“My niece recently graduated with an MBA with distinction. She has been trying to secure a job in marketing since January, and submitted numerous applications online. However, she has not even been called for an interview” (Jobless For Months Despite MBA, Miss Chua Kim Choo).
I was more perplexed to read Miss Chua Kim Choo’s letter, “Jobless For Months Despite MBA” (April 23, 2013), in which she expresses her unhappiness over her niece’s inability to secure desired jobs despite the latter’s academic qualifications. Miss Chua, of course, expounded on her niece’s glittering scholastic résumé, and also posited that the young graduates of her acquaintances faced similar challenges. How is it possible for such talented individuals – with their education and strengths – to not even secure interviews?
Furthermore, Miss Chua seems to suggest that the Government should bear responsibility for these perpetual failures. She reckons, “the Government should forecast future trends so that students will know which course of study to undertake”. In other words, it would appear that insufficient or inadequate information led her niece to make the wrong choice of course in her school, because her skills and expertise do not seem to be in demand at the moment.
Miss Chua should be cognisant that in an increasingly competitive marketplace, the aforementioned achievements count for little, as employers look for greater diversity and quality. Such perspectives have been articulated through an assortment of channels, and points of differentiation need to be emphasised in more competitive marketing industries.
I am not contending that our ministries and administration should be absolved from all blame. Rather, when making sense of our own plight or ostensibly challenging situations, perhaps we could be more circumspect, to start thinking about how we might improve or change ourselves to make the best of opportunities, instead of searching for entities to blame. Most significantly, the onus should be on the individual to grow, develop, and adapt.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.