Career Counselling: – The Impact Of School And It’s Environment On Your Career

As many regular readers may recall late last year (2011) I, Katherine Foster (t/as Blu Ripples) was honoured to provide Career Guidance and Advice to members of Year 8 at Ravenswood School for Girls.

An interesting question that was raised was: –

Do you think that a school and it’s environment can influence your career?

Detailed below is my response:-

In response to the above stated question it is my perception that your educational institution and its associated environment plays a significant role in your career particularly in the early stages; attaining tertiary placements, breaking into the workforce and establishing your professional networks.

Expanding on the above stated point, I draw your attention to my personal experience with respect to your educational institution.  That is in my early-mid 20’s I had completed my Human Resource Management qualifications and found a suitable position with a renowned organisation.

Some months after commencement the Human Resources (HR)/Training Manager mentioned to me that part of the reason I was successful in attaining the position was in part because I had attended a prestigious independent ladies college (school) and as a former student herself she knew the high calibre of former students.

From a Business (HR) perspective the HR/Training Managers admission could be seen as biased, favouritism and discrimination as she exercised a personal preference and did not solely base her decision on academic qualifications, skills and experience.

In stating the above, however, I wish to point out that your school family can play an instrumental role although it is more often covert than overt; however, your secondary education will become less important as you make your way up the corporate ladder as other factors will come into play for example your tertiary qualifications, where you attained your qualifications, the level of the qualification, the stability of your employment history, the networks, associations and affiliations (professional memberships) you develop and maintain over the course of your career.

Thus, ones advice to you is to develop a strong presence within your school environment, not just with your peers, but their parents, your teachers and community as this forms the foundation of your professional network.