Students and instructor

Universal Skills for
Career Advancement

Leeds’ Career Impact Initiative affirms that the
future of work needs more than just business skills.

We are now in the midst of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which emerging technologies are exponentially transforming our lives and the ways we work and do business. Many of today’s students will work in jobs that are not yet invented and that call for uniquely human skills such as creative problem-solving, collaboration and emotional intelligence—in addition to technical knowledge—in order to succeed.

Central to these skills is adaptability. Workers must be prepared for an economic recession, a global pandemic, or other technological disruptions that may end their jobs at any moment, particularly since our careers and lives are longer than ever before.

Using insights from 12 months of research and key conversations with stakeholders and business influencers around the country, Leeds launched its distinctive, competency-based Career Impact Initiative. Its focus: Equip graduates with universal, transferable skills that lead to career advancement.

Career Impact is built around a custom set of competencies, each with a subset of human skills, or “soft skills.” Students develop these competencies with the help of members of the Leeds community and apply them in experiential learning opportunities (i.e., CoLab, global experiences, case competitions, internships and community service projects), from day one to graduation.

Career Impact empowers students to reflect upon and translate their learning experiences into persuasive personal stories to share with prospective employers—showing their career readiness and potential for impact and growth.


“Now that I’ve spent time working on projects at Deloitte, I can see firsthand the importance of my Leeds-taught problem-solving and critical thinking skills: analyzing data, summarizing the findings, and communicating that to stakeholders. This has given my managers confidence in me to communicate directly with senior clients.”

–Allison Williams (Mgmt’19)
Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte Consulting

Putting It All Together

Career Impact action learning cycle


Students start learning
competencies early on in
their college careers. They
acquire the language of career
success (how to “talk the
talk”), preparing them to “walk
the walk” in actual business
settings (e.g., internships).


Students learn to
articulate their strengths
and limitations, adapt
and grow. Each time the
students work through this
process, they are better
able to demonstrate the
experience they’ve gained.

Dean's Key Initiatives Graphic


Students practice these
competencies in experiential
learning opportunities that
gradually progress over time,
from global experiences
to internships.



Students reflect on their
learning experiences, identify
the specific competencies
they used, and assess their
performance using feedback
from program supervisors,
Leeds partners or
career mentors.

Career Impact Skills Gained

Communication Skills

  • Clear & Persuasive Speaking
  • Active Listening
  • Clear & Persuasive Writing
  • Thorough & Thoughtful Reading

Social Intelligence

  • Conflict Management
  • Collaborative Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Intercultural Competence

Emotional Intelligence

  • Emotional Self-Awareness
  • Stress Management
  • Awareness of Others’ Emotions
  • Empathy



Thinking Skills

  • Problem-Solving
  • Critical Thinking

Personal Attributes

  • Drive
  • Curiosity
  • Adaptability
  • Creates Value
Published: Oct. 14, 2020