Foreign degrees worth more

Graduates from universities in Poland are not well prepared to perform professional duties.

Nearly 70% of this year's high school graduates believe that university college improves one's chances of finding a job. At the same time almost 90% of them agree with Polish employers that graduates from colleges in the country are not well prepared for professional work – according to a study commissioned by Polish Open University. Students say that their knowledge is too theoretical, also they have insufficient experience necessary to get a job. Most surveyed claim that foreign degrees are more welcomed on the Polish job market, among other things, because foreign universities adopt a more practical approach in preparing graduates for employment.

Students form Poland try to determine whether intensive studying and high grades mean more than acquiring skills and job experience or the other way around. According to the study commissioned by Polish Open University 68 percent of college students and high school graduates believe that a university diploma significantly increases one's chances of finding a job. At the same time only 13 percent of them said that a diploma of a Polish university provides better opportunities than a foreign degree.

Second most important reason to graduate form a university (60 percent) is the fact that educated employees are paid better. Going to a university, above all, is an investment which is to bring real profits in the future – increase one's chances of a well-paid job. 

What does studying abroad look like? At universities in Great Britain, which are said to be the best in Europe, studies are to answer the needs of the job market. Thus, classes include elements which are indispensable for a given job. The basic advantage the British universities have over the Polish ones is the fact that they have a unique way of combining academic knowledge with practical skills necessary in the course of further professional career - says prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Bartosik, Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Research Affairs POU.

University degree is a usual prerequisite for each candidate for a consulting position. Diploma of a prestigious university is a signal for us that the candidate mastered basic skills and has an interesting intellectual potential – says Bartłomiej Owczarek, partner at Goldenberry, a consulting firm. Assessment of universities depends on the presence of practitioners among teaching staff and emphasis on practical application of knowledge – adds Owczarek.

Sometimes a foreign degree is an advantage as it shows being open for other manners of thinking and solving problems. In today's global business it is very important. Employers find the practical element of education acquired at a university the most significant – explains Agnieszka Szczerba, CEO at G-Force Recruitment recruitment company.

Students are well aware that employers pay attention mostly to their experience. Statistical graduate form a Polish university is not prepared to work, according to employers. These deficiencies cannot be compensated by a high grade point average or an interesting topic of Master Thesis.

University students asked to indicate the reason of such state of affairs most frequently indicated inappropriate system of teaching in the Polish universities. Nearly 68 percent of respondents said that the knowledge they gain during classes is too theoretical. Contrary to British or American universities, Polish universities focus on encyclopedic knowledge which has no application in everyday work. There are not enough classes during which students could learn how to use theory  in real situations. Almost as many surveyed (67 percent) said that employers do not want to hire graduates with no professional experience. 

For us valuable experience may only be gained when working in a company where young people can face real expectations of the highly competitive market. We are looking for candidates who combine demanding studies in prestigious universities in the country and abroad with professional experience gained thanks to student apprenticeships and stays – explains Bartłomiej Owczarek from Goldenberry. To a greater or lesser extend universities can help their students in applying for apprenticeships, certainly foreign universities have an advantage here. Flexible system of classes which allows to combine education with gaining early work experience is also very important. 

The research commissioned by Polish Open University indicates also that according to students British diplomas are most valuable on the job market. Obviously, not every student can afford to study abroad. People who for various reasons do not want to go abroad to study do not have to settle for a Polish diploma. POU makes it possible to get a diploma of a prestigious British university being here, in Poland. What is more, classes and lectures are in Polish – says Krzysztof Bartosik from Polish Open University.

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