Saturday, 2 December 2017

Do Higher Education and Job Search Contradicts Each Other?

Article by : Dr. Mukta Mukherjee, Assistant Professor, CBS

I remember that when I had to go to USA to pursue my long nourished dream of doctoral studies in Economics I had to go for a visa interview to get my necessary visa interview. The lady at the US consulate beside other questions asked me what are my previous qualifications in my chosen stream are and why I want to seek further a doctoral degree. After learning that I had already invested eight years from my under-graduate days towards economics and was willing to invest further at least five to six years for the same subject she was astonished at my patience and knowledge hunt.
This is a major question in today’s education system before each student is that should they go for good jobs or go for higher education if they get a chance. Beside the fact, the higher education like doctoral degree in abroad countries is relatively also very competitive and costly (in some streams has to be borne by educational loan), there is another factor that is involved is the time cost. The time they would invest in an education system as a student is also the time they lost out in the experience that they would have gathered in the job itself. Second, the gap in the wage earning and the stipend they earn as student is beyond comparison. Finally, the patience and tenacity required to complete the higher degree requires a serious commitment.
The above are major factors for drop out from higher education streams in both India and USA. Further, the turnover from education to industry is very high in many streams. I remember just after I had successfully completed my M.Phil from Delhi School of Economics a premier institute in India in 2005, I had the option of high paid corporate jobs. My immediate advisor wanted me to seek the corporate jobs avenue. Those of our batch mates who have actively pursued the corporate sector have gained in both in earning and position. However, the educational system gives a freedom of choice to an individual although the salary is not comparable with that of the corporate sector but freedom is enjoyable as such. Beside if you enjoy teaching then the hours of labor that has to be put for the profession becomes less taxing.
A logic that I tried to formulate is that my skills would only enhance and my job market would expand in future with abroad experience. But in hindsight today I feel that the job market may shrink with a higher skills attainment if the market for such skills does not exist or if the earning from such skills is very low compared to their ideal state. Further, as skills is like a weapon which gather rust the longer it remains unused a gap of years can make it difficult to join the job stream or use it in future if there are age constraints. Degree itself is not meaningful , but the skill that is gathered to attain the degree are meaningful.
The only thing I can put forth before students of Calcutta Business Schools that whether they decide to join industry or education stream they should think before well they commit and should not deviate from their objective. If they make use of the time and give dedication to whatever field they have chosen it will be fruitful for them in future. A popular fable story is that a person was very thirsty and in order to satisfy his thirst for water he started digging a well. Then, mid- way he left and started digging water at another spot for well, which again he left and thought another spot would be better to gain water. In this way at the end of the day he found that he has dug at multiple spots for wells but did not get water from any one of them. He realized, that had he put the same effort at only one spot the entire day then no matter whatever was the depth of the underground water he would have been successful in getting the water. Therefore, it matters most that the track you choose do not leave it half- way but reach till the end. A complete bridge is better than an incomplete bridge.

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