The unwritten promise of a post-secondary education has been to earn a degree in an applied field such as engineering and you’ll end up with a good, stable job, but the millennial generation is finding that can no longer be counted on. I have been thinking about this issue for some time. Last year, I posted an article on this blog by Robert Reich, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. I was stimulated to share that article by what I was seeing with my own students from the University of British Columbia, and contrasting that with my own experience years ago, walking into my Silicon Valley dream career by sheer chance. That simply no longer happens. Grads must begin plotting out a plan early, no later than the beginning of their third year, and begin to execute on it in order to find an entry-level position commensurate with their education. Networking and cold calling is imperative, but as this article points out, even that may not guarantee solid employment.
Engineer into the Workforce presentation to The University of British Columbia, School of Engineering, 4th year Capstone Project course. November 2, 2016
My own odyssey in choosing a major and a career is probably not a great guide for today’s students. I had only a vague idea that I wanted a quality “liberal arts education,” to equip me with the thinking skills necessary to guide my career. I chose an undergraduate major in Speech-Communication with double minors in Philosophy and Photography. In retrospect, despite the disadvantages of my choice, it turned out well at that time, primarily because being able to communicate and present yourself is perhaps the most important skill in any career. Warren Buffett agrees with that. But in today’s much more competitive environment, I am sadly less confident that it would work. This is the dilemma for today’s students.
I ran across this recent HBR article and thought it would be helpful for management students contemplating an internship or co-op employment as part of their degree program. Such programs are a highly valuable way to gain experience, and to find career-focused employment. This is particularly true in this challenging employment market. I would even go so far as to suggest that it may even be a workable strategy for recent graduates still searching for that opportunity that will kick start their careers. Get an informational interview and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
There is a lot of hubris and fantasy here in the Okanagan that no amount of reality can kill. Contrasted with that is a political faction that wishes for nothing more than the status quo. In yet another example of Kelowna’s long-standing poor employment market, and bizarre claims of being a technology industry hub, high tech employment in the Okanagan is being curtailed by the mass exodus of qualified graduates to employers outside the Okanagan.
This is a metaphorical essay on personal ethics, worthy of a serious read and contemplation. When I saw the title I was intrigued but suspected it had something to do with Andy Grove’s adage, “sewage flows downhill,” which means “if anything bad happens it will eventually flow down to you.” This is about ethics. The points made here are particularly apt in light of the huge number and sheer scale of recent business frauds: the Volkswagen fraud, LIBOR, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme, Conrad Black in Canada, Olympus in Japan, Bernie Ebbers and Worldcom, Tyco International, stretching back all the way to Enron, Michael Milken’s junk bonds, and the 1980’s savings & loan debacle.
I noticed the following post on LinkedIn, and thought that it was important to share it. When I first came to UBC to teach Industry Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Management, I was struck by how utterly unprepared Faculty of Management students were to stand up and communicate their ideas. Most students used 3 x 5 cards and stared at the floor. One student, without realizing it, stood up and crossed his arms across his chest, projecting only his personal discomfort with the situation. Clearly this problem needed to be addressed. If there is one thing I have learned since graduating with a Speech-Communication degree, it is the importance of being able to stand up and communicate your ideas, what you believe, and most importantly, who you are. It is crucial to career success.
I previously posted WRT the fact that we are approaching the limits of our ability to achieve physical proof of quantum physics. Why should we care? Where do we go after the CERN Hadron Super Collider confirmed the existence of the Higgs-boson particle, proving the role of dark matter? That said, two separate teams at CERN are debating the results of further experiments that suggest the possible existence of a new sub-atomic particle. This particle, if it exists, and can be confirmed, may support the existence of additional dimensions of space and time. The MIT Technology Review has also suggested that the CERN Hadron Super Collider could potentially prove the validity of the Star Trek hyperdrive technology. We should care because it is the future of the technology that will continue to change our lives.
After last year’s Faculty of Management public relations fiasco caused exclusively by the Dean himself, Roger Sugden appears to have resurrected from the proverbial dead. Following the incident, many were shocked and surprised to learn that an outside consultant concluded that the Dean was not a problem. The problem in the FOM was judged to be a small clique of dissatisfied faculty members. Has Dean Sugden’s performance actually recovered and improved? Is he leading the Faculty of Management with forthright leadership? Some say that the Dean has become the invisible man, more unavailable than ever. What is your take on Dean Sugden’s job performance and his salary?