With university students facing increasing fees and an uncertain job market, there is plenty of reasons for students to look for alternatives post the HSC.
Too, the rise of the ‘celebrity entrepreneur’ has really built the public’s love for the ‘self made’. All I have to do is scroll through my instagram feed to see the likes of Roxy Jacenko and Jennifer Hawkins – women who are driven by instinct, have enviable business acumen and who have opened doors through experience. My god, they have the dream life – and the looks to match, making their story of #istartedfromthebottom quite the tale. But, the untold story is that higher education does play a significant role in career success – for the other 95% of the population.
I completely understand that university is not for everyone. But you need to ask yourself Why, is it because you do not like studying? Or, because you would like to go out and make money straight away? Or, are you not exactly sure where you want to end up? Because, no one likes studying, the money will come and, a degree gives you the time to find your direction.
I believe, that unless you are 100% committed to an industry that is not degree relevant, namely – trades, the service industry or, performance based arts; you need to seriously weigh up what a university degree will do for you vs. your dislike of the cost and discipline involved in study.
What will university do for you…
1. University will give varied experience in a short period of time.
You will be forced to read widely, learn about other businesses, people, and periods of time – that bring context to the rest of your life. Yes, working in a company for 5 years will give you a breadth of experience about that company and its practices; but whilst at University, you will be reading about the successes and failures of some of the biggest and most diversified companies in the world. Reading widely and problem solving on a wide scale will build context and rationale to your thinking – forever.
2. If you want to get into business, going to university and obtaining a degree that is business based is simply the best place to start.
Taking the time and discipline to gain a recognised qualification, will pay dividends. This is particularly true granted the role that data collection and analytics play in business today. Business is all about problem solving, so the ability to deconstruct complex problems and put them back together in an entirely objective manner is something that I use constantly. While I had some natural ability in these areas, it was at university that I developed these skills and learned how to apply them. Research resources are ample today, no large and recognised company will be making investment decisions without a team that has deconstructed the variables of the venture first. To be in this team, you are going to need to have a trained approach to thinking.
3. You will have greater freedom in your early years to find the direction you want to go.
Whilst finding a job is never going to easy, once you are equip with a degree, you have more flexibility to jump between jobs in your early career. The first few years in the work force are pivotal, it is perfect time to shop around for an industry avenue that you genuinely enjoy. With a degree behind you, your resume is not going to look so empty if you are only staying in jobs for 1 – 2 years, before you try another avenue. Your ability to show an employer that you are discipline enough to complete your studies, shows strong work ethic. So this way, you are not committed to sticking in your first role for 3 -4 years to prove to a future employer that you have longevity.
4. You will learn how to read and write, well.
Whilst at university you will be forced to get clever with words. You will learn a far wider vocabulary and learn how to contextualise this into your presentation skills. By the time you graduate university you will be able to speak in front of your entire tutorial with less than a few minutes notice – and you will speak well and analytically. You would have listened to hundreds of student presentations by the end of your time, and from this comes an attuned sense of what looks good, sounds good, and importantly – what makes you look like an idiot. These skills will translate into interview skills and presentation skills.