Last week all of us economics students faced students’ biggest fear; exams. In particular among master students’, the two exams for empirical economics are seen as a proverbial monster in the closet, causing sleepless nights and bad dreams for a significant part of us. This fear is mostly fear of failing, but also fear of performing bad, cause we would all like to graduate with a terrific GPA don’t we? But then when filling out the application form for the company day of our study association and sending my resumé to get selected to one of the workshops of my potential future employers, I was wondering how important these grades are anyway.
Nowadays companies ask us for quite a filled CV if you ask me. If you haven’t worked during your studies, they cannot judge if you have the right work ethic or teamplayer attitude. It would be nice if you’ve been studying abroad for a little while, to see different countries and explore a little. An internship or a boardyear (but at least some committeework) is absolutely necessary to show you future employer that you know how to work together in a (semi-) professional environment and some signs of a life next to work,committees and studying (for example playing sports on a semi- professional level) could also be of great help finding a job. But then, how would you expect us to also graduate within the expected time (to not face a fee of double our collegefees) and without being a victim of the ‘a-six-is-sufficient-too’ culture among students, Mr. Rutte? Who yourself has studied for about 7 years, I believe.
I myself work for 16 hours a week (yes, also because I can really use the money), I am member of the Advisory Board of the study association and I also try still to have a social life. Combining that with a master studies, does not result in graduating Cum Laude unfortunately. If I look at my fellow students, the one does committeework, the other is member of a educational board, or plays prohockey for about 20-30 hours a week (and does not receive a sportsgrant for that from Utrecht University, which is a shame in my opinion).
There is a definite trade off between grades and extra curricular activities, but I’m still in doubt which of the two will help me get a job next year. Since I also know people that have a resumé to dream about and still have trouble finding a job these days, cause they are competing with people with apparently an even better CV. For now I've made the decision not to graduate with a GPA of 4.0 but focus on other things besides studies. And hopefully visiting these workshops will help me a little with, finding and getting in contact with, my ideal employer cause I’m not looking forward to an endless job search.
Ps. For those who are interested in job opportunities, the company day I’m talking about is on Tuesday the 22nd of November. It’s free, some good companies are visiting (AS Watson, ORMIT and KPMG among others) and subscriptions are possible via www.bedrijvendag92.nl.