Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back To School

Amidst the current global credit crunch, with uncertain job security, perhaps you could seriously contemplate to pursue your postgraduate study. It is the survival of the fittest. Employees have to be more efficient, well rounded and competitive.

Firstly, talk to your employer. It will be great if you get his support. It will be a bonus if the study is sponsored; it is a vote of confidence in you.

Now, the tough part is to choose the program. The number of postgraduate programs is on the rise. Spoil for choices, yeah! It is tempting to choose the easiest, shortest and cheapest. Not a good move. Learning that cannot be translated into values is wasted. The values gained from the program should be substantial. Additionally, make it an enjoyable journey, to gain knowledge and not purely for the paper chase.

8 criteria to ponder:

1) Specialize or opt for general management? – Depends on your career plan / direction, whether you want to be a specialist or be Jack of all trades.

2) Reputable, recognized and accredited program – Obviously you do not want to be caught with your pants down after aiming for the stars.

3) Content – Depend very much on criteria no. 1. In addition to prescribed texts, be prepared to explore broad range of publications. There are also many gems to be unearthed from the wired world. Learn this word - Plagiarism!

4) Methodology of delivery – Is it a traditional classroom delivery with interaction, case studies, project work etc or distance learning which has minimum interaction? Do you have the discipline to do your own work or do you need frequent interaction to knock sense into your wear and tear brain?

5) Teaching resources – Are the lecturers qualified practicing managers or academicians or a good mix? The academicians can deliver the best concepts and theories while the practitioners share their experiences. The lecturers are to facilitate and lead, not so much to teach. Learning takes place from many aspects- from class discussion, study group and personal research!

6) Weekday or weekend – Do you have the power to stay up after a long day in the office? The after office hours traffic could cause lateness. No fun to play catch up, and you might be lost for the next few hours. Be prepared to miss weekend parties, though!

7) Venue and distance from home – Obviously you would want to avoid long distance traveling that could drain your energy level!

8) Cost – Important aspect but not the only criteria. Obviously brand name, reputation and perceived higher quality programs cost more. Look for value for money. In addition to sponsorship, you could withdraw from EPF Account 2 and could explore financing from banks.

Finally the easy part. Embark on it with a serious desire and commitment to work hard. Make sacrifices and the reward would be sweet. In addition to self satisfaction and knowledge gained, the program should translate into new career opportunities, be it a climb in the corporate ladder or seeking out on your own! Then there is also the new friends found that will be ‘saved’ into the networking database!

Happy Studying.

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