Dr Vaidyanathan Jayaraman is the Dean of Undergraduate Programs and a Distinguished Professor at SP Jain School of Global Management. He oversees the undergraduate programs across the School’s campuses in Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney. Prior to taking on this role, Dr Jayaraman was the Principal and Associate Dean at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India. Before joining Great Lakes, he was a tenured senior faculty at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami, USA, where he taught Supply Chain Operations and Analytics.
The typical path taken by high school students after graduation is to enroll in higher studies (University, Junior College, Professional Certifications) because students and their parents believe that this is the best way to progress in their careers. However, there is a change in this mentality over the past few years. In the westernized world, some students who felt burnt out take a gap year to figure out their future course of action. This gap year strategy is now becoming popular in the Eastern world as well. There are some students, due to multiple reasons including financial distress, who choose to carve out a career immediately following their K12 graduation.
Some of the popular jobs include working as a technician, sales representative, physical therapy aide, medical secretary, or truck driver. The common theme among all these jobs is that you need minimal skill sets, can usually get trained on the job, and possess a sheer passion to work in a chosen area. However, for jobs such as a sales rep, you need to articulate and possess good communication skills. For a physical therapy assistant, you should not only be interested in fitness but also have a general cognizance of the human anatomy. Truck drivers on the other hand should be patient to drive long, arduous hours in a day and also be skillful on the road and have some basic knowledge to take good care of their trucks.
In some countries such as the United States and the Philippines, there has been a move to produce job-ready or Business ready high school graduates under the K-12 program. The primary goal of the curriculum that has been put into place is to get students skilled and market-ready. It’s all about shaping and polishing the youth for employment through skills development in lieu of preparing them for university education. Such skills development could be focused on sports, vocational training, nurturing students to pursue arts and design, or carving a livelihood for students in activities such as carpentry, plumbing, or a mechanic.
Over the past decade, especially during the pandemic era that we’re going through now, more and more high school students have gotten immersed in Volunteering. Being passionate yet compassionate has taken on a new meaning. Volunteering either locally or nationally has helped students learn new skills, develop connections and focus a lot of energy on a cause that is of immense interest.
Another trend that is becoming quite popular is to start a Business – the very idea of job creation has kindled the entrepreneurial gene and spirit in high school students. Several students have figured out a way to turn their hobby or talent into a source of income through blogging, YouTubing, and real estate (buy, sell and flip houses). Students are also freelancing in areas such as writing, painting, jewellery design, or personal art. Thanks to the Internet, students can now find several free online courses that can provide them with advice on opening and operating their own business. To conclude, not all is lost if a student does not have a desire to pursue a higher education degree after graduating from K-12. All that is required is a certain amount of passion and dedication to the task. It’s all about having the right aptitude combined with a positive attitude that will certainly take them to the highest altitude.