skills they feature, such as determination, resourcefulness, and strategy, impact one’s ability to adapt. 

Tutoring provides ample opportunities for peer tutors to develop their adaptability skills. Working with different personalities and learning styles, finding new ways to help others understand concepts, and appreciating the unique needs of those looking to them for help all create chances for peer tutors to hone this skill. Their ability to problem-solve, engage in strategic planning, be flexible, and practice critical thinking skills work together to not only help them be successful peer tutors but to be build successful careers in business. 

3. Collaboration 

There’s no question that collaboration is key in business. It’s included as a top skill needed to succeed at work and is clearly desirable by employers in 2020. NACE frames collaboration in a way that includes teamwork. This encompasses the ability to build relationships with those “representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints.” It also includes the ability to negotiate and manage conflict. The Balance Careers notes being a team player is a top business soft skill. 

Experience in collaboration gives students a strong foundation for related collaboration activities, such as management, consulting, delegation and teamwork. In fact, team-building is a top business skill in which collaboration is key. 

Tutoring undoubtedly helps students increase their collaboration skills. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET), outlines experience requirements related to collaboration skills. Social perceptiveness is included as a cross-functional skill, while monitoring is listed as a basic skill requirement. Attributes of these can include empathy, consideration, assessment, and feedback. These are all part of the collaborative experience of peer tutoring. 

4. Leadership

Those who demonstrate strong leadership will go very far in business. It’s no surprise, then, that leadership regularly makes the list as a top business skill. Forbes includes it here, and in this list, along with cultural intelligence and diversity, an important competency leaders should possess. 

Of course, strong leadership skills can often lead to promotions and advancement into areas of management, which is itself another top business skill. Business.com features leadership as a top skill, and it’s clear that their other top business skills reflect leadership as well, such as delegation, time management, and general management. Lastly, management is included as a top business skill by The Balance Careers and includes abilities we often associate with leadership, like decision-making, managing projects, and delegation. 

Peer tutoring calls upon the kind of leadership skills needed in business. We explored leadership as a NACE career competency and its tie to peer tutoring here. In addition, though, peer tutoring also develops one’s ability to instruct and motivate others, notable cross-functional skills highlighted by (O*NET). Certainly strong leaders in the business world have developed strengths in the areas of instructing and motivating others in order to help their teams reach goals and fulfill a shared mission.

5. Marketing 

Marketing is critical for business. Students who engage in activities that hone their marketing skills become highly employable candidates for businesses striving to stay ahead of the game.

Of course, marketing encompasses other top business skills as well. For many, sales and marketing go hand in hand. Oberlo lists marketing and sales back to back on their list of top business skills, and it’s easy to see how their other listed skills of creativity and strategy support success in marketing as well. In addition, tech savviness is mentioned by Forbes here and here as a key critical skill in business. Certainly, technology is part of what helps businesses excel in marketing in the 21st century. 

When peer support is powered by the right technology, peer tutors can tap into their entrepreneurial skills and gain experience in marketing by learning how to promote their tutoring business. We believe peer tutoring works to build NACE career competencies like digital technology and prepares students for the gig economy. All of these activities point towards building strong marketing skills that create success in business. 

Curious how Knack can provide peer tutoring employment opportunities to help your students shine in future job interviews? Learn more at joinknack.com/partner

Written by Priya Thomas

Priya Thomas helps campuses enrich peer learning experiences and improve student outcomes as a Campus Success Lead for Knack. She has 15 years of experience in higher education and student affairs, including work with wellness, mental health, student leadership and involvement, and fraternity and sorority life. She enjoys discovering local restaurants, travel, and learning new things. Connect with her on Twitter.