Graduate Development - Irish Management Institute

By: Imi  05/12/2011

Many organisations have experienced increasing difficulty in attracting high calibre graduates into their business. Such organisations engaged with the Irish Management Institute to devise a Graduate Development Programme to aid the selection and retention of the desired graduates.

In our experience the specific elements of a graduate development programme vary significantly from organisation to organisation. To that end the initial consulting phase is of critical importance. In this phase of discussion we will seek to develop a deep understanding of your industry dynamics, your organisational challenges, your culture and values, and the specific outcomes you wish such a programme to deliver.

The following list is just a sample of the kinds of subjects that could be incorporated into a typical graduate development programme:

  • Self-Awareness 
  • Financial Management 
  • Economics
  • Employee Relations
  • Organisation Communications
  • Team-Building
  • Diversity Management/Awareness
  • Time Management / Managing meetings
  • Assertiveness
  • Negotiations / Influencing
  • Project Management
  • Report Writing

Using focus groups to determine a balanced view of needs

In advance of the design of a graduate development programme we encourage intended graduate participants to take part in a focus group to validate the content and objectives set out by the organisation and to determine particular needs of the graduates themselves. This also facilitates a deeper understanding of the organisation’s culture, ethos and values.

Using the Action Learning Project to thread the programme together

In our view the inclusion of an action learning dimension is imperative to the success of the programme both from an individual learner and organisational outcome point of view. At the beginning of a programme the sponsor typically identifies a set of key projects tied to critical business objectives. Participants are allocated one of these projects, the resolution of which will derive business benefit and draw on the course material. Participants are required to work on the project outside of the formal programme while attending to their daily responsibilities.

The overall aim of a typical IMI graduate development programme is to equip a graduate group with a range of competencies and skills that have been identified as essential for the performance of their roles to achieve organisational and departmental objectives.

Programme methodology

IMI’s focus is on the transfer of learning and the practising of skills to improve managerial performance. This is achieved through the following methodologies.

Action Learning Project

This is a key factor of any proposed programme. Participants will work in groups and undertake a business related project that draws on the material covered in the course. The project topics will be identified by the senior management team. Each group will present its findings on an agreed date to the senior management team. A member of the management team will act as a project sponsor.

Course Participation

Our course designs are robust and always provide sufficient opportunity for participants to practice skills rather than just talk about them.

Group and Individual Learning

Our programmes use a sophisticated approach to group and individual learning which involves a blend of exercises, case studies, simulations and expert feedback. Group work affords participants the chance to share their experiences with colleagues from their organisation and through a combined effort arrive at workable solutions to daily problems.


We extensively use role-plays to recreate work-based scenarios that engage with real-life situations (Real-plays). Recorded role-plays provide participants with the opportunity to fine-tune their skills through receiving personal feedback from IMI trainers and fellow participants.

Case studies

We will work with the organisation to develop a number of business specific case studies that will facilitate better learning transfer. Using cases based on real issues and typically encountered scenarios allows learners to hone new skills that they can immediately relate to and can out into practice as soon as they return to their place of work.