As Maria types away on her laptop, she sighs heavily. While she had thought she would be working as an accountant at a large corporation, here she is writing a report at the research firm. A graduate from a reputed private university with a major in accounting, Maria claims, "Your major is as important for your job as the extra wheel behind a Pajero. You almost never need it but you have to carry it around because someday it might come handy."
Such is the story of many Marias who, despite having high CGPAs in their desired majors, tend to settle for a job that has nothing to do with their academic degree. With the increasing number of graduates from both public and private universities, the number of jobs available seems to be quite inadequate. To make matters even more unbalanced, most graduates simply do not get jobs in accordance with their majors.
But at the same time, there are some who choose to work in a field purely out of passion and not related to their major. "During my undergrad, I wasn't doing well in Economics. I didn't want to switch to BBA either. Also, realised I don't have a future in Economics. Meanwhile, I was doing some freelance work in advertising and I was good at it. So after graduation when I heard from a friend that he had joined an agency, I forwarded my CV through him and they hired me," states Tanvir Islam, an Economics graduate from Brac University.
While business students from differing majors still have it relatively easy in adjusting to corporate jobs, there are many from science backgrounds employed in the business world as well. Wasi Mohammad Fuad, a Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) graduate from Brac University, now working as a strategic assistant at Banglalink, mentions, "Our rapidly changing world requires us to be adaptable. Studying Computer Science and Engineering opened up a world of possibilities for me. I decided to work for a multinational corporation in order to increase my versatility and be part of the modern integration of technology and business." When asked about the shift in the job sector, Wasi further adds, "Everyone has been super helpful in the transition and in general they've been very understanding about how a fresh graduate in general needs guidance about both the work processes and work culture."
Simultaneously, there are many who do end up working in roles related to their majors. Sabir Ahmed, currently a management trainee at Eastern Bank Limited, says, "Getting a job that actually lets me implement the learning I got from my undergrad makes me feel a lot luckier than a few of my friends who got jobs that are totally different than their academic background. This motivates me at work and I believe I'll give my best to make the most of this opportunity and build a career in the discipline that I've always wanted."
There are also unparalleled cases where graduates opted to work in jobs outside their major area for various reasons such as, the state of the industry, employer brand etc. A fresh graduate from a reputed public university with a major in finance is currently working in the HR department of a multinational company despite having been selected at a leading non-banking financial institution (NBFI). She mentions, "Even though I enjoyed studying the subject finance, I didn't want to build a finance-based career. It was not a sector I saw myself working on regular basis. I looked into factors like employer brand when choosing where to work and gave it more importance."
Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with not working in a job that is not related to one's major. Often people have a generalised view that only finance graduates should work in financial institutions, only marketing graduates should work in advertisement agencies. However, in today's fast-paced world, businesses need a culmination of skills and knowledge to operate efficiently. For instance, the role of a marketing manager is not simply about creativity, feasibility also comes into play- which is something a finance major can oversee due to their insight into the different financial analysis.
The first job is often the stepping stone; it helps graduates to move in a world outside their classrooms. It is about understanding the real-life implications of the topics inside a textbook. Most companies provide employees with on-the-job trainings to get accustomed to the specific dynamics of the organisation. Often there are scopes for employees to shift to other departments of their choice. Fresh graduates should have an open-mind when selecting jobs; they should look at the kind of exposure a job provides in terms of networking and self-development as opposed to being stuck to the notion of working relating to their majors.
Many students often opt for dual majors in order to gain an extra edge so that they can land their dream jobs.
The writer is a fresh graduate of Brac University and is currently working in a local private bank. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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