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What is expected of a trainee

Initiative, teamwork and relationships are qualities expected of candidates in selection processes

personal archiveCompanies, even when related in terms of types of work, look for different competencies in candidates in their trainee programs. This is one of the conclusions of the doctoral dissertation of Fabíola Sarubbi Marangoni entitled, “Business professionals: between the competencies developed during undergraduate courses and competencies required by the working world,” defended in October 2014 at the Universidade de São Paulo School of Economics, Business Administration and Accounting (FEA-USP). “When companies look for ethical competencies in candidates, for example, they don’t worry so much about functional [related to tasks] and cognitive [related to forms of knowledge] competencies,” says the 32-year-old Marangoni. Beginning in 2015, she will give classes on organizational behavior at the University Center of FEI. “When they want personal competencies such as leadership and initiative, metacompetencies [communication, creativity, problem solving] take a backseat.”

What is surprising about the study was that some competencies identified in the literature as essential for the manager, such as critical thinking and creativity, are less valued by companies taking part in the study.  The three competencies deemed most important in the selection processes were: having initiative, being a team player, and building relationships and collaborations.  Since trainee companies in general select students from top-rated academic programs, the researcher selected those who had received the best ranking on the National Student Proficiency Exam (ENADE) and the Guia do estudante [Guide for students] published by Editora Abril, for the qualitative research. Ten course coordinators from the South and Southeast regions, with the exception of Rio de Janeiro, took part in the study.  The quantitative approach used information collected through questionnaires completed by 377 business degree candidates from these institutions and 25 companies with trainee programs.

The factors listed by the course coordinators as important were: ethics, entrepreneurialism, academic plan, curriculum, competency, career, market expectations, profile, theory and practice, internship, exchange, interdisciplinarity, professors, students and autonomy.  In general, the students completed positive self-evaluations.  Marangoni points out that the competencies demanded by the companies for trainees are not the only ones that deserve the attention of business courses because requirements change in each phase of one’s professional career and line of work.  In her study, Marangoni was advised by Prof. Hamilton Luiz Corrêa of the FEA-USP, and received collaboration from the Cia. de Talentos, a trainee program manager.