This paper deals with the consequences for high skills development of the fractured border between higher education and business. Through qualitative research with postgraduate students and lecturers in the U.K. and Australia, we present a working paper on the effects of marketization and consumerism on academic content and students’ career preparedness, a relatively under-researched area. Whilst universities traditionally have encouraged students to freely engage in critical inquiry and questioning, increasingly they are tending towards more instrumentalist educational goals, influenced by market values and the notion of students as customers. The tension lies in that much of the western world now operates in a high skills (or knowledge-based) economy where the intellectual capital of core employees is a major source of innovation, value and competitive advantage. In such an economy, university graduates as ‘knowledge workers’ require high levels of creativity and entrepreneurialism, qualities that require critical thinking and inter alia imagination. Our tentative findings suggest that marketization is impoverishing the development of students’ critical consciences and their ability to challenge the conventional. Our findings offer a critical contribution to the debate on the relevance of postgraduate courses for professional career development
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