Using Service-Learning to Enhance Employability Skills in Graduate Business Capstones: A Dissertation Overview

Molly J. Wickam


This dissertation overview summarizes a study that examined the alignment between employability skills employers need and employability skills graduate business students gain through service-learning in business capstones. This nonexperimental, mixed-methods, comparative study assessed whether the inclusion of service-learning in capstone courses influences students’ development of employability skills. The top three employability skills enhanced by service-learning were decision-making, presentation skills, and teamwork; only presentation skills showed a significant difference for students whose capstone included service-learning versus those whose did not. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) found a four-factor solution, and one factor, collaborative learning, was significant for service-learning. Qualitative data from semi-structured interviews revealed that decision-making, teamwork, and presentation skills were enhanced by service-learning. Findings show alignment between collaborative learning skills needed by employers and those enhanced through service-learning, and that the instructor’s role in structuring projects is key to learning.


service-learning; mixed methods; MBA; business education; capstones; employability skills

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