October 15, 2010


You know how at times, you read and read and read to try and figure out the link between certain elements of various theories but can't see it. Then suddenly, you find an article that clears it all up an puts it in perspective. Well, that happened to me today.

For awhile I was struggling to see how the idea of selection bias fit into Demings idea of profound knowledge then in one article, it all became clear. Don't you just love it when you get the "EUREKA!" moment.

And now for something completely different. We had our first seminar today, and one of the topic we talked about was the podcast of an interview with Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL technologies. In this interview, he talked about the failure of university degree courses around the world to provide graduates with real skillsapplicable in the work place. This results in graduates who are essentially unemployable, so any firm that does take them on has to provide extensive retraining in order for the graduate to have any of the skills and abilities required by the position. This was a topic that really struck a cord with me. From first hand experience, I completely agree with his view of the education provided in degree courses. My undergraduate degree was in European Economics with French. A fascinating course in many respects that involved a broad range of theoretical and legislative studies about economics and trade, as well as lots of statistical analysis techinques. How these studies could be employed in a working environment however, i have no idea. While the course provided an understanding of economics on a macro and micro level, both domestically and internationally, how this knowledge is put into application in a business sense was not covered. The results of this ws that the only chance I had of emplyability was a graduate scheme, in which I would be heavily retrained in order to be able to perform the functions needed. This was the case with nearly every other person who graduated alongside me, and naturally, in the recession we graduated right into the middle of our "unemployability" was not very useful. I had thought this train of thought was just my own, but to hear it coming from somebody in such a prestigous position somehow eases my mind and affirms that starting my MSc was infact the right choice.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mesut, it’s always great to read your blogs… shows your command of the language. We are like standing on the opposite poles where you agree and understand it ALL and I do not agree with everything. At undergrad level they give you information about a lot of things to broaden your scope, it is totally up to the individual as to how to apply the knowledge. You have done certain credit hours and studied vast topics and with the RIGHT attitude any employer will take you…with the proper training there is no stopping you. My opinion may differ because i talk from my experience from a different part of the world maybe. cheers :)

    17 Oct 2010, 16:27

  2. I would like to sincerely thank you for your comment Nazish. The fact that even just a few people have read and enjoyed my blogs to date fills me with pride.

    I have a feeling that your experiences following your undergraduate degree were vastly different from that of my own and my contemporaries. From my experiences, any job that wasn’t actually a graduate proramme demanded previous work place experience, which essentially boiled down to a catch 22 situation where without a job, you couldn’t get a job, no matter the topics covered in undergraduate degrees. As for the graduate recruitement schemes, attitude didn’t really count for much in recent years. For every scheme you applied to, no matter the industry, you were faced with endless psychometric profiling tests before your CV was even looked at. In these you were specifically asked to disregard all previous knowledge, in essense making all studies to date pointless. Even if your knowledge of a topic meant you know what the reaslistic outcome would be, it didn’t matter. This knowledge had to be ignored which resulted in picking an answer that you knew to be wrong. In the many cases where I was invited for interview, the only demonstration of ability that was asked of me was to show my leadership skills in people and project management, with recent examples given. The irony is that to get an interview following the psychometric tests, undergraduate degree grades are used but then all their questions seem to be about experience gained from mostly non cirricular pursuits. I have many friends who are older than myself an in employment. They have openly professed the methods by which the firms they work for go through applicants for jobs and how the recent abundance of graduates means that they can frequently disregard applications simply by the undergraduate degree result without even reading the rest of the CV. I can’t assume this is the experience of everyone, but as I mentioned, this experience was common among most of those that graduated along side me.

    I would be really interested to hear how the experienced differed for you. Did you find that employers took more note of what you studied and was the whole process more personal when it came to finding work?

    18 Oct 2010, 10:15

  3. Mesut, umm my major was in Finance, I did my intern-ship while i was working on my thesis and by the time my intern-ship ended I joined a multinational. Grades, extra curricular activities, my contribution to the society, my thesis, my intern-ships EVERYTHING mattered! I consider myself lucky as not everyone with me at undergrad got a job! One is expected to have a well rounded personality and whatever I had learned during my undergrad was in a way applied where i was working….’interest rates, where to invest, how to advise people’...blah blah. What they taught us during our study was to read, have an educated opinion about different topics, criticize, be open to new ideas and adapt to change. The interview process, hiring, policies i understand differ here. I speak from my experience and I understand the difficulties you have talked about. :)

    18 Oct 2010, 22:15

  4. It seems your experience was very different to mine! For me, my 4 years experience helping to run student volunteering while at university was the only thing that seemed to arouse interest with job applications. Not once was I asked about my course, language skills, studies abroad, hobbies, or even the topic of my dissertation! Even the style of your undergraduate degree seems to have been quite different. It seems like yours was much more research and analytics based which would have definitely been alot more use than our degree. We had much more theory intensive studies as opposed to application of knowledge and skills. The times we did go into critiques of various topics, the critique was usually restricted to that of the theories themselves, and their reliability as a theory as opposed to their real world applicability.

    I find it really interesting how peoples experiences, in what is essentially the same pursuits, can be so different depending on where you are. At the moment we may all be in the same boat here at Warwick, but the paths that led us all here are vastly different. I wonder… Is there anybody else out there reading my little blog that would be willing share with us their experiences of undergraduate studies, post graduation work, and anything else that eventually led them to the University of Warwick and WMG?

    18 Oct 2010, 22:59

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