Make the most of that qualification!

Make the most of that qualification!
Published: 16 February 2015
Education doesn't come cheap! For education to prove an investment, one needs to have a clear vision of what one wants to gain out of it. And it will prove to be as useful as you want to make it.

A piece of paper
There are people who unashamedly admit to studying "merely to get a piece of paper". The motivation for some of these might be to formalise their knowledge in order to progress or be eligible for promotions that they believe they have earned through their work experience. While this is a good reason to acquire a qualification, it is worth recognising that every fresh exposure to knowledge presents an opportunity for new learning. So, despite the motive being purely situational, further development and transformation is inevitable – provided the person actually participates in the lectures or academic programme being presented.

Some people, however, want that piece of paper as a means to fast-tracking a new career. They study with the intent of advancing their careers with a sought-after, mandatory certificate, since companies tend to appoint only people with relevant ‘minimum qualifications'. Applications without the required ‘minimum qualifications', do not even go past the initial elimination point, which is usually mechanically done at an HR admin level. So, frivolous though it might seem to pursue a piece of paper, it is quite important that one gets it!

Beyond the piece of paper
There are several things, though, that one could be looking for beyond the piece of paper. Firstly, let's consider what is behind it.

Behind the piece of paper
This will be the source of the qualification. The academic or professional body that conceives the qualification, sets the content, modules or standards that each institution would have to deliver on. The standing, credibility and stability of such a body is one element to inspire confidence in the qualification. Then there is the institution that will be conferring the qualification and issuing the certificate. Its own stability, institutionalisation and track record is something to be considered. Then, within such an institution is the faculty: the lecturers and facilitators that will be delivering the professional material to the students. The academic qualifications, lecturing experience, and equally importantly; the work experience of the faculty is critical to the value delivered to the student. Teaching at a post-graduate level is not about just teaching, it's about stimulating minds for transformation and imparting wisdom - hence the importance of experience.

And aside from the piece of paper
Aside from the piece of paper may be the most critical value-contributor to the qualification. This refers to what the student him/herself brings to the party: the attitude to make the most of the qualification; the preparedness to optimise the value of the qualification by seeking different areas of application; and the actual application of theories learned. This will be discernible through changes the student makes incrementally in the workplace and around his/her community. It is about the effort to improve every aspect of his/her life, using the formulas and tenets picked up from the studies.

This aspect is one that distinguishes real success among graduates. It is the one that separates theorists from pragmatists; paper-graduates from authentic ones; change-drivers from coasters.

These are the people who are able to discern the relevant application of their ‘learnings' to any industry they find themselves in. They will have learned to adapt to different environments and can commute their wisdom towards any leadership or management position they are challenged with. And this is how one makes the most of the qualification, and adds real value to the piece of paper.

- Regenesys
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