The world doesn’t owe you a living

Last week I ran a workshop on marketing for the University of Dundee’s Enterprise Challenge. I had around 30 students in the room, from a variety of different disciplines.

What struck me once again was the lack of knowledge they have about current business trends, tools and techniques.

They’ve been taught the theory, and could talk about the 5 P’s, but not a single person had heard of content marketing, or could tell me why Snapchat should be a part of their strategy. No-one had heard of Gary Vaynerchuck or Simon Sinek either.

Now, I know that University is about the academic theory, but surely that should be balanced with real-life, practical case studies. I would also expect enterprising students to be finding this stuff out for themselves.

We hear from employers and federations such as the CBI that graduates aren’t ‘fit-for-purpose’ when they enter the workplace. Universities need to sit up and listen to this feedback.

And if you”re a student reading this, then you need to take personal responsibility. Yes, have fun while you’re there, but also realise that the world doesn’t owe you a living. You need to earn it.

So get out there and start learning what’s happening on the ground. Be relevant, and you’ll have a much better chance of landing that dream job when you graduate.

2 thoughts on “The world doesn’t owe you a living

  1. Couldn’t agree more Ali – I’ve often thought about this myself. I studied Business Enterprise at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, with Marketing and Management Science modules along the way.

    It was a more “practical” degree than most, but even so, didn’t come close to preparing me for the actual reality of running a business.

    My former lecturers know that I have my own business, yet have they asked me to come back and share what I’ve learned? No.

    Academia can be so introverted. Universities need to start engaging with what’s happening in the real world.

    1. It’s crazy Yva, isn’t it. When I was Head of Entrepreneurship at Dundee Uni, a big part of our strategy was to engage with industry and bring in their expertise to balance the academic theory. The challenge is embedding that approach across an institution, where many academics believe they are only there to teach the academic theory…..

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