The Good Grad - back to basics and managing expectations Image source:

 The Good Grad - back to basics and managing expectations Image source:

With Karen Mudlay

As a graduate program develops the Good Grad emerges as a strong candidate for future leadership. It seems the key is getting the basics right and managing expectations…

After three to four years (perhaps more) of university life, individuals are often set in their ways. What are the best ways for Grads to make a transition from a university (or college) environment into a corporate one? Grads should stay open to learning as much as they can - ask questions and surround themselves with people they can learn from. They are going to make contact with people of all ages, with many years of experience and a wider range of education. Therefore they will need to adopt an open-minded approach to learning and service delivery. The working life of a consultant will require flexibility, be prepared to go the extra mile by putting in the necessary extra hours .

In one sentence can you define the objectives of a graduate program? A program that is designed to groom young fresh talent into future leaders.
Can a Grad program be viewed as a practical post graduate experience into the corporate world? It is a balance of two worlds. Acquiring your post-graduate qualification is extremely useful and certainly does assist in ‘understanding’ how business works. However, personal experiences with colleagues, clients, technical training and obtaining a certain level of autonomy in managing your own career are all part of the experience that you would not be able to learn at a university.
What should an individual be able to extract and learn from a graduate program? I think if there is anything to learn from a graduate program (apart from the newly developed technical aspects of it), would be to build strong relationships and to focus on adding value in an organisation.
Is it possible for a future CEO of a company to emerge from a graduate program? Absolutely! Ajen Sita the CEO of EY (Africa), started his first formal employment at EY as a trainee accountant.
With that in mind how should a fresh Grad manage expectations when entering into a program? I think it is important to avoid building overly high expectations straight out of varsity. Skills are certainly valuable and will be utilised however the first few years of work should be all about learning, gaining experience and coaching. While this may be the case, graduates should have a clear plan for their career growth.
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About: Karen Mudlay is a senior Graduate Recruitment Manager based in South Africa.