Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How there's no longer a 'secret formula'...

The world is becoming more and more exciting. There have been a surprising number of uprisings; maybe people are realising that no individual can rule them against their wishes. Yes, on the global scale there is an awakening of sorts. But what I want to talk to you is about is this:

There was a time, when being an engineer or a doctor was all that mattered. Please note that I am writing this drawing on my childhood experiences in India and hence that is the context it should be taken in. Getting into an IIT and then proceeding on to the IIMs was a path that seemed lucrative to every young man and woman out there for it guaranteed a generous salary after graduation and consequently a happy life. But of late, I see that is not the case. Every young person you know seems to possess the same qualifications, perhaps from better universities than the one you attended. They seem to have work experience in areas you've never heard of. Volunteering, which was a niche thing before, has become a must-have on every university student's CV (although there are some who volunteer because they feel for a cause, not just to embellish their resume). So, in today's job market, employers look for candidates who not only demonstrate excellent academic ability but also those who are competent in diverse areas not related to their degree.

Earlier, people had to reinvent themselves in their job roles either to get promoted or to prevent layoffs. Now you need to reinvent yourself to get hired. And that's what is exciting! Reinventing allows you to create and control the direction of your growth. You may decide to hone your business skills by joining organisations like AIESEC or you may decide that you want a safer neighbourhood and start your own Neighbourhood Watch. The opportunities are endless, with each one challenging you more than the other and giving you the opportunity to develop in ways a college education would never allow you to.

A part of me, as a university student, worries what the future holds for me. I no longer have the secret formula: BEng+MBA to hold on to. But then, another part of me as enthusiastic as ever. The secret formula no longer working means that millions of students like me will take the time to pursue their interests and passions. If not for anything else, at least to put on that precious CV!