Growth Mindset: Why Students and Universities Should Adopt One

Growth Mindset: Why Students and Universities Should Adopt One

At UBIS, real-world experience and an international perspective are part of our DNA. Our collaborative, outward-looking approach to learning is what drives the way we do things. This growth mindset is an attitude that we hope to instill in our students too, to serve them from their first class through to their graduation day.

In a world with an increasingly individualistic focus, we believe in fostering strong relationships across institutions, businesses, countries, and continents. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Professor Paul A. O’Keefe shared a study that showed how students who approached new topics and subjects with openness were more likely to produce better collaborative, interdisciplinary work. So how can institutions like UBIS encourage this open-minded approach to learning and how will it ultimately benefit our students?

What is a growth mindset?

To have a growth mindset is to believe that one has the potential to improve through good strategies and help from other people. In the words of Professor Carol Dweck from the Growth Mindset Institute, this way of thinking is what ‘allows people to thrive in challenging times. Although the term originally referred to an individual’s way of thinking, it is increasingly used to describe the culture within businesses and institutions more generally.

So what does a growth mindset culture look like within a university, for example? It might include the adoption of new, useful technologies to overcome challenges. It could also include actively seeking opportunities to work with external partners with shared interests. A university with a growth mindset might emphasise the importance of student feedback and the opportunities for improvement from this. It could include having a global perspective and a commitment to international collaboration. Each of these things helps to create a culture of continuous learning and development. This is a culture that we aim to embody at UBIS.

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Creating a collaborative environment

University campuses, whether virtual or in-person, are prime sites for collaboration and innovation. As a student, your individual studies will be enriched by the experiences of those around you. Making the most of opportunities to work with others is key to maintaining your growth mindset. At UBIS, our faculty are business leaders in their own right and our student population is a diverse one. Our students learn from teaching staff with first-hand knowledge of the business world while working alongside peers from varied backgrounds. Throughout the academic session, there are numerous opportunities to connect with and learn from one another, whether through our highly interactive Learning Management Systems and online campus, or in-person opportunities such as the Student Council.

According to a recent report from Emerge Education and FutureLearn, one of the best ways to promote learning and development in the workplace is to recognise opportunities for consultation with team members at all levels of seniority. These findings can also be applied within a university context. ‘For specific questions and situations colleagues will often be the best teacher and source of insights and motivation, being much closer to the problem than expensive external parties’ the report found. ‘There is an impact and business case for unlocking internal skills, advice, learning content, and knowledge creation from the ground up, especially in larger companies.’ At UBIS, our one-to-one approach and small class sizes ensure that students are able to share their voices. Most importantly, they are listened to by their tutors and professors. Effective communication is key to great collaboration after all.

Opportunities to dive deeper

While at university, students should be able to increase the scope of their field(s) of interest. Institutions with a growth mindset culture will create opportunities for them to do so. At UBIS we do this through the course progression we offer and the emphasis on gaining real-world experience.

As Master’s graduates, UBIS alumni can deepen their knowledge and understanding of a subject area through a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA). The DBA enables students to develop intellectual relationships and focus on solving real-life problems. It’s a space for students to learn from experts, in order to become experts themselves.

We ensure our students are equipped to meet the demands of the ever-evolving business world. Our degree programs don’t just comprise classroom-based learning. We want students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the workplace while they learn, so real-world experiences are a key part of our degree programs. Students can learn more about the sector they want to work in and experience key aspects of working life; working as a team, meeting professional deadlines, and networking in the business world.

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A growth mindset for long-term success

According to Professor O’Keefe, cultivating a growth mindset as a student has implications for life after graduation too. ‘In economies disrupted by the pandemic, graduates with a growth mindset of interest may find it easier to transition to a new job or industry. A marketing graduate who develops an interest in data science, for example, could pursue a research role in a data science firm. They could also integrate their marketing knowledge into their new job in creative ways.’ This open way of thinking will help graduates whose career paths may not be taking the expected route: setbacks and difficulties are likely to be seen as part of the developmental process rather than a reason to quit.

Equally, hiring graduates with such an interdisciplinary approach will appeal to companies themselves. Innovation and critical thinking are sought-after skills of the future; graduates with these ‘power skills as well as technical know-how will be in high demand across a variety of sectors.

This attitude of openness, collaboration, and curiosity is what sets graduates with a growth mindset apart from their peers. Crucially, it ensures universities focus on the future of education and the workplace. At UBIS, we are committed to inspiring and advancing self-determination through education. We want our students to thrive, both while they are with us and long into life after graduation. By creating such an outward-looking, globally focused culture, we are better placed to help our students achieve and exceed their potential.

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