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Investing In Yourself: Here’s What Every Student Needs To Know Before Entering The Working World

In this digital age, jobs and entire industries are being disrupted with increasing speed and intensity. Here are some fundamental attributes that students and young working adults need to remain relevant and thrive.


This article is written in collaboration with Kaplan. All views expressed are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg

In today’s digital age, businesses move quickly and things can change in a matter of months or even weeks. This breakneck pace of change has made obsolete the premise that formal education prepares us for the working world.

With the aim of bringing the best insights and inspiration from various industry luminaries to their students, Kaplan held the latest instalment of their Kaplan MasterClass Series last month featuring Ken Hickey, Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft Worldwide Operations.

Ken, who is also a lecturer at Kaplan’s partner university, University College Dublin, spoke about “The Business Opportunities of Digital Transformation” to a packed seminar room at the Kaplan City Campus.

Here are some gems of wisdom from the MasterClass that students and young working adults can use today to build lasting, successful careers tomorrow.

Read Also: 4 Career Decisions Young Singaporeans Have To Consider Today That Our Parents Didn’t

Like It Or Not, We’re Living In An Era Of Disruption

The fact that disruption will happen is beyond question, as technology has made it possible across industries at an unimaginable speed.

The past 5 years have forever transformed industries that remained unchanged for 50 years. Companies like Airbnb, Grab and Tesla shook up the hospitality, taxi and automotive industries, with ripple effects in regulations and the larger labour market.

In sharing the example of Tesla, Ken highlighted how technology could be used to revolutionise even “traditional” industries like automotive manufacturing. From computer-simulated safety tests and inventory management powered by predictive analytics, to self-driving capabilities, Tesla has undoubtedly blazed a new trail with other companies rushing to catch up.

When harnessed, technology can help create new business models, empower larger segments of society, and give rise to the creation of additional value. For instance, the rise of the gig economy has provided opportunities to earn a decent income for those whom traditional jobs are unsuitable.

So, we need to ask ourselves whether we are going to be disrupted and displaced by these changes, or are we ready to take advantage of the opportunities that tomorrow brings?

Read Also: The Gig Economy – Do You Have A Job Or A Career?

How Students Can Succeed In Future-Proofing Their Career

As mentioned earlier, skills and knowledge can quickly be outdated. More important than what you already know, is your ability and attitude to remain curious and be open to constant learning, no matter your position in the company.

You have to be open, flexible and versatile in order to keep up with the times, thrive in the digital age, and leverage on emerging strategies and opportunities.

Being willing to go the extra mile and do more than what is required, gives you the chance to learn the most and pick up skills no one else will have. You’ll also have unique perspectives that help you perceive things overlooked by others more experienced than you.

Finally, Ken spoke about the importance of momentum. Similar to sports, when you have momentum in your career, you should strive to press your advantage and use it to catapult you to the next stage of growth. This could mean applying for a new position or taking on stretch assignments just when you’ve gotten the hang of things at your current job.

Read Also: 6 Ways You Can Invest In Yourself (And Maximise Your Lifetime Earning Potential)

“Old School” Values Are Still As Important In The Digital World

Even in this age of disruption, it is the long established values that will help students better prepare themselves for the working world. Here are three biggest traits that Ken identified as most important for every student.

#1 Adopt A Growth Mindset

Understand that your capability and potential is not fixed. You shouldn’t feel discouraged by your limitations nor should you rest on your laurels based on your accomplishments.

The world is constantly changing, and you too can constantly learn, develop and process new things every day. The attitude to constantly seek personal growth has the power to transform you and achieve more for your future.

The sky’s the limit!

#2 Be Prepared To Fail

The nature of disruption and change is that no one can be certain of the “right” answer.

There will be times when you make mistakes or fail at what you set out to do. On the road to success, you need the resilience such that every time you fall, you’ll rise back up higher than before!

Those who will succeed are not the ones who never make mistakes, but those who refuse to give in to failures and have the determination to not throw in the towel, especially when things look their bleakest.

#3 Be Authentic And Vulnerable

In today’s complex working world, it is rare for a single person to have all the answers. Learn to ask for help when you need to. Also, when you ask others for help, you allow them to validate their knowledge and experience, making it a win-win for your working relationship.

The last tip is to be yourself at work. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, because if you’re spending all your time and effort to put up a false front, then you won’t be able to work on actually getting better.

Read Also:8 Essential Skills You Need To Survive In Today’s Job Market (That You Weren’t Taught In School)

Getting Insights From Industry Leaders

As you can tell, Kaplan’s Masterclass series is distinctly different from conventional lectures. They provide students with the opportunity to rub shoulders with and gain unique insights from industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

Kaplan has been partnering with University College Dublin (UCD), a top 1% university worldwide (Times Higher Education 2019), to provide Singaporeans with quality education through the Bachelor of Business Studies (Hons) Programme.

Find out more about University College Dublin’s Business Degrees here.

Read Also: 3 Ways Technology Has Changed Jobs In Singapore – And What You Can Do To Seize Opportunities Of The Future