Are you Corporate Ready? How to bridge the gap between University to Corporate

Are you a university undergraduate? Are you someone pursuing a degree, diploma, or any other course? Or are you right after your higher studies wanting to get a job? Now, if you are in such stages, have you ever thought about how prepared you are for a corporate job? How will the job be, and What will be your responsibilities? Similarly, you probably have many questions in your head.

"First and foremost, you should be fully informed of the job and its obligations. To comprehend this and to be completely aware of your profession and its nature, there's an easy technique known as the A.P.E. approach", begins Prashan.


A.P.E. Approach


The First step of this approach is 'Awareness.' Awareness should be made in 3 distinct avenues.


Self Awareness is how well you know about yourself. This awareness aspect determines the areas you excel in and your shortcomings and weak spots.
Simply put, you can do a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. If you don't know how to conduct it, perhaps you could compare it to what you did in school or university. You can be a good orator, an announcer, a vocalist, or someone who excels in event planning. Try to think about your strengths as a result of all of this. As crucial as your strengths are, you should also try to determine your weaknesses. It might be as simple as being timid, short-tempered, or making impulsive decisions. It might be anything. Therefore, make a strength and weakness audit of yourself by examining them and noting them down on paper or your laptop.
Conducting this analysis is very important as the first question you'll be asked in an interview is, "Tell me about yourself." You should know a lot about yourself to answer this question in two minutes. Another familiar question they'll shoot at you is 'tell me some strengths and weaknesses of yours' to answer such questions, you need to be well aware of yourself, says Prashan, with years of experience in the corporate field.


Organizational/Industry Awareness:

This refers to your knowledge and understanding of the company you are interested in or have applied to. Today, with the aid of technology, you can learn about a company through the internet. If you're looking for a public limited company, you'll find the annual report, the company's website, YouTube videos on recent initiatives and background, articles, and magazines, and you can even learn about the company from its staff members. 
In a nutshell, you should understand how your job function relates to the business function and its success. What are the firm's CSF – Critical Success Factors, what markets they operate in, what segments they address, do they have product leadership, and is the company a market leader? This information should be studied before applying for the job or heading to the interview. According to Prashan, such awareness and knowledge are crucial in the corporate world.


Environment Awareness:

This element explains how well a company, its industry, the overall business environment, or the country's economic status are understood, for instance, how the industry operates, what kind of a business model it entails, what is the revenue model Going beyond the industry and having a sense of the macro environment and have a grasp of the larger picture is vital. For instance, if we consider the political system and its ramifications, how would changing its laws and regulations affect the business? Or, if a business imports raw materials and an import restriction are imposed on it, what consequences would the industry face? Likewise, Inflation, economic condition, and interest rates are some examples generated by environmental impacts. Though these facts are not questioned in the interview, Prashan adds that understanding them would help you compare, comprehend, and apply them in your job.



The second phase of the A.P.E. approach, Preparedness, discusses getting prepared and geared for the job. Once you are well aware (Awareness), you should be ready to go for it; to face the interview, the job, and proceed further in the job. "There is a technique identified to make this phase achievable, termed as A.S.K. Yourself approach," continues Prashan Costa with one more exciting tactic for us.


A.S.K. Yourself Approach (Attitude, Skills, and Knowledge)

K-Knowledge:  Talking about knowledge, if you are someone already pursuing a degree or diploma, you will most likely have the opportunity to thoroughly understand your particular profession. When trying to gain knowledge, a straightforward thing you can do is, while doing assignments or reports, try to extract the essence of it rather than merely finishing it off and submitting it. That doesn't mean you have to memorize the theories; try to absorb the purpose and the knowledge of it, and you'll get there!". 
"Because knowledge isn't power, applied knowledge is power!" shares Prashan reflecting upon his years of experience in the corporate world and lecturing.


S-Skills: Today, as obtaining a degree has become more standard for everybody, one aspect you can focus on to stand out or differentiate yourself is your skills. Communication skills fall under that one crucial skill because communication skills are vital in many scenarios, including emails, interviews, presentations, and professional progress in the corporate world. This does not necessarily imply that you should be fluent in English alone but also in communicating it.
The next skill is interpersonal skills. You can coordinate and collaborate well with your coworkers or team. Similarly, leadership and time management skills are some soft skills that should be developed and enhanced while pursuing your higher education, and you should make a conscious effort to do so.


A-Attitude: Now, getting to the most crucial component out of the three, the 'Attitude,' is the most significant aspect, and it is vital in the corporate world to look for the person with the right attitude. Self-confidence, Self-motivation, Commitment, Enthusiasm, Integrity, and Honesty are samples of perspectives that cannot be trained. It is the combination of what a person is born with and what they absorb from their surroundings.

"As most people say, 'Hire for the attitude, you can train for the skills and knowledge. Business leaders today look at the business environment this way. Because attitude was you possess and that gets tested multiple times in your work as to how you will deal with difficult times with optimism. So, simply everything depends on your attitude", says Prashan.

Tips on Winning Your Dream Job!
Now, if you're towards the completion of your degree/diploma and intend to apply for a job after being prepared with the necessary awareness, skills, and knowledge (A.S.K.), there are a few more essential factors to consider. Preparing your CV is one of them. When it comes to C.V.s, the style and format might vary from person to person. Some C.V.s are two to three pages long, while others can be only one page, but both include all of your accomplishments, education, and competencies. The critical point to remember is that your CV should be at a level that allows you to achieve a competitive edge in the organization where you apply.

The second recommendation is that, rather than preparing for an interview after receiving a call, it is best to study how to prepare for an interview beforehand through LinkedIn Learning and YouTube videos.
The 'Internship' is another option provided by your university/institute. This is also an essential element that can enhance your professional career because it allows you experience, exposure, the last grasp of how organizations operate, and an overall understanding of the job. If you secure an internship at a good company, gain the right experience, and enhance your competencies, there is a good chance that the same company will retain you as a permanent employee. If the same organization does not hire you, you can still leverage your experience to get hired by another, shares Prashan.



Execution is the final component of the A.P.E. strategy. Once you get the job, how you perform it is explained in the Execution.   Defined, this describes how you will do your job once you are recruited. So, during the first 90 days, the employee may assume specific tasks as their duties, but there may be instances when they are required to complete more short work than expected. Sometimes the peer pressure from striving to outperform your colleagues and coworkers can cause panic. "But, don't worry, it's a universal issue. Everyone faces it and goes through it", says Prashan. So, at first, you may walk that path and make mistakes, but what matters is how you learn from your mistakes and ensure that the same error does not repeat.

"In this stage, during the initial days of work, you should be like a sponge," says Prashan with an interesting fact, and continues, "and try to absorb everything. Because the experience comes with time and exposure is what you gain when you face different situations and experience the different experiences and knowing how to use them when you face a similar situation."

"At this stage, during the initial days at work, you should be like a sponge and try to absorb everything," Prashan explains, adding an interesting tidbit. "Because experience is gained over time, and exposure is what you learn when you encounter diverse situations and use those experiences when faced with a similar issue." So, when you go to your dream job, try to be a sponge and absorb every possible thing you can because someday, those experiences will be worth your career. 

Finally, you may go to a job where colleagues have been in the organization before you or have been there for 10 or 20 years. Going to them and learning from their experiences is one of the best things you can do here. You should be able to acquire and expand your expertise from their work experience, job approach, or whatever that will enhance your career. This is also a crucial facet of your job, which is included in the Execution stage.

The most important thing to remember from everything I've said is to enjoy your job, to do it joyfully, and that's what matters, shares Prashan genuinely. As the phrase goes, "a little of something goes a long way," doing small things like greeting and smiling at your juniors and lower-level staff as you enter the office is also essential. As I stated previously, such actions bring a positive approach to Execution.
Therefore, following the A.P.E. approach, you will be fully equipped to enter the corporate world. What is expected in a corporate position is that the gap between university and job should be reduced. Once that gap is closed, you may begin your corporate career successfully, and that start is crucial as it will lead you to advancement throughout your career, concludes Prashan.