- Wednesday, December 23, 2015
This truly is the age of information, an age defined by access and distraction at the same time. With a multitude of narratives and constructs thrown at the masses by individuals, corporations and governments, it is clear that it is this information overload as a result of which you find increasingly more people lacking a direction. The nature of economics has at the same time changed drastically. When one studies economics, students are taught the four factors of production. Land, Labour, Capital and Enterprise. Fundamentally, traditional economics has ignored the importance of networks however.
Even 10-15 years ago, when one would value a company it would largely be dictated by their physical assets with some consideration of intangibles such as human capital, brand value and goodwill. Today we live in a day and age where companies don’t need physical assets rather a strong intellectual and human capital base that is disruptive to existing systems and attracts a large enough user base illustrating the market potential. A multi billion-dollar valuation hence is a result of intangibles such as people, software and market reach rather than property and machinery even if you’re in the manufacturing sector, don’t think this makes sense? Have you heard of Uber, Whatsapp, SnapChat, Instagram, Airbnb, Dropbox and Spotify?How about Tesla? We live in a world where a car that clearly is a piece of hardware receives a software update that allows it to increase its range capacity on one battery charge. Our socio-economic condition has evolved to become network driven and it is this network economics above all that students should consider an Overseas Education for.
Let’s try and understand this holistically, look back at your years at school. What did it really teach you? Yes this includes the top tier high performing students too. Have you ever questioned the learning methods? Can you think critically or analytically? How about laterally?
Gaining exposure to outdated content which one then is forced to memorize in order to spout during exam-time isn’t an education, even the new age robots do better. If you are left clueless by the above questions let me assure you that what school has done for you is condition you to think linear instead of lateral, taught you what to think rather than how to think, made you literate but at the same time kept you illiterate as a result of narrow perspectives and a lack of awareness whether emotional, social, spiritual, financial or scientific. A society cannot function without order, however it cannot progress with a population that is only kept smart enough to operate the machinery but stupid enough to not really be aware of it’s own surroundings.
What’s brilliant about this network driven economy is that even the nature of learning is evolving and platforms such as Coursera are clear evidence of that. Coursera for instance provide access to those who are hungry for knowledge to be able to enroll into online courses with content that is taught some of the world’s most elite institutions. Hence, is it content that an overseas education is valuable for? Well, to a certain extent yes, however even more importantly it is the exposure to different value systems, cultures, systems and people that an overseas education is considered excellent and increasingly important for if you are to at the very least stay at pace with the changing socio-economic technological environment. That’s exactly why world-class universities are looking for candidates from diverse backgrounds, candidates that are interesting and can add value to the dynamics of their learning environment.
Although immensely important, academics are only a part of what makes an application tick, the rest is determined by the candidates outlook on how their area of learning and interest fits into the broader society as well as the applicant’s outlook on how they as an individual can leave a mark and impact their environment and surroundings in a positive manner. It is this experience of being in an incredibly innovative and exciting learning environment with people who are ambitious and driven to explore the world, counter challenges and become the global leaders each of us have the potential to be that makes an overseas education valuable.
The former president of Harvard, Derek Bok once stated, “If you think an education is expensive, try ignorance”. Well he’s absolutely right because just as today’s businesses are valued by the intangibles, a fantastic education is largely determined by one’s exposure to those intangible elements that consequently shape one’s thoughts, views and vision for the future in a healthy and positive manner. Put simply an overseas education allows you to get past the narratives that have been set up as key influencing mechanisms in your environmental stimulus, allows you to truly live and explore the world as a global citizen, a citizen of planet Earth and an expression of the universe.