Feel unprepared for life after 3 years at uni? Read on.

I have been reflecting how students leaving university courses must be feeling right now. Hundreds of thousands are finishing a three year degree that began in September 2019, only a few months before Coronavirus, lockdown and remote learning.  

I wouldn’t blame them for not feeling confident or fully prepared for employment.

If your children are leaving university this year (or next), or if you know students who are graduating, then I hope this helps them in some way. 

Further education should further your mind.

Universities are often fantastic environments for the furthering of minds; they are set-up a bit like villages, with lots of different people bumping into each other, sometimes at social events or inspirational talks.

Because of coronavirus, this hasn’t really happened very much at all. Students have missed out on a formative element of their further education experience.  

Over the past decade, whenever I have interviewed post-grads thinking of coming to the School of Communication Arts, one of the lines of enquiry I regularly took involved attempting to discover the fun projects that the candidate worked on whilst at university, outside of their studies. I want to know who they met and collaborated with. What did they learn from these people?

I have found it harder to pursue this line of enquiry since covid (However, If you apply to the School, you might discover the new questions that I have devised to try to discover whether you would enjoy being a part of our tribe)

Diversity only works when minority groups are seen and heard.

One consequence of the world of further education moving online during lockdown is that the voices heard most were the ones who controlled the Zoom meetings, and that people who hadn’t been supported with the tools to speak up became the ones most likely to turn their cameras off.

There is a fantastic leader in advertising called Vicki Maguire who once said that if you are an introvert she will ‘Find you a corner and if you are an extrovert she will find you a stage.’ (Read this piece in Campaign)

You just know that Vicki would be in your corner, supporting you, bringing like minded people to collaborate with you, for you to learn from.

There is a theme to this post.

Like I said at the start, this year more than ever, I wouldn’t blame graduates for feeling underprepared for employment, particularly at the very highest levels. I can see why demand for Masters might be so much higher than usual for many courses.

Three things determine the success of every professional:

  1. Character

The first of these three things is character. People buy people. This is why every good education needs to be holistic, so the course leaders should be looking to nurture their students, providing them with the tools and the confidence to be trusted to do whatever the job is that they are applying for.

Our school probably goes over the top, but that’s because we want our graduates to get promoted so that they can hire more of our graduates. It’s our long-term viral marketing strategy, and it’s working wonders.

  1. Evidence

The second of these three things is evidence. In other words, employers want to know that you can do the job you want to be paid to do. If you want to be an airline pilot or a heart surgeon, it’s obviously quite important that you pass tests. If you want to have a creative career, what’s going to matter most is your portfolio.

We are the most awarded Portfolio School in the world, which is why most of our graduates get hired at top agencies, get promoted and win awards. You can see what our graduates’ portfolios look like here, and some of their work in industry here.

  1. Network 

The third thing that determines success is the quality of your network. Universities can be a mixed bunch at the best of times when it comes to fostering networking opportunities for their students to meet potential employers. This would have become even more challenging for everyone running courses in universities since covid.

Thankfully, our school is sponsored by nearly all the top agencies and they set our students nearly 50 live briefs throughout the year in an immersive learning model that feels more like an apprenticeship than a masters. Our students will meet dozens of potential employers, with many visiting the school. Talks from industry leaders happen at least once a week, attracting more visitors from our sponsor agencies, creating more networking opportunities.

If you’ve got the lungs, sprint as fast as you can to the top.

A long time ago, in this article I spoke about how (before covid) I would ask university graduates about the fun projects that they worked on outside of their studies.  

My message to graduates leaving university this year would be to consider ways of learning from your tribe by working with them on fun projects.

If you want to do that at the SCA this September, then apply now for a quick chat and the chance of a place at a selection day soon.

Still doing your research and unsure of what to do next? Look no further. We’ve done the work for you and created the ultimate guide on the pros and the cons of SCA vs a University Masters. Download now.

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