What’s next?

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Last August 1, 2020, I had the opportunity to launch the latest initiative as Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business (VSB). In a Zoom forum attended by the recent graduates of the VSB, the What’s Next? webinar series had its first activity. Seven speakers shared their insights with the new graduates on the options to consider in response to their concern of “I have just graduated. What’s next?” These VSB graduates participated in the very first virtual commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 on July 26, 2020.

The “What’s next?” webinars will focus on timely and relevant topics and issues. Resource persons, who will speak in the webinars, will share their insights on what’s currently happening and what’s next and forthcoming for the featured topic.

UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo set the tone of the forum when he reminded the new graduates that they should carefully ponder their career and future direction in the context of a totally different world brought about by the Covid crisis.

The seven speakers whom I invited dwelled on the various choices for our new graduates. They each gave invaluable ideas and advice on the options available to them consisting of:

  • I will look for work
  • I will set up my own business
  • I will help society
  • I will do further learning
  • I will stay at home

The new graduates can apply for employment in the corporate and industry sector, government, academe, or professional practice firm. Some of them may explore the options for overseas employment.  However, the current employment situation in the Philippines and in most countries is not so bright during this pandemic times. Local unemployment rate has risen to a record 17.7 percent with about 7.3 million Filipinos now unemployed.

My successful entrepreneur speaker shared her insight, saying that passion and effort are key in pursuing a business venture.  The millennial graduate may have better chance of being successful in business with online commerce and digital marketing emerging as essential components in the current business environment.

The speaker who talked about advocacies for society pricked the conscience of the audience. He emphasized that one should focus on being a better citizen and better taxpayer for a better Philippines. I am certain that a  number of our graduates have already been doing their share in helping society and their communities while they were still in college.

Practical pointers were given by the resource person on pursuing further studies and learning by enrolling in online courses that will provide qualification certifications on various management competencies.  Pursuing masteral studies may be advisable only after gaining some work or business experience.

The last speaker in the “What’s next?” webinar reassured the new graduates that staying at home during the Covid pandemic is normal. She stressed that the mental stress that arise for people may be mitigated by practicing mindfulness, getting out and about even by doing exercises, maintaining good eating habits and schedule, keeping one’s mental game on point with the various apps and online programs available, and getting a good night’s sleep.

Good insights to address the “What’s next?” question.

Joel L. Tan-Torres is the Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the  Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy and partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979.

This column accepts contributions from the business community. Articles not exceeding 600 words can be e-mailed to [email protected]

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