For the consultation of stakeholders, for several years, the Coordinator has periodically organized various meetings with business counterparts to better define the skills required by the labor market in a continuous relationship with the world of work. This is done both to communicate the objectives of the educational offer and to establish productive collaboration in identifying the knowledge and competencies necessary for the stakeholders.
Furthermore, it has become a well-established practice for the study program to organize periodic meetings with former students who have entered the workforce in recent academic years. In recent years, various dedicated events have been organized during which faculty and current students of the program meet with former students who provide valuable feedback regarding the demand for training for managerial engineers. In recent years, this initiative has been particularly associated with the 'Gestionale week,' a series of events that includes contact with stakeholders from the world of work through the testimonies of former students of the program and presentations by companies about the competencies required for specific roles in the corporate sector for managerial engineers.
Through these analyses and interactions, the study program has had extensive and effective consultations with the world of work, providing valuable guidance, especially in the last three years, to better tailor the content of the courses and the competencies provided to the students.
Starting in 2016, the University of Palermo has made available a new questionnaire for consulting the world of production, services, and professions to better focus the training's demands and functions in a work context and the competencies students are being prepared for. The department responsible for the study programs compiles a database containing contact information related to companies, organizations, professional associations, and category organizations in the areas of interest to the study programs affiliated with it.
Among the stakeholders, there are companies operating at both regional and national levels, as well as multinational corporations in various sectors relevant to the study program. Consultation is conducted through a questionnaire, often in collaboration with the relevant department. This questionnaire allows stakeholders to assess the educational path, the training objectives of the study program, and the skills/competencies it provides. It also offers ample space for suggestions and requests for specific skills, providing insight into future trends in terms of required competencies and roles.
The invitation to complete the questionnaire is sent to stakeholders annually, corresponding to the last session of each academic year's graduation exams.
Every year, as part of the quality management system of the study program, the academic quality committee analyzes and comments on the results of the Annual Monitoring Sheet, particularly conducting an analysis of training results (in terms of job placement) using databases such as Stella, Almalaurea, and Istat. Each year, this analysis has revealed a high demand for Master's in Management Engineers, with the number of graduates still insufficient to meet the needs of private and public companies across various economic sectors.
In the academic year 2020-2021, some critical stakeholders representing local, national, and international businesses and institutions were consulted. Based on the positive results obtained so far, especially in terms of employment outcomes, it is believed that the Master's in Management Engineering adequately meets the professional competencies required by the job market. Stakeholders have confirmed their interest in the program and emphasized the value of Management Engineering, with unanimous positive feedback regarding educational needs. The Coordinator involved two particularly strategic stakeholders in the consultation process: Lipari Consulting, an Italian operational consulting company that has hired the most Master's in Management Engineering graduates from the University of Palermo in recent years, and the multinational strategic consulting leader McKinsey, which has shown particular interest in Master's in Management Engineering graduates. Both stakeholders highly appreciated the program, especially the mix of hard and soft skills that it offers. Some suggestions for the future emerged:
- The importance of soft skills, particularly those related to internationalization and a global market perspective.
- The interest in technical skills related to digital transformation and technological change in all business processes.
- The importance of basic knowledge in data analytics, big data, and data mining.
- The significance of customer management and customer journey design, as well as an emphasis on design thinking.
- Basic knowledge of cyber security.
- The ability to construct and associate an economic model with each business phenomenon to estimate the economic impact of a business initiative.
For the academic year 2022-2023, the Department of Engineering at the University of Palermo organized a meeting with representatives of companies considered strategic stakeholders for several study programs, including Management Engineering. The meeting aimed to align the skills and competencies of graduates with the actual needs of the labor market. The discussion included the analysis of study plans to identify which specific competencies need strengthening and which should be deprioritized in the near future. In total, 50 companies were invited, and a number of them participated in the meeting, representing various industries, including consulting, manufacturing, telecommunications, energy, and finance.