Most conversations around the dining table, especially in homes with high school students, revolve around college admissions and career prospects. Families want to give their children the best education possible and often this means sending their children to universities abroad. But studying abroad has never been more expensive. In the US, fees vary between INR 35-85 lakh annually for an undergraduate degree and INR 30-45 lakh a year in the UK.
So, how can students translate such a costly education into their dream career? Will they get a job abroad or come back to their home country? Is an international education worth it?
To answer these questions, Ratan Manglani, a recruiter at Amazon, gives some invaluable advice:
1) Don’t be limited by your degree:
Companies indeed recruit people with specific majors. However, they are also looking at your ability to go beyond your degree and curriculum. The job of a software engineer, for example, entails coding, problem-solving, data structures and algorithms, among other things. But while recruiting for this role, I have hired people with a mechanical engineering degree who had learned these skills independently. That to me is more powerful as it showed me that these candidates were inclined to grow. Ask your university about online courses that are not a part of your curriculum and enrol in them. Or, check out platforms like Udemy and Coursera to upskill and strengthen your resume. Upskilling for Shared Prosperity–an insight report prepared by World Economic Forum in 2021–states that by 2030, upskilling could lead to the creation of 5.3 million new jobs and some of them could very well be yours.
2) Networking is key:
Whether it’s an alumni reunion, happy hours at a pub or a hackathon–take advantage of every networking opportunity that comes your way. Be in touch with seniors who have made it to your desired role. Not only will you get to learn from them, but they are more likely to give you a referral when needed. Create a LinkedIn profile to connect with leaders and people in your fields of interest. In fact, there are six people hired every minute on LinkedIn. After all, hiring someone and landing a job is all about human interactions.
3) Make the most of internships:
Try to do as many internships as possible, even if they are unpaid. Besides adding value to your profile, internships help you to transform your knowledge into skills–a key component in the hiring process. In fact, New York University recently reported that 95 percent of their graduates found jobs within the first six months of graduation with a mean salary of more than $70,000. Some international universities also offer students internship opportunities long before they graduate, making it an essential part of the curriculum.
In the UK, this is known as a ‘sandwich’ course and only a few offer them:
|University of Warwick||Accounting and Finance|
|University of Bath||Management|
|Newcastle University||Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry|
|Loughborough University||Sports Science|
|Durham University||English Literature|
|University of Manchester||Chemical Engineering|
4) Master three competencies:
Competencies allow recruiters to differentiate between superior and average performance. The first is knowledge. It focuses on areas of expertise, such as finance, consumer law or nursing. The second is skill. It sheds light on abilities such as computer proficiency, accounting, laboratory skill and other techniques needed to execute a job. The third competency is behaviour, which includes characteristics such as initiative, resourcefulness, or professionalism that you must display at the workplace.
5) Learn to collaborate:
Most recruiters hire candidates that exhibit a team spirit. So, grab every opportunity to showcase how you can perform in a team. Do this by exploring the campus, joining clubs and participating in competitions like hackathons.
Ultimately, don’t look at college purely in terms of numbers. Look at it as a way to build your profile for your dream job. If you happen to return to India, don’t be worried that it’s a place for mediocre talent. To know more about career prospects and undergraduate opportunities, sign up for The Red Pen’s General Counselling session. For more information, get in touch.