Why Personal Development Planning?

PDP - the essense of a student's development..
by Wittenborg News - Tuesday, 1 November 2011, 11:52 PM

PDP – orPersonal Development Planning” – a core thread to Wittenborg’s business studies programmes, and its intensive student tutoring programme.

Daniel O'Connell, Lecturer, WUAS, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

WUAS Lecturer Daniel O’Connell talks about the long-term benefits of the PDP programme, and its added value to Wittenborg’s students.

Why Personal Development Planning?

“What has Personal Development Planning (PDP) got to do with my studies in IBA?” is a question that the author of this article has heard often enough. It is a fair and necessary question to ask, and one that has a particular answer for each recipient who poses the question. Herein lies the unique, yet subtle, value of PDP, and this value is encapsulated in the word “personal”.

Our world today is undergoing a great transformation that is not so unlike the great Industrial Revolution of the 20th century which precipitated great social change. As then, so now with this “ Information Age” do we have great social change, with consequences that is still being absorbed by society. So, what has this got to do with PDP?

With this wider, faster access to information, students in higher education are exposed to many opportunities in regards to planning their future. Universities around the world are releasing highly talented people into society, but - and one must ask in today’s present climate – to what kind of society?


It is now common knowledge that the world population is rising consistently, with each year adding more and more highly educated individuals into a job market that is presently suffering from well-publicized economic turmoil. It is not uncommon to now have many applicants, with all the necessary qualifications, making hopeful applications for vacancies. It is an employers market, with a glut of talent to choose from. So, what is that spark that will set one apart from the others?

Those with a strong and well-developed plan of themselves and the life they want, will, in the opinion of this writer, stand apart from those who do not. Having the right qualification will meet one criteria, but you will be one of many. However, knowing the competencies that are strong in oneself , together with an awareness of those that are somewhat lacking, leads to precise and intelligently-measured action. Additionally, the application of reflection upon the studies that one undergoes contributes to a personal empowerment that is automatically noticed by those whose responsibility is job-candidate selection. What are being described are core PDP values.

The answer to the question mentioned at the beginning of this article is: “Everything!” It is everything because it places the individual student face to face with themselves, and the opportunities to change, upgrade, adapt to a rapidly changing world, and, how they can begin to successfully apply their newly-acquired knowledge in a focused, and highly creative manner.

This is the spark that draws an employer’s attention.