Sunday, July 11, 2010

The new graduate job blues.....


We have this science graduate who got his biology degree this year with a magna cum laude to show and now is quite in the dumps. After having won accolades from the university like best thesis research and of course the McL plaudit, he applied to work for a top notch hospital as part of the research team dealing with patient satisfaction. Given the good scholastic record he has, he got accepted.

But one month into the job he quit. The reason is that he was placed under job training first (where he got a pay he did not expect to get) and the change of orientation from the grade oriented life as an undergraduate to the output and team building orientation of life in the corporate private sector was quite of a shocker. He complained to me about "poor labour practices". And this leads me to think that our undergraduate training philosophies are horribly out of sync with what is to be expected in the world at large. Note that I refuse to use the cliche "real world" since academe is a kind of real world too however strange that may be. LOL!

Of course developing core competencies in discipline related content are important in undergraduate training and but this should be at the beginners level. Part of the training here is developing a realistic view of students' lives once they graduate. Schools try to do this by having on-the-job training in industry but from my experience HR people in industry still consider these students as students and not apprentices.

At one Manila company involved in niche tourism, students were treated as apprentices more than OJT students and were considered employed. But then they had a professional supervise these students. The CEO of that company told me that this strategy is less expensive than in training new hires.

But many students are not aware of labour practices. Schools should orient students on these realities so that they would know what to expect under the law (which protects their rights). This is to be taken under career advising. But in schools, career advice is dished out by people who are not really in close supervision of the student. They base their advice on grades and other personal information that the student presents. But the person who can advise a student in his career is the major prof. But there are many students and profs have other things to do.

But the reality is that you get to know if you have been educated is when you are in the world at Show alllarge. And the learning curve out there is steep.

As for our McL biology grad, we know that he should proceed to grad school! But we let him figure that thing for himself.

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