Monday, September 26, 2011

Media Monday - University education no guarantee of earnings success

This week's Media Monday focus is an article by James Bradshaw entitled University education no guarantee of earnings success.  The premise of the article is that a large percentage of Canadian university students are not performing well income-wise post graduation.  This got me thinking; What do the most successful graduates do while in university to set themselves up for success?  Here are three commonalities I have noticed:
  1. Successful graduates engage.  The students not only care about their classes but they also participate in clubs, attend guest lectures, volunteer, and either work part-time or have an internship (often both).  By the time they graduate that they have a well rounded resume and as a result also have a comprehensive education; 
  2. Successful graduates spend four years networking.  These student introduce themselves to anyone and everyone.  These are people who at the end of a class with a guest speaker will come up to introduce themselves, ask a question and thank them for taking the time to speak to the class.  BTW, these are also the students who have business cards with a link to their online resume or Linkedin account on it.  These are also the young adults who send hand written thank you notes. 
  3. Successful graduates also have life skills.  These students can manage a household budget.  They can cook and clean for themselves.  They have learned that if they have a deadline they can not go out even for just an hour.  They have developed time management skills and have learned to work both efficiently and effectively. 
I believe it is my job as a professor to provide opportunities for students to develop.  It is my job to bring  guest speakers onto campus, give assignments that develop life skills as well as academic knowledge and give support to on-campus clubs and events.   It is also my job to keep connected with industry and to work with them to get student internship and part time job opportunities.  The best graduates know that an education happens not just in the classroom but in the greater university community and take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them within that environment.

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