Sunday, May 24, 2015

Having a Master's Degree

What in store for a person having a master’s degree in the new millennium ? Is having a highest educational attainment still holds an advantage in a job hunt? Does it still matters to employers? Will it still signifies great value to the holder?

Honestly, I find it baffling to find out that most organizations never give consideration to educational attainment when screening the qualification of a prospective employee. Completing a graduate course from a reputable institution means having a substantial training in leadership and professional skills. Remove the technical skills aspect, it can be earned in the workplace, but having a master’s degree exposes us to leadership responsibilities, handling pressure, dealing with difficult employees, facing challenging tasks and analyzing complex managerial problems.

With MBA classmates, Janice, Dory and Girlie

Usually, theories involving managerial and leadership skills which are not usually taught in the working place are taught in the graduate schools through case analysis, workshops and real situations experienced by global companies. We have been deeply immersed with Strategic Planning, identifying human behavior in organization and formulating courses of actions with those problems encountered. In Ateneo, we adopted the theories and studies discussed in the Harvard Business School.

Thus, I felt aghast and very disturbed when an entity disregard it and put us to entry level or doubted our capability to function a certain role. But not those delicate theories in managerial, leadership and human behavior in organization.

Receiving MBA diploma from Ateneo de Davao University
 President, Rev. Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J

In Ateneo de Davao, completing a master’s degree is very challenging, we have to pass a grueling road, we have to earn it laboriously and through hard work, committing so many absences are never tolerated, professors will never hesitate to drop a student in class if absences reach seven times in one semester. It is not given in a silver platter, if your strength is not well-designed to undergo a very complex routine, you will give up. Only few of us managed to survive and reach the finish line.

An Ateneo master’s degree means a person is resilient, very tough, competent and has been exposed to an insurmountable amount of pressure. It still a regular school training, we were attending classroom lectures, real strategic discussions. We were exposed to actual business case analysis works every session, leadership skills lectures and dealing with difficult employees, human behavior in the organization and actual company’s challenges. We were trained how to identify problems in the workplace, how to formulate ideas and find best solutions. In other words, our training is no longer on the rank and file status but on the managerial level.

But it’s not what happening around. Most organizations think the degree is merely a decoration in our curriculum vitae without any value and merit, as if we just earned it in the air, leisurely and given to us on a free hand. I don’t know with other schools but in Ateneo de Davao earning a master’s degree is really tough and highly demanding to ensure that they have high quality graduates.

Based on my experience joining different companies, skills related to the position you are applying or what the employer is looking can be easily learned, well, not unless the person they hired is a moron and seems has trouble adopting complexities in the new environment, then employers will really go mad trying to press that employee’s head to follow instructions on the new role and adopt new routines.

Absorbing roles, responsibilities and tasks in the new environment is not entirely based on how long that person has been doing the routine, example supervisor, team leader, project analyst, executive assistant. It is partly based on a person’s motivation, ability and determination to adopt change, maturity and confidence to respond to the challenges of the new role assigned, drive and desire to improve productivity and quality of the role. More than experience or skills, it's the value of dedication, understanding the core concept of leadership, fairness, and maturity to understand the complexities of responsibilities in the workplace that matter in the end, without these points, skills and experience would be totally useless.

People are just like combatants in war. If you don’t have trust in their capabilities their morale will plummet and they cannot concentrate crashing enemies. If you put them as snipers rather than  tank commanders in the front line, their drive to function well will most likely diminish and their spirit will crash. Sometimes people just need trust and be put in the line where they fit  to get on with things and carry out the tasks effectively and efficiently.

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