Most university students are constantly on the go; whether it’s balancing study, work, social and/or personal commitments. While prioritising the ongoing demands of a student life, a real dilemma arises if you’re offered the job of your dreams – before graduating uni. As exciting as it can be to get your first full-time job offer, often we see our candidates asking for our opinion – “Do I quit university?” or “Do I not take the job offer?”.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in May 2016 there were 45% of persons aged 20 to 24 years engaged in full time study. This makes for a competitive job market (especially for fresh grads) as a majority of the competition have a degree behind their name.
So, just like when I’m faced with any major life decision, I tackle this problem by analysing both sides of the coin.
Option A: Finish the degree.
To begin, it shows determination of character to be able to successfully finish a form of tertiary education, regardless of whether it’s a Bachelor’s Degree, Diploma or a TAFE Certification. Being able to invest time and effort into furthering your knowledge or skillset is definitely a positive towards your future career aspirations. In short, it shows that you can stick it out.
Personally speaking, one of my more notable university achievements is the ability to finish numerous essays in an extremely short time. Not only did that teach me the importance of time management, but it also whipped me into shape for meeting deadlines. Even under extreme pressure. #allnighter
There is no “How to Sell 101” course at universities (or at least that I know of). However, finishing a degree will teach you the skills and discipline needed to survive within a business atmosphere – especially if you have aspirations to have a position within sales management.
After completing your degree, you’ll hopefully be more focused and have a clearer idea of what type of role you’re looking for. You’ll be more mature, and will likely have made at least a handful of classmates in your graduating class who may be useful to know down the track.
Another important point to note is that many of our clients require candidates to have completed a Bachelor’s Degree to be considered for a role. For many, this is non-negotiable. This isn’t the case in all companies, but many of our sales roles (especially in the IT and software solutions space) – a degree is 100% necessary.
Lastly, there’s no better time than now. If you postpone (or quit) school, will you really get back into it? Life may throw some unforeseeable changes at you, so sometimes you should just bite the bullet it and get it done.
Option B: Scratch school, let’s get working.
We get it. School isn’t for everyone. It can seem like it’s dragging on forever, and you’d rather be earning a pay cheque than attending lectures that you barely listen to (or maybe that’s just me?) #sorrymum. Not to mention it’s expensive.
So, let’s say you take the offer, and you postpone school.
Starting in your first career role can be super intimidating, especially if you’re young. If you don’t finish school and you begin your career straight away, chances are, you’ll be a lot younger than your peers. For some people, this wouldn’t matter, but something to consider if you’re looking to make some work mates.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may be held back in the future for not having a degree. Yes, you may have gotten the job now without needing a degree – but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be the case. I’ve heard of scenarios for a job opening where two people have equal experience, and one of the applicants has a degree while the other one doesn’t. I bet you can guess which one got the job.
With that being said, we’ve worked with plenty of candidates who don’t have degree and have excelled in their sales career – purely based on attitude, work ethic and experience.
With that being said…
Essentially, it is a personal decision. There is no “one size fits all” solution but instead a personalised career move. If you were to ask me what I’d do, I would stay at university. Having finished a significant proportion of my Bachelor’s Degree already, I would rather power through the rest. Especially if you’re a classic Bachelor’s student, just about to start your career, then a degree will be helpful ammunition to differentiate you from the competition. Also, I would hate to pass up on the opportunity and regret not finishing later on.
Until next time…