Monday, November 20, 2006

CBE Graduates: Compete or Die

We all have expectations from something or somewhere. As a matter of fact, most contractual agreements are based on expectations. That is, party A does certain things and in return, part B is supposed to meet certain obligations. I think they have this nice word called “breach of contract” for parties who fail to meet someone’s expectations.

One of the very few soft skills that had to learn after joining corporate America is “expectations management”. You know what? Formal education is very good, but in some instances it is overrated. There are certain skills you will never learn in school, unless you actually join the hustle of the “real world”.

I had no clue about the expectations management concept until one of my managers brought it up – as a matter of mentoring and professional nurturing of me. It must have been naturally in me, but hearing someone articulate it really hammered the concept down. This is how it goes…as an example.

Your manager gives you an assignment, for instance, and asks you provide the completion timeline. Based on your experience, you must know how long a project of that magnitude will be completed. If you know that it would take you two weeks, for instance, tell your manager that you will be done in two and half to three weeks. Why? That will provide you with a “cushion” time, in case something does not work out the way you expected. In essence, you have managed your manager’s expectations. It is better to present your project two days earlier than two days late.

I hope that helped someone who is planning to climb a corporate ladder or just grow professionally. It did help me.

I just bumped into this article by Tanzania Daima, in which graduates from the College of Business Education booed minister Mramba, when he told them that they shouldn’t expect employment from the government, but rather be self-starters upon graduation . I don’t know about you, but I was amazed at this reaction.

See, smart folks modify their expectations given changes in the environment. The reality in Tanzania is that the government has pulled out of many ventures that used to be the main source of employment for Tanzanian graduates. Given that fact, it is almost laughable for the CBE students to expect the government to provide employment. The last time I checked, Tanzania is riding on the free market craze. That, my CBE friends, include the competition in the labor market. That also includes self-employment.

It appears though, the CBE students are not even aware of the vast opportunities that are available for them through such programs as the Tanzanian government's Private Sector Participation program .

I am not saying that the government shouldn’t draft policies and strategies that ensure and promote economic growth and employment. They should. They are obligated to. Nonetheless, that is where the line ends. We all know that the involvement of the Tanzanian government in running business ventures led to inefficiencies that ultimately led to low pay and eventual lay-offs. So why would an informed business student in 2006 look for government employment? Aren’t they studying the tide?

I am not against government employment either. There are social services and other areas that it is only practical and logical for the government to deliver. Nonetheless, if we have to narrow it down to CBE students with a marketing diploma, for instance, where can they fit in the government’s employment? Kama wanataka kuwa maafisa kilimo wanaoajiriwa na Serikali, si wangeenda Sokoine basi? This just gives the impression that either our graduates are not taught to critically think, or are not well taught how to face the realities around them. I can only make one bold statement: at this rate, our graduates we will be swallowed alive by the Kenyan and Ugandan counterparts in the job market. We can’t be this cowardly and expect to compete. A graduate who gets out of school and cries for employment from the government is just like a mama’s boy who can’t do anything on their own.

Go out and compete in the labor market. Don’t be a whiny little wimp. We don’t want to build a nation of crybabies. The government can only do so much for you. I know the CBE students boos were more political, but I have this news highlight for my CBE friends: South Africans, Kenyans, and Ugandans etc are in Tanzania competing in the job market. So keep on crying and let us see if that is going to help.

Honestly, I feel like whacking CBE graduates on the head.


Anonymous said...

Hey Metty take it easy on them ! Let the real jungle show em the hardway! LOL !

Seriously though the issue you have raised here is a clear and present danger to the graduates all over TZ that has been long overdue !

The degree of ineptitude of these folks (not only CBE)from all over our Higher Learning Institutions is heart breaking.

The burden could be shared among our Education system (that is so obsolete )to Economy that can not absorb em. (May be its economy stupid )

Nonetheless, at the end of the day its Dog eat Dog world everyone for him/herself you got to survive.

In meantime, the competition is fierce not only from E. A community but Globally from the folks who returns from majuu (who can deliver) to the next Gabacholi who is an entrepreneur. I know life is unfair and then you die .
For those who can listen.Change or be changed !

Here are my 2 cents guide to Survive just to add up on Metty's

1.Proficiency in English language is a MUST (Written & spoken)[Eloquently]Its actually a (global )business language you can not make it without! Look at a powerful nation like Japon they are playing catch up now after abandoned it .(Ogopeni Umaimuna )

2.Thinking outside the box. (Differentiate yourself) the margin of error is very minor either you deliver or you do not (no excuses ) and consequences are brutal.Go beyond and above the call of duty stay ahead of curve and do your homework.

3. Follow your passion and the green will follow . I cant emphasize this enough . Your career becomes labor of love and not a job and you become real good at it.Hence rewarded accordingly .

4. Never stop learning (quickly) Like they say the only thing that doesn't change is change itself .

5. Dare to dream (BIG) and never give up !. Do not be afraid of falling you can always get up and go get em!

6.Have faith & Pray !

7.Hey after all We can live up to our nick name of (BONGO)Mtajiju !

Im out


Jaduong Metty said...

I would have been easy on these guys, but as you said - it appears that there is an epidemic of ineptitude in our higher learning institutions.

But you know what? I like the piece you provided. I once blogged about how lack of mentoring is affecting our society. I think your commments provide a wonderful career counseling, which I think lack in Tanzania.

I wonder if, for instance, CBE has a career center where they advise graduates on all options available upon graduation.

Anonymous said...

Metty + Msemakweli U raise valid arguments.

Especially pale Metty uliposema kuwa – we have to have a career advisory office as a must in every institution of higher learning.

Metty – these fresh ‘graduates’ hawajui kuwa hawajui! “Usiwacheke” – warekebishe! Lakini kama wao hawajui – waalimu wao je wameliona hilo tatizo ambalo wewe ambaye ni mpita-njia umeliona?

Employers – je huwa wana career days huko mavyuoni – just so as to have a dialogue with their potential employees ………… critique their resumes ama kuwapa mock interviews ama whatever positive feedback that they might have kwa hili taifa la kesho.

Hivi ni kwanini kila kitu Tanzania kinakwenda kwa crisis management?

Metty we need a lot of things – we need a re-think of the whole education sector’s objectives vis-à-vis its policies. Education in Tanzania now still (in my humble opinion) has immediate post-independence objectives.

A look at the whole picture and not just bits and pieces is inevitable for success. Our education sector needs to have a global focus – it needs to be modelled in a manner that’ll give a Tanzanian graduate ways and means of competing against the rest of the world. Umesikia kuwa wahindi wameanza kujifunza Kiswahili (as a second language – at undergraduate level) in their universities? Kama umesikia umejiuliza ni kwa nini – kama sio kuhamishia call-centers za kwetu kwao?

I would bluntly tell U – society yetu bado (ya Kitanzania) haimtayarishi kijana kukabiliana na maisha ya kazi/kujenga taifa. Hebu tuanze na a survey itakayo-expose mafanikio na matatizo ya sekta ya elimu (alifanya Rakesh Rajani na NGO yake tukambeza – yote ni kwa sababu hatupendi kukubali ukweli. Especially pale ukweli unapokuwa ni “inconvinient”). Hii survey isiwe ya kisiasa na wala isiwe ya kiserikali ………….. sio siri – the Tanzanian education sector needs to be overhauled. Before we do that though – we need to quantify the problems and successes so far in a non-secretive/non political atmosphere.

We need to build a culture of looking at ourselves in the mirror – a candid survey will be a positive start. The truth shall set us free.

The focus now should shift to labor as a commodity as opposed to the post-independence “quantity” of wasomi focus.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anony 3:04 Pm

I totally agree with your perspective. Nonetheless, what I really love is your point on being candid - folks in Tanzania are very afraid of criticism.

I am convinced that you can only change the bad things you know. And you can only know those things when told the truth. Unfortunately, telling the truth in Tanzania is almost equivalent to treason!

I am optimistic though, it will get better. The free market has started bringing South Africans and others who are bound to whip our butts. At some point, we will wake up, though painfully.

Jaduong Metty said...

Just to emphasize what Anonymous at 3:04 pm said, This Day (Nov 27,2006) ran a story on Professor Bavu's comments regarding the education offered by UDSM:

Prof. Immanuel Bavu, the university’s council chairman, told the 36th graduation ceremony at the Hill that it was high time the country’s oldest university ceased to train for the sake of training.

The don acknowledged that some clauses in the university’s 2004-2013 corporate strategic plan outlined activities designed to develop and diversify academic programmes to make them demand driven, flexible and interdisciplinary for the creation of job makers rather than job seekers

It appears to me like some folks in Tanzania have realized that change is inevitable.

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