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Monthly Archives: November 2016

How to Survive an Enduring Career

1. Changing Life Cycles

According to a recent Financial Times article, life used to be measured in three stages: education, work, and retirement, all with fairly equal amounts of time.  That cycle looks different now, with a significantly longer working life.  While an MBA used to be the catalyst for the job that would get you to your final burst of highly successful employment, it’s now somewhere in the middle.  When your working life begins in your 20s, you need to begin to think of this cycle lasting for fifty—or even sixty—years.  How should you prepare?  What do you want it to look like?  Consider what it would take to sustain your spending habits—and extrapolate those costs over the next half-century plus.

2. Transition and Change

Recognize that transitions—even positive ones—are always difficult.  They rattle your sense of self, and often your sense of place. They are always a time for growth, whether you want it or not.  The keys to your success? Flexibility and adaptability.  It’s unlikely that you’ll have the same job for 50 or 60 years. Keep your networks broad and varied—reach out to people of different ages, genders, and occupations.  As you build your portfolio, consider the trends that potential employers will invariably seek—and see.  With perseverance, your career portfolio will tell your story of resilience—and a willingness to try new things.

3. A Few Paces Ahead

Plan your career like you’re a chess master: think strategic steps.  Always.  Sitting still gets you nowhere.  Learn a new skill.  Try a new language.  Add some people to that fantastic network of yours (see #2).  Learn some new technology.  Reach out.  Look out.  Do what you enjoy.  Keep yourself relevant, happy, and think about how you can apply what you know and love to what you want to do—recognize that those things will probably change over time.

4. Identify and Invest in…

Your interests and skills.  Easier said than done.  Why?  You need to know what interests you—without having someone else tell you.  When you’re just starting out, this can be difficult because there are so many people—family members, friends, professors, career advisors—telling you what you should do.  The key is for you to tell yourself what you should do—and then invest the time in learning how to achieve your goals.  Don’t wait for a professional development opportunity to land in your lap.  Make your own.  You’ll be thankful you did.

5. Career as Financial Asset

Your career has the potential to pay off dividends bigger than all of your other financial assets combined—car, house, stock portfolio, 401K.  Manage your career like it’s gold—because it is.  When you maximize the opportunities for your career, you maximize your financial security—and also your lifestyle satisfaction.  Do what moves you, and figure out a way to maximize your returns.  Find a reliable mentor, assess your risks, survey the economic landscape—and most importantly, establish your classy reputation in whatever path you choose.

How to Become One of Europe’s Digital Innovators

Why Digital Innovation Matters

Contemporary business success largely hinges on an organization’s ability to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital space. Take companies like Amazon and Netflix, for example.  Their business models inherently rely on continuously expanding and enhancing their digital products and services to remain competitive. But this evolution doesn’t happen on its own.

Says global management consulting firm North Highland Worldwide Consulting’s Alex Bombeck, “Everyone recognizes the importance of digital in today’s business environment, but the landscape is littered by companies that have been left behind the digital curve. Leaders must figure out how to meet the high expectations of customers and deliver a unique human experience, or risk becoming obsolete.”

In addition to the usual suspects of leadership like vision and managerial skills, the next generation of business leaders will also need to understand the fundamentals of digital innovation, including the economic and technological factors powering it; the intersection of former, current and future business models; differences between digital models and how they interact with each other; best practices for organizing and leading digital product and service innovation efforts;  the role of crowdsourcing; and other topics.

Echoes North Highland Global CIO Ben Grinnell of what it takes to thrive in the new digital world, “To enable digital transformation, old legacy systems are not going to cut it. Silos must be broken down and an agile mindset needs to take hold. This means building cross-functional teams that can be nimble, move fast and quickly produce results.”

Three Steps to Becoming a Digital Innovator

Now that we’ve covered how important digital innovation is, along with why having the right skill set is critical for people looking to innovate in the digital space, a final question remains: How do you prepare yourself to become one of them? These three steps are a great starting point:

1. Be international.

Digital innovation has no physical borders. And with companies like Turner increasingly prioritizing international digital innovation, it makes sense for those looking for an inside edge to cultivate a global perspective — preferably through first-hand experience.

In fact, according to a recent Erasmus Impact Study which looks into the effects of international study on the skills and employability of students, 65 percent of employers consider international experience important in job applicants, while a full 92 percent are looking for transversal skills developed through international experiences, including “openness to and curiosity about new challenges, problem-solving and decision-making skills, confidence, tolerance toward other personal values and behaviors.”

2. Know the best course of study.

We’ve already established that international experience is a major plus. What else should you be looking for in terms of degrees and certifications? Not only will you need training in key digital technology areas, but you’ll also need to develop innovation and entrepreneurship skills.

Another plus? Real-world experience, which will allow you to practice applying your newfound skills while simultaneously building a network of professional relationships.

3. Choose the right program.

All of this may sound like a tall order, but EIT Digital Academy’s Digital Master School program delivers. This two-year program at two different universities from nine countries not only sends graduates out into the world with master’s degrees from two of Europe’s leading universities, but also a certificate from the European Institute of Technology.

What else separates EIT Digital from the rest? Students have their choice of 20 top European universities; gain a high-level technical education combined with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor; and build a strong professional network through internship opportunities with industrial partners and innovative startups.

The chance to specialize in the second year, meanwhile, offers in-depth studies in technical areas including cloud computing services, data science, digital media technology, embedded systems, human interaction and design, technology and architecture, security and privacy, and service design and engineering.

Says Head of the EIT Digital Master School Dr. Patrick Hartigan, “There is a heavy and increasing need for premium IT masters in Europe. This programme seeks out the best students from across the EU and beyond. It then equips them with cutting-edge technical knowledge and business skills so that they can go on to help assure Europe’s role in the global digital economy. This is a unique opportunity where learning to think as an entrepreneur is a key criterion.”

Think it all sounds perfect, but have concerns about paying for it? EIT Digital’s generous financial assistance including tuition waivers, scholarships, travel and installation support put the programs prestigious double degrees and an Innovation and Entrepreneurship EIT Certificate within your reach.

Digital innovation is all about blazing new territory in an uncharted world. Will you be following behind or at the forefront? EIT Digital Academy’s Digital Master School program can prepare you not just to be a player in the digital innovation space, but to be a game-changer.

How International Students Can Celebrate Thanksgiving

Giving thanks.  Embracing friendship.  Sharing a thoughtful meal.  Telling stories.  Thanksgiving conjures images of extended families and friends gathered around a beautiful table, sharing a delicious meal, and expressing gratitude for what they have.  International students studying in the US during the holidays have a multitude of way to celebrate this quintessential American holiday.  We’ve put together four fantastic options for you to consider as many US students return “home for the holidays.”

1. If an American friend invites you, accept the invitation

Thanksgiving is about, well, being thankful for what you have.  This includes being thankful for new friendships.  An American friend invites you?  Accept.  It’s an invitation to be a part of the family, to share the tradition, to take a break from school, and maybe even to participate in the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday—the day that many retail shops offer sales and discounts in preparation for December’s holidays.  How’d “Black Friday” get its name?  It’s the day that many retailers’ ledgers assure that they will end their fiscal year “in the black,” or showing a profit for the year.

2. Consider on-campus opportunities

Feel like staying on-campus during the Thanksgiving break?  Look for campus traditions at your school.  Some schools offer their own Thanksgiving celebrations for any students and faculty who opt to stay on campus, or who may not have options to travel.  Kansas’s Hesston College hosts an annual Thanksgiving weekend, with a dinner and a bevy of other activities, including art exhibits, concerts, talent shows, basketball tournaments, a benefit fun run, and other special events. At Ohio State University, any students, faculty, and staff who are not planning to head home are invited to attend an annual Thanksgiving feast—this year, the University expects over 1,600 attendees.  At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, students and faculty spend the entire month of November learning about spirituality.  Several faculty at the University host international students at their homes on Thanksgiving Day—as an expression of gratitude for sharing their learning.

3. Attend a parade

What’s Thanksgiving without a parade?  The most famous, of course, is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, with over 3 million in-person spectators and upwards of 40 million television viewers.  Several major cities besides New York also hold parades where you can enjoy the holiday spirit of gratitude.  Check out the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  Motor City has another option—check out America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit, Michigan for floats, bands, music, and a glimpse at the history of the US auto industry.  Also in the Midwest is Chicago’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, which began in the 1930’s in an effort to raise the spirits of Depression-era residents.  Charlotte, North Carolina, Houston, Texas, and Seattle, Washington offer additional possibilities for big parades.  If you don’t live near a city, don’t fret!  Check your local paper for smaller, regional events.  Watching a parade also gives you a chance either to travel to a new place, or to learn something new and interesting about your university town.

4. Take a break

Not interested in all of the hullabaloo?  Not feeling the need for turkey, Black Friday, parades, or big get-togethers?  Relax.  Enjoy the quiet.  Go for a walk.  Read that book you’ve been wanting to read.  Do some sightseeing—explore the city or town where you’ve decided to study.  If you really feel like it, get caught up—or work ahead—in one of your classes.  Take some time for yourself and recharge.

Should You Get a Master’s Degree in Education?

Teachers make a difference in the lives of kids all over the world every day. However, the prospect of entering the teaching profession and remaining in it for the next 30 or more years can be a daunting one. Whether you’re worried about landing a job in a competitive market or about making enough money to support yourself once you’re hired, getting your master’s degree can offer a smart solution. Let’s count down four reasons why all teachers should consider graduate studies in education.

1. You’ll increase your earning potential.

While many teaching jobs require master’s degrees, others may call for just a bachelor’s degree. In this case, getting the bare minimum can hurt you in several different ways. Not only does it lower your chances of getting hired when you’re up again more qualified applicants, but it also means you’ll likely end up collecting a higher starting salary.

According to The Houston Chronicle, most school districts offer teachers with master’s degrees across the elementary, middle, and high school levels supplemental pay in the form of a “bonus” or “bump.” According to analysis by the Center for American Progress this averages between an extra $3,000 and $10,000 a year! And while the cost of getting a master’s degree can seem prohibitive, the degree can pay for itself in just a few years. Not only that, but most school districts require continuing education credits — doesn’t it make sense to put those credits toward a degree?

2. You’ll enjoy greater career mobility.

While a bachelor’s degree may qualify you to be a classroom teacher, many other school jobs  require advanced credentials. If career advancement is important to you, a master’s degree is a must-have. Whether you’re looking to work as a school administrator, curriculum director, content/subject area specialist, or school counselor, you’ll likely need a master’s degree or more.

Additionally, a master’s degree can also open up new possibilities outside of the school system entirely. From textbook authors and community college teachers to educational consultants and educational researchers, these sought-after, well-paid professionals almost always have upper-level qualifications.

In addition to helping you move up the latter, a bachelor’s degree can lead to broader career prospects, which can be an effective defense against teacher burnout — a pervasive phenomenon among today’s hard-working teaching professionals.

3. You’ll be a better teacher.

A master’s degree isn’t merely a means to an end. Rather, it’s an opportunity for true growth and development. Your time in graduate school will benefit you in numerous ways, from understanding of your options as a teacher by exploring what truly interest you to acquiring tools which will enrich what you offer your students.

While your undergraduate degree might have bestowed knowledge in a certain field of study, a master’s in education places the focus on transitioning that and new knowledge to the classroom. Says Teach.com, “These degrees focus on teaching somebody how to be a teacher, with heavy emphasis on pedagogy, teaching methods, philosophy of education, and educational technology.”

According to one Reddit commenter, “It was a TON of work, and took a while, but it definitely made me a better teacher, both in increasing my knowledge and also making me more sympathetic to my students. Its interesting watching another person teach after you have been teaching all day, and seeing what you can do and what you shouldn’t do.”

One caveat worth keeping in mind? As with all advanced studies, you get out of a master’s degree what you put into it. On the flip side, however, if you’re pursuing your graduate coursework part-time while maintaining a teaching job, you’ll have immediate opportunities to start making change. Another Reddit poster shared, “I love teaching while going to school because I can implement strategies I learn in class the next day.”

4. You can make change at a higher level.

Teachers help nurture the growth and development of kids in classroom every day. If you’re interested in making change at a higher level, however, a master’s degree can help prepare you for a role in research, assessment or policy.

From regional school districts to local, state, and federal agencies, many organizations exist aimed at improving how teachers, schools and educational systems at large do what they do. They’re all looking for people with the knowledge, experience and insights to help guide them.

One of the most compelling reasons prompting people to enter the teaching profession is the chance to make a difference in society. A master’s degree will not only position you to achieve this goal, but it can also help you improve the quality of education at large while bettering your own life in the process.