Back in college, I had a very big crush on this feisty, petite and wide-eyed girl with a brilliant mind. Everyone looked up to her. She was constantly on top of the dean’s list and could have probably graduated from college half asleep.
Even then, she already knew what she wanted. She was driven to one day become a lawyer. After all was said and done, she was one of the topnotchers during the year she took the bar exam. Predictably, she had the world in her hands and job offers came her way left and right.
When I look back at it, I believe that her brain power, focus, discipline and determination to succeed perfectly matched the school environment we had back then.
Anyway, my point is that even if college students only have half her brain, they still have control over the other factors of their school life. And if they happen to be enrolled in a school that cares for their future, then there is a strong chance that they can establish a good career path.
Here is a little activity I want you to do one of these days. Walk through Ayala Avenue in Makati City at 8:30 in the morning and tell me what you see.
Along Ayala Avenue in the morning, I see people rushing to work. Some run. Some walk really fast. But the thing is I could hardly see a smile on any of their faces.
I wonder how many of them are really happy with the work they do. I wonder if some of them are stuck in jobs that do not allow them to showcase their strengths. I wonder if they are just there because they need the paycheck to survive.
Over at Baliuag University (BU) in Bulacan, they are looking to address such issues by developing new programs and expanding its linkages to further equip its students to be responsive to the needs of the industry.
The first autonomous university in Region 3 believes that working with businesses is a two-way street where the end result will lead to students finding careers and not just jobs.
Recently, it entered into an exclusive arrangement with human resource recruitment, staffing, placement and training company Crius Business Solutions for a training program for graduating students and to find them employment in the country or abroad after they leave school.
Crius, a subsidiary of Avalerion Capital Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, just recently set up office in the country. It wants to ride on the country’s newfound economic strength. The company sees the Philippines as having a healthy age pyramid, a growing middle class and a strong labor force.
Crius is confident that it can find jobs for a majority of BU graduates within a two-month period after the “bridging activities” they will do to enhance student skills and knowledge through exposure to industry-specific language, industry situational practices and soft skills development.
Arguably, BU is already one of the best educational institutions in the Philippines. Their graduates have consistently found employment in the country and abroad. Undoubtedly, this partnership with Crius gives them an added edge over other colleges and universities.
But it also got me thinking. Is it not possible, even in today’s fast-changing business landscape, for fresh graduates to find employment on their own?
To come up with some sort of answer, I asked some of the younger staff at several foreign chambers here in the country.
My thinking is that, if an individual finds work in one of the business chambers, that person is highly analytical, can function effectively with limited supervision, a team player, and a constant learner—qualities which I believe all employers want from their staff.
According to Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ANZCham) Events and Marketing Manager Nikki Domingo, she rested for four months after graduating from the University of the Philippines Manila before looking for a job.
A graduate of organizational communication, Nikki said she had three job offers from the online applications she sent to several companies. However, she declined all of them and instead chose to work with ANZCham with whom she was initially referred to by a friend.
After five years with the chamber, Nikki is happy with the work she is doing with ANZCham because of the exposure it provides her with corporate bigwigs all the way to various suppliers.
Nikki advises fresh graduates who are looking for jobs to pick an employer based on the amount of learning they can get. She said that, in work, an individual has to take every experience as a learning opportunity.
Spanish Chamber of Commerce Philippines (La Camara) Administration Officer Mylyn Garcia said she found full-time employment with the chamber after completing her internship there.
Graduating with honors last year from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde with a degree in consular and diplomatic affairs, Mylyn said she did not look for other employment opportunities when the La Camara came to her with a job offer.
Mylyn thinks that she is currently under-utilized by the La Camara as she has not been able to apply yet all that she has learned from college. But she also has bigger goals. It starts with her taking her master’s degree in political science late this year and then landing a job with the United Nations over the next 10 years.
Mylyn advises fresh graduates to find something which they are very passionate about. She also wants them to ask themselves if they are after a paycheck or a career.
Just like Mylyn, Shevanni Lim was also an intern at the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) before getting a job offer from the chamber.
Shevanni also has a degree in consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and, just like Nikki, also opted to have a vacation after graduation.
Although Shevanni admitted that her current work as an administration assistant is not exactly a match with the course she took in college, she is very much thankful to the experience being given to her by the ECCP.
Shevanni also said that because of her work with the ECCP, a lot of opportunities are now present with regards to her career because of her exposure to companies that have dealings with the chamber.
Then, there is Cecil Cabiao who worked with the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) for two years.
She landed a job with the chamber partly because of her thesis work, which involved an interview with its president. That thesis was named as the best thesis during her graduation from the University of the Philippines Manila back in 2011.
Cecil, who has a degree in development studies, said that although she had active applications with other companies, she accepted the job offer from KCCP, which was already on the table even before she graduated. She reasoned that what the chamber does is very much connected to her research work.
Cecil was the research associate with the KCCP and assisted its president in presentations given during foreign chamber engagements and in academe. Her time with the chamber gave her more perspective on Korean businesses and investments as a whole.
Cecil, who now works at the Institutional Shareholder Services as compensation data analyst, advices new graduates to be open to opportunities as the first job they will have will surely be a learning experience.
Source: Business Mirror, 17 Aug 2014