Critical Thinking About Critical Thinking

We hear every day about the importance of critical thinking skills for today’s college graduates. According to an excellent Wall Street Journal article, mentions of critical thinking in job postings have actually doubled since 2009. But what does that mean for you, our students, who are looking to demonstrate your critical thinking and problem solving abilities to employers? How do you know if you are a critical thinker if we can’t even be clear about the definition? The WSJ references the myriad of definitions, including one from Foundation for Critical Thinking stating, “Thinking about your thinking, while you’re thinking, in order to improve your thinking.” Wow, that’s a lot of thinking.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Readiness Competencies define Critical Thinking/Problem Solving as the “ability to exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.” That’s a tall order!

The good news is that you are developing your critical thinking skills every day at Bentley, whether in the classroom, group work, case competitions, experiential learning or student activities. But, if you’d like to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I encourage you to learn about and practice Case Interviews. In this increasingly popular interview type, you will be given a question, situation, problem or challenge and asked for recommendations or solutions. While there typically is not one “right” answer, the interviewer is looking to assess your approach…and…you guessed it – your critical thinking skills. Want to learn more? Come to our Case Interviewing Workshop ready to think about thinking to improve your thinking!

By Susan Sandler Brennan
Susan Sandler Brennan Associate Vice President, University Career Services Susan Sandler Brennan