When the safety net comes undone
Published: 20 Nov 2013
For the past couple of months we’ve been studying in some length the specificity of sport. As a postgraduate degree we don’t really go into specifics concerning careers in sports, but rather study the theory on which the business of sport is structured. That isn’t to say the topic of careers is completely overlooked as we have frequent guest speakers working in the industry lecturing on specific topics as a means of demonstrating what the ‘real world’ can be all about.
The sole structure of lectures seems to revert back to my initial post, in which I questioned the nature of undergraduate students automatically pursuing postgraduate degrees after graduation. After all, if the degree revolved around more mature professionals, one could argue a lesser need for a ‘show and tell’ structure.
Arguably, the downside of hosting guest lecturers is that, particularly as professionals and not necessarily scholars, their own opinions become embedded in the lecture, opinions which don’t necessarily take into the account - or perhaps simply choose to ignore - larger industry issues which are not of their immediate concern. The counter-argument, on the other hand, is that one needs only pay attention during regular lectures and read the supporting materials to easily pick out fact from opinion and contextualise current industry issues with historical facts.
The reason I quite like this structuring of the module is that it implies a degree of pro-activity on the students’ behalf to read the supporting class material, but more importantly, it engages students on an intellectual level - to put it simply, even the laziest of students is required to reason with what would otherwise simply be fed to them. This, in turn, comes back to last week’s post and my take on education and its purpose of venturing uncharted waters, which finally leads to the topic in hand about career orientation in MBAs.
As far as I’m aware, standard University Careers Services apply - which have never been particularly helpful to me - although this would admittedly require an additional level of research into. To my knowledge, a number of my classmates have been seeking internship opportunities. As the majority of them are full-time students and will complete their degree within 1 year, I find this well advised and would encourage them to pursue work placements and internship opportunities. This, however, poses another important question.
After completing a postgraduate degree, with less of a ‘safety net’ to fall back into and nowhere else to run to - unless they wish to pursue a PhD and a research-focused career - students are ultimately faced with the challenge of employment. In this sense, would it not be in everyone’s interest to have a dedicated, subject-specific Careers Service for postgraduate students?
The students themselves are the primordially interested party, but is it not also to the institution’s benefit if a larger percentage of their alumni transition successfully into employment? After all, everything is measured on success rate, even higher education institutions, and just because education is more centred on an individual’s intellectual development doesn’t mean it cannot take a more hands on approach to careers.
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