What will education do for my career?

We can’t overstate the importance of education in business.  But in a developing country and continent such as ours, where the imperative is to accelerate learning to swell our skills pool, education in a vacuum is a luxury we cannot afford.

More and more we hear from our corporate clients complaints about the gap that exists between academic theory and practice. And, in our day-to-day business of search, we at MD Selection encounter this gap, in almost all sectors of our economy.

We find that many graduates leave universities with no practical insights, and a lack of actual understanding of the exigencies of business or of the working environment.

Corporates are grappling with the issue of relevance and usefulness of tertiary education. Views range from those in favour, to indifference, to vehement criticism, with one Head of HR in a successful large listed corporate going as far as to say that often a tertiary qualification is “overrated and useless and a complete waste of time.” His are extreme views, but there is a kernel of truth in what he says.

The situation is far worse when one considers the graduates of some of the erstwhile Black universities and technikons. These relics of the past, which fell under the old Bantu Education system, where inferior schooling and tertiary education thrived, bloat our unemployment figures and the workplace is still bearing the brunt of this today.

It is heartbreaking to see just how many “graduates” of these institutions there are and how they struggle to find jobs. The irony is that many even struggle with speaking English yet they hold degrees from universities having been taught in that language!

Now more than ever, universities should recognise their responsibility of embedding the practical human capital needs of our economy into their curricula.

We advise all prospective university students to choose their degrees wisely, with their desired careers in mind. Business is looking for talented, RELEVANTLY QUALIFIED and skilled people.

Attempting to bolster your career with additional degrees and diplomas without thought and consideration for relevance is not necessarily the route to go. The result could render you a serial academic, living in the world of theory, with no value-add offering to your employer.