JOB SEARCH / MAY. 04, 2015
version 8, draft 8

Balancing Education and Experience: Thriving in a Competitive Business Market

While the longstanding debate surrounding the various merits of education and experience has continued throughout the generations, it has been drawn into even sharper focus during the course of the last decade. This is primarily thanks to the recent highs in graduate unemployment which, despite having being alleviated by economic expansion in the UK, continue to pose a prominent issue to British students who are looking to make their mark in the commercial sector.

Of course, the majority of sensible experts would suggest that both education and experience are crucial in the competitive and constantly changing worlds of business and commerce. While this is true, the demanding nature of higher education and regular work makes it difficult to pursue both with equal endeavour. This means that it is important to prioritise one ahead of the other within a structured learning framework that offers the best possible chance of success.

Education and Experience: The Key Factors and How They Will Impact on Your Development

With this in mind, it is important to identify key factors in the current UK business market and understand how they will impact on your program of learning. From here, you can create a tailored plan that develops both practical and academic skills in line with the prevailing economic climate.

The Economic and Political Outlook

Interestingly, the economic and political climate impacts heavily on both academic education and your ability to gain practical experience. This is even more evident in Britain at the moment, where the spectre of a general election continues to loom large on the horizon. The fact that this is likely to trigger the closest vote in living memory hardly helps the situation, even with Labour expected to gain a minimum of six London seats according to recent, regional market statistics. With both leading parties having diametrically opposed views on whether or not tuition fees should be increased, the result will have a huge impact on aspiring graduates. It will also influence the course of future economic growth, which will need to continue at its current rate if new jobs are to be created for talented business graduates.

While the Labour party is currently pledging to lower current tuition fees in their manifesto, their plans for sustaining long-term economic growth remain unsubstantiated. In contrast, the Conservative party has a proven plan for continuing the recent economic expansion that it has overseen, even if rising tuition costs are an unfortunate consequence of this. From a long-term perspective, aspiring entrepreneurs and business operatives may be better served by casting a conservative vote, before considering alternative and potentially more valuable higher education options alongside traditional degrees.

The Benefits of a Tailored Educational Program

On the subject of education, there are some interesting statistics concerning graduate employees and their career paths. More specifically, 82% of college graduates claimed that their level of education had been an asset to their careers, while 72% suggested that tailored and specified training offered greater value than a generic degree in the workplace. This seems particularly relevant, in the world of business, where there are a number of core skills that can help to distinguish ambitious candidates within a crowded and extremely competitive field.

When considering the various platforms for higher education, it is important to appraise both the merits of the institution and the finer details of each potential course. The best solution may be to apply for a place at a hybrid establishment, which delivers a practical business learning program that helps students to achieve a globally applicable Bachelor’s and Master’s standard education. The Hult International Business School offers an excellent example, as 87% of its graduates gained employment within three months of qualifying in 2014. By applying with institutions such as this, who will benefit from an internationally applicable and practical education that creates candidates you are ready to enter the workplace.

The Importance of Independent Entrepreneurship

The business world is vast and diverse, and a prestigious higher education course is not always required to achieve long-term success. In fact, there are some entry-level business opportunities that offer an entirely different career path, including apprenticeships and internships. The simple truth is that some business roles and careers require higher academic qualifications than others, while there are even a few that demand candidates to boast honed and specific corporate skills (such as accounting or management) if they are to launch their career.

To begin with, you need to research your chosen career path and determine the minimum academic requirements. This will help you to create a balanced program of learning, which may then be augmented by practical workplace experience. While those who pursue an entry level apprenticeship will be able to gain invaluable experience of the workplace automatically, those in higher education may still have an opportunity to build a formative résumé either by volunteering in their field of choice or by launching a part-time business start-up. Given that some business courses require students to consider the theoretical and practical aspects of launching a business venture, there is the ideal opportunity to develop a commercial plan, put this into action, and scale this accordingly.

These factors are diverse, and the fact remains that your chosen career path will depend largely on the nature of your preferred job and the field of business that you wish to work in. In general terms, however, you should certainly look to adopt a long-term perspective, and research the nature of your potential job role in detail before building a résumé. It is also important to create a relevant and tailored program of learning, while optimising your spare time by considering voluntary employment roles and simple, scalable business ventures.

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