Your course completion is just around the corner or you have completed the programme and you’re at the cusp of life… what next? This is the million-pound question that most students are faced with. I’m very surprised when students are in their final term and when asked what they would be doing two months away, some say that they have no idea. My mother, who was a school Principal always said when you’re doing your ‘O’ Levels, you should know what you want to study in University, when you’re doing ‘A’ Levels, you should know what career you’re going to choose. Looking back, I admit that it’s a little difficult to decide that early, but one needs to have certain options in front of them.
I usually say that there are generally four options in front of graduates. I have listed them below:
Higher Studies: Students can move onto a different level of study – Bachelors to Masters or Masters to Doctorate, usually in the same discipline, or they can look for a specialist or professional programme of study based on interest – for instance, doing a Master’s degree in marketing or a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) programme after a general business degree. This helps you get ahead of others who are less qualified, makes you more marketable on your CV and can prepare you for the world of academia.
Working: This is always a good choice provided you enjoy what you do. You can be earning a reasonable salary, paying your debts off and supporting a good lifestyle. It also adds invaluable experience and provides you with practical skills required at the workplace. But remember that the corporate world is dynamic and people change careers more frequently than before. So don’t get yourself into a rut. Keep updating your skills.
Entrepreneurship: Starting your own business is probably the biggest challenge you could face. If it works, then you could be set for life. If it doesn’t, you risk going down in flames. Starting a business requires you to have adequate and appropriate resources, and the drive and passion to take your business forward. It’s a mindset that not everyone has. The entrepreneur needs to take risks as there is a huge degree of uncertainty and one cannot avoid that.
Take a break: If you haven’t quite figured out what you want to do, then take a break. Take a gap year and explore different possibilities. Maybe travel outside of your country, see new places. These experiences can make you see things differently and open up new avenues. Do something that you have never done before.
A common theme runs through the above choices. Whatever you do, do it with passion and conviction. Do not do something just because someone has told you or because it is supposed to make you rich. It should drive you from within. But always – keep your options open.