University can be a great learning experience where you develop a variety of skills that can shape you for the better, and most importantly can help you decipher what crucial skills are needed in the real world. Now, depending on the degree you pursue some graduating students can be more equipped with ‘real world skills’ than others. For instance, business, nursing and engineering students tend to have courses that are more than often practical in comparison with Philosophy, English or Religious studies, which all tend to have a more theoretical approach. But, we still constantly hear about the rift between the education acquired through university, regardless of the degree, and practical experience needed in the workplace.
University will always teach you the theory behind concepts, methods and techniques, while the workplace teaches you to apply them. Some may argue this is due to an outdated educational system, others argue that a university’s main rule is to provide you with text book knowledge not acquired in the workplace and offer co-operative education programs to provide students with an opportunity to apply that knowledge in the workplace.
Regardless of which view point you hold, we know what the market deems valuable: a university degree combined with relevant work experience. Employers are so adamant about having a list of qualifications outlined that don’t necessarily pertain to students. So, how do students close that gap? And how can students continue to obtain a university degree and stay up-to-date on any recent trends in their respective areas of study?
The top three ways to stay updated are:
- Recent News updates
For example, if you are an accounting major planning on pursuing a CPA designation, it is important to check news updates on changes in accounting policies in the CPA Handbook (e.g. Review standards), Tax changes proposed by the government, and any mergers/acquisitions that took place recently. Podcasts discussing certain topics, recent news, and experts’ opinions can provide further insight into the industry.
Applying the above example to your desired area of study can keep you updated with recent trends in the market, provide you with a better understanding of the market and even create some key discussion points you can bring up in an interview for a potential job.
Mohamad El-Attar, Alumnus