Need to learn transferable skills

STUDENTS dream of attending prestigious universities for many reasons. However, I personally believe that focusing on what skills you can build at a university is more important than chasing after places in prestigious educational institutions. Of course, it is not totally wrong to check university rankings. Yet, how important are these global rankings for students who want to get the best jobs after graduating?

Students should pay close attention to other considerations such as locations, courses offered and the university’s industry connections, all of which are equally as important as ranking.

Even though the location has not been a big issue during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the online learning mode, the place in which we are learning is something we need to consider. It is more important than many assume. Studying in a comfortable atmosphere, for instance, can improve concentration and lead to more effective study sessions.

Likewise, the specific courses offered are also important. Studying is beneficial not just for academic advancement but also for personal development. Studying skills can help students gain confidence, competence and self-esteem. Gaining such skills can aid in reducing the tension and anxiety associated with deadlines and exams. In the long run, productivity will increase, and these skill sets could enable them to perform a wider range of tasks, improve their ability to achieve goals and increase their ability to respond to change successfully.

More importantly, industry collaborations are critical for promoting research and developing a competent workforce. With specific knowledge and practical training provided, the industry gains job-ready individuals while universities profit by having the opportunity to work on relevant technology and research.

There are several things that university students could do to secure desirable jobs at top companies after they graduate.

First, students need to concentrate on developing transferable skills. Although a job applicant’s institution choices might influence a company’s decision to hire him or her, some companies want to hire graduates with particular desired qualities. Among the skills that many companies look for are leadership qualities, the ability to develop high-value relationships, the ability to successfully collaborate with colleagues, and business acumen skills.

Such transferable skills can be learned both inside and outside of academia.

Soft skills like communication, leadership and teamwork can be learned through group projects and university societies, whereas technical business skills are often learned through internships and work placements.

Other companies might place a greater focus on their beliefs and behaviours, wanting graduates to study them and why they exist. Hence, I recommend students assess what they are doing both within and outside of their university courses, as well as where and how they developed abilities like teamwork and collaboration.

Attending a highly ranked university may assist students in gaining these vital abilities and the finest possible jobs. However, I believe companies will not offer employment opportunities based solely on a student’s choice of university.

Finally, as Robert Greene – American author of bestsellers like The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law – puts it, “The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways”. In other words, we may be able to read, but more importantly, what are our reading plans?

It is said that success is made up of 20% skills and 80% strategy. Therefore, a winner is someone who identifies his or her God-given abilities, works tirelessly to develop them into skills, and then employs those skills to achieve his or her objectives.

DR AHMAD FAIZUDDIN , School of Education and Modern Languages, College of Arts and Sciences Universiti Utara Malaysia

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