Paving the way to career development
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How can postgraduate students, immersed in academic research, relate their knowledge to the real world and develop a fruitful career? What problems confront them? The Postgraduate Forum: Career Development and Practical Application of Academic Research, jointly organized by the School of Graduate Studies and the CityU Postgraduate Association, attempted to provide some directions to these questions on 17 March.
Postgraduate students, educated for specific professions, can create their own career path. "To know yourself better, to explore the current market, to broaden your career network and to polish your transferable skills are the most important things you need to do," said one of the panel speakers, Mr Joseph Chan, Acting Director, Student Development Services (SDS).
In response to Management Sciences PhD student Ms He Yanqun's query onhow postgraduate students accumulate knowledge of the employment market, Mr Chan answered, "Networking." He suggested that students talk to people working in the field in which they are interested and attend recruitment talks. SDS is setting up a hotline which connects experts from various fields with students to enrich their market knowledge.
Postgraduate students usually look for jobs such as sub-academic positions in universities and senior positions in business.Dr Jian Ma, Associate Professor of the Department of Information Systems, shared a list of success factors obtained from his graduate students. "If you are going to work in the academia, you should publish a large quantity of good quality journal articles. Also, be aware of the market needs of your research area," Dr Ma said. "If you are interested in the business world, superior problem solving and communication skills are needed. Moreover, you should have vision, innovative capabilities and in-depth knowledge of your field." Dr Mok Ka Ho, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences advised students to focus not only on the Hong Kong market. "It is important to have a global perspective," he noted. There are many opportunities in other places such as the mainland, Taiwan, Macau and the UK. Students can make use of opportunities overseas to gain more work experience and life exposure. Dr Mok also suggested postgraduate students take up part-time jobs through which they can have a better grasp of their area of interest and their career goals.
Professor Michael Yang of the Department of Biology and Chemistry and facilitator of the forum concurred, "income in China may not be competitive with Hong Kong, but there are more than 100 qualified universities in China that would employ postgraduate students from Hong Kong." Professor Yang also reminded postgraduate students that the word 「碩」 in the Chinese translation of Master's degree「碩士」means "plenty" while the word
「博」in the Chinese translation of PhD「博士」 means "broad", and thus postgraduate students should not only focus on their particular discipline, but also seek a broad knowledge of other disciplines.
The Postgraduate Forum, which attracted over 60 academic staff and postgraduate students this year, is an annual event at which academics and students can meet and share their views on different topics.