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Education

Just before you go for that Masters degree

Oluseun Akinrinoye

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I was having a discussion with some colleagues a while ago and we talked about how people go for masters immediately after Bachelors degree only to have passed the Graduate Trainee age by the time they are done. Most people believe having a Masters degree with their Bachelors degree should increase their chances of getting a job.

While I don’t want to outrightly discourage anyone from going for masters immediately after bachelors degree, some questions are key.

-What is the purpose of the masters degree? Is it because it’s a family tradition that everyone must go for a second degree immediately after graduation or that is what your parents want?

-Will it increase your market value or improve your career aspirations?

-As a graduate, will you be eligible for graduate entry jobs after your masters degree especially in countries where age is used to shortlist candidates for jobs?

The answers to the above will help you to make a productive and well informed decision.

Consider this:

1. Any masters degree that will not increase your market worth or improve your career growth upon completion is not worth it.

2. Don’t just go for any Masters, go for a highly ranked program so you can easily get a good job afterwards. I have seen foreign Masters holders earn NGN 50,000 after spending so much simply because the Masters is not well ranked in the market.

3. If age is not on your side, I suggest you work for a few years to gain experience before going for masters except you plan to go into an academics career. if you intend to be a lecturer or researcher, it is better you go for your masters degree immediately after your bachelors degree.

4. Be careful of your choice of course or program, make sure it is value adding  and marketable.

5. Share your plans with a mentor who can guide you.

6. Do not rush into applying to any school. if you are travelling abroad for it, consider the career services of the school, consider if you will have a work visa or residency permit before you proceed.

7. Speak to those that have passed through the program or school to hear about their experience and the positives about the course and the school.

 

All the best.

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Education

Notes to Undergraduates: Why you must develop yourself

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Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash
This article is directed to all undergraduates currently studying in any of the Nigerian universities, with an exception to some private universities. You may want to ask me why I made an exception to those private university students?
In recent times I have been an ardent follower of career trends on LinkedIn, and I see how those private universities are making giant strides and quantum leaps in diversifying from the theoretical template lifestyle to challenging the major cause of unemployment among fresh graduates. They are  organizing programs to educate their soon-to-be graduates of the prospects and what to face and expect in the labour market.
Those universities are going out of their way in bringing top notch human resources managers and experienced professionals in enlightening and educating their students on the need to up the ante. And I have facts to back up my statement.
As a student currently in my junior year, I have been on the other side of the pack always complaining of my lecturers not teaching me what I need to scale through the hurdles of job interviews. I have wailed enough, apologies to Femi Adesina, but the fact is nothing has changed, and in actual fact nothing will change.
As a Computer Science undergraduate, it’s not an understatement to say, the only things I have been learning in school all this while are pure mathematics, theoretical coding and irrelevant courses just to make up the total number of units I need in order to graduate. I have experienced in my brief sojourn of searching for placement worthwhile and invaluable lessons, and it has broadened my perspective of what is required of me as a graduate. The industries are not even looking for those to train, they are looking for those who will impact their world, they are looking for “fully baked” graduates. Those that can take decisions with their own initiative.
My recent Experience
 You might ask,  how do you know this? Let me make a brief digression to share an experience I had with an HR of a leading integrated payment solution provider in Nigeria. I had an opportunity to get connected to a Software Developer in the company, I told him about my search for a place where I can undergo my internship, and he said I should send in my CV, which I quickly sent to his mail. Three days later, I got a reply from him – the software developer – that the HR said: “I can’t be taken due to my lack of “technical experience” [technical experience in terms of projects that I have done.]”. Then, it dawned on me that, this is now tougher than I thought, the goal post has really shifted in terms of employability factors.
This is  just an undergraduate applying for the role of an intern, imagine a graduate applying for a full time job. Just think of the yardstick that will be used to assess me. And so it holds for other courses, not only the computer sciences field, it holds for other fields also. What recruiters are looking for in freshgraduates are far from what we are being taught in school. What we are taught in school is nothing more than how to read and pass a particular course [ Don’t just have a carry over!] and you and the course will never meet again. The university has failed in its responsibility of producing employablegraduates. Nowadays, you see graduates that can’t write a well composed cover letter, and you wonder whether they truly passed through the system. They passed through the system but the system didn’t teach them and even they didn’t take it upon themselves to develop themselves.
Suggested Solutions
After much complaining and problem identification, how can this menace be tackled?
The only solution I see to this  issue is for all undergraduates to start investing in themselves. If we keep complaining about the lecturers, they are fulfilled in their careers already. Your many complaints can’t drag them down from a Ph.D holder to a B.sc holder. As an undergraduate in the Faculty of Management and Administration science, by now, you should be able to craft a winning business plan.Things like that are not taught in the universities. The onus lies on you to take the bull by the horn and improve yourself.  Learn at your own pace.
As a Law student, try attending moot and mock sessions if you come across one. Also during holidays, try attending court sessions, you will have the opportunity of seeing how civil proceedings go. All these self development techniques will give you a top notch competitive edge your Law lecturers will never teach you. There is no excuse for not improving yourself. Thanks to the era of digital age which has brought the emergence of MOOC ( Massive Online Open Course). Examples of MOOCs platforms  are Udemy, Codeacademy, edX, Coursera freecodecamp, W3schools.com, Udacity, khanAcademy.org, newthinkthank.com etc. These online open source platforms will teach you all you need to know to develop yourself. If due to paucity of fund you can’t afford huge data to stream videos online, you can download PDFs online to help you out. There are many helpful resources on the World Wide Web to help our lives.
Consider Internship and Attend Seminars
I would also like to also recommend internship as another form of self development technique. Get internship during the course of your undergraduate study. Try to get internship in line with your course. It’s very important because it gives you a competitive edge over your peers. It makes you have work experience before you graduate from school.  Also attend workshop sessions on leadership and career development.
Finally, there are no more excuses, the blame is enough to go around, but the buck finally stops on your table. For you to be gainfully employed in this present struggling economy of ours, you need to distinguish yourself by taking giant strides in investing in yourself.
PS: This is not to say coming out with a first class is not good but a first class graduate without a first class thinking is a first class failure. Excellence in the classroom is essential but without necessary self development it will lead to unemployability.
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Education

3 ways to Finance your MBA from a top ranked Business School

Oluseun Akinrinoye

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Photo by Muhammad Rizwan on Unsplash

I recently wrote an article on why people should consider going for an MBA from a top business school, See here . Many people have reached out to say they would really love to attend a top tier business school but they cannot afford it.

The truth is going to business school is usually a big investment, and the return on investment is usually huge.

I have not seen anyone that got an admission to a top school in recent times without getting finance to attend such school. You need to focus on the admission while considering the options available.

I have identified 3 ways that you can use to finance your MBA.

1. Scholarships

Most business schools usually provide some sort of funding for their admitted students. Some scholarships may be in form of full tuition plus stipend, part tuition, teaching assistantships etc. Some schools give a merit based scholarship in which case all admitted students are considered for scholarships while some provide need based scholarship depending on your financial status and need.

For most merit based scholarships, your test scores (GMAT/GRE), essay, undergraduate grade point and other application materials are part of the things considered in giving scholarships. I know a number of people in business schools around the world that got 100% and part scholarships so it is very possible.

A very high GMAT/GRE score coupled with other strong application materials may give you a edge in securing  scholarship from a top business school.

2. Student Loan

A significant number of students going to business school now use student loan to finance their MBA degree. There are organisations that give international students loan without a co-signer while some require a co-signer. For example Prodigy Finance  provides student loans to international students across the globe without requesting for any co-signer. The major requirement for the loan is an admission letter from a participating school and the interest rate is mostly one digit depending on the ranking of the school. Loan repayment for Prodigy loans usually start 6 months after completion of MBA final exams and tenor can be between 7-10 years.

There are other student loan providers that different schools work with. MAke sure you research about the options available from the school you are considering and go for it.

3. Personal Savings/Family Support

This is the last preferred for me because it is difficult to finance a top school MBA solely from savings. There are instances where the financing institution will expect that you have savings for your cost of living while they pick up the tuition on your behalf. Some may request that you pay a certain percentage of the tuition yourself so be prepared for this as well.

In conclusion, financing an MBA is not your greatest challenge to fulfilling your business school dreams, scoring a high test score and securing an admission poses greater challenge and you need to give the preparation and admission process your best.

All the best and see you at the top.

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Careers

After NYSC, What Next? 

Oluseun Akinrinoye

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I must say congratulations to the  all those that recently rounded up their NYSC or those that are rounding up. I can imagine what you have gone through within the one year of serving Nigeria. I know it is a mixed experiences for a lot of poeple.

The question a lot of you are asking is, what is next after NYSC?

I recently made a post about how the decisions you make post NYSC may affect your career either negatively or positively and why that decision may be one of the most important you will make in nyour life. You can read the post here https://www.247insight.com/2018/07/25/your-post-nysc-decision-may-make-or-mar-your-career/

Some of you have reached out with different options asking for guidance. I will be glad to give as much as my time can accommodate.

However, I believe the following may help you as you venture out:

1. Update your Cv and proof-read for typos and errors.

2. Reflect your NYSC experience as a full work experience especially if you were gainfully engaged during this period. Highlight the things you did very well, your achievements and your positive contribution to your place of primary assignment.

3. If your PPA offers to retain you, take it, even if it doesn’t align with your plans while you be on the look out for a better offer. Don’t reject the offer to go and sit down at home.

4. Reach out to senior friends about your need for job and ask if they can assist to submit your CV in your company..

5. If you need certifications , go for it rather than wasting time.

6. You need to have work skills such as computer skills (Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Word), communication skills, leadership skills and problem solving skills. If there is any you need to learn or brush up, please do.

7. Be strategic in your job search and believe there are jobs everywhere. Your mindset is everything.

All the best.

Please share to your social network or anyone just rounding up their youth service.

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