Ever visited one of those Education Exposé at the Karachi Expo Center? Now the objective of an Education Fair is to bring together all proponents of our education industry on one single platform so there is an interaction mutually beneficial for everyone. But I don’t think they are doing any such thing and are in fact a big marketing and money making gimmick for the organizers and the participants.
I have been attending these fairs since past several years, firstly because my last job dictated an up to date understanding of the industry but more importantly because after the completion of my four year BBA(h) program I wasn’t quite content with my career outlook; I wanted to do some soul searching and revamp my idea of a working life, growing up, relationships, bread and butter and one of the avenues to explore was the local education fairs.
Now, maybe it was my own nonchalance during college years which had led to this predicament(the empty feeling of not being at the helm of affairs) but whatever the reason after graduation, I put all my immediate projects on hold (MBA) and decided to keep searching; working at places where I could ‘connect’ with the ambiance, colleagues and job description in the hope that I might discover what I REALLY WANTED TO DO IN LIFE!
Education Expos of Karachi are, in my opinion events usually organized by media houses like the Dawn Group or the Jang Group. They basically rent out several large halls at the Expo Center and then invite schools, colleges, universities both local and international and as of late ‘education consultants’, to set up their kiosk there. And in return they ask these institutions money. The event is open for public but the audience is usually students and parents on the lookout for quality schools. But what the audience is really looking for is career counselling as was I.
Now there is a serious dearth of proper career counselling in our education system and this fact is spectacularly reflected here at the expo center. Not once on my many trips here did I met a certified counselor or at least one willing to answer my query. This fact is very astonishing because there are some very big names here participating; universities and schools which are at the top of HEC list be it business, engineering, medicine and the arts not to mention good international colleges from Canada, USA, UK, Turkey, Malaysia and Australia.
The people manning these stalls are mostly young volunteers and junior staff which only know how to effectively distribute flyers and pamphlets. They can tell you everything about their institute but know jack of what career choice you should think about based on your credentials. They will be very quick to register your name, cell phone number and email so they can hit you with their next big promotion rather then guide you with what can actually benefit you. So to me it all seemed like a big marketing and admissions generating scam. The education consultancies are at the top of this game. They are anything but and should seriously change their name from consultancies to agents.
But I don’t want to put the blame of Pakistan’s education worries on education fairs. They do create some awareness of the opportunities people can take advantage of and considering the state of affairs here that is not so bad! However I do want to emphasis that whatever piece of advice I have gathered over the years has all been due to my own research; interviews with my bosses, friends studying abroad, some good teachers in my college, my job description and analysis of different industries, graduate examinations like SATs and the GMAT, articles online, university searches and much more.
It has taken 2 years for me to finally come to a conclusion regarding the choice of a masters program and the industry which suits me the most. So here I am, an aspiring journalist bracing myself for the work that lies ahead. It wont be easy. I have prepared my applications, written the statement of intent, gotten the recommendation letters signed and sealed and am now waiting for the offers OR rejections. And as I sit here waiting.. a very nerve racking feat I have decided to keep you abreast of the process. Maybe it will help someone one day.
Education Expos aren’t the only places I am disappointed at. Four years of business education exposed me to some fascinating things in life but had its own profound limitations which I was too immature at the time to realize. I will blog about what is wrong with the BBA and the MBA programs some other day since it deserves much needed attention. Look for the title ‘The Demise of the MBA Degree’.
But back to the topic, I have been meaning to write about some career tips and my personal story of realization, my ‘true calling’ (very dramatic, I know!) shall we say, and actually wanted to write something about it on New Years but at the time my admission process was not complete. Well, it is complete now but I still did not wanted to talk about serious issues like this (you must have noticed that this is my most serious post so far) before some response from the universities. Really don’t wana jinx it you know. But I feel I gotta let it out now as anyone who follows this blog would know that, writing helps me think.