Why Investing in Yourself in Tough Economic Times Allows You to Come Out Riding The Wave

In the year 1983, it was time for a young couple belonging to a lower-middle-class family to get admission for their elder son in Grade 1. Living in a rented home, just about to make ends meet - the mother wanted both her sons to go to the Best Boys School in Mumbai, although they could not afford it. A school with alumni, of the likes of Ratan Tata, Shashi Tharoor, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Niranjan Hiranandani, and many more stalwarts... still she garnered her inner strength and set off to do the impossible and got both her sons admission into the school. A feat in itself...

This I must say was the easier part, paying the fees on time not so easy! From the cutting of any add-ons for self to taking personal loans at high-interest rates - they did everything to ensure that their children have a bright future. Whilst both didn't live long enough to enjoy the success of their children - their children I must say have done them proud and every day they look up in the sky with a smile to be continued to be blessed and loved by them. I share this story with you, as I wanted to share the importance of education and sometimes the sacrifices that go in getting them which as a child one may or may not appreciate.

Now jumping right into the headline of my thoughts today - why is it so important to invest in yourself when the economy is down, every rupee is important... why not wait? To answer this question, I will ask another question - When do you look to invest in real estate, shares, gold, or even something as small as a refrigerator? You make the investments when the market is down when the pricing for the real estate or shares is when you think is at the lowest or when there are festival discounts to get the best deal on electronics... similarly when the economy is down, it is the best time picking up a new skill, upgrade your education, get a new degree, go for your Masters or for your Doctorate.

Why? Because when you are about to complete your new degree or learning you will be entering the market which would be on the rise. When the market is rising, it offers you more career opportunities, more options, and better rewards for your skills. You are also more equipped worldly and more employable.

Sharing a small video by Ana de Armas y Villada which talks about the importance of education at all levels...

COVID-19 has disrupted the business from its usual to making it unusual for institutions, colleges, and universities. Not only have they had to shift to remote learning - like yesterday, but institutions are also suddenly grappling with grave financial challenges as the domestic and global economies may now face what looks to be a major recession.

Referring a recent article by Deloitte - 'history shows that colleges and universities often see enrollment rise during periods of economic distress' although this time around there will be a delay in students meeting financial commitments due to the lockdown and it will be important for the Institutions to offer relief in the form of staggered schedules to support the students, allowing them some allowances due to the lockdown. These actions will not go unnoticed and I feel will be truly appreciated by most students.

I believe, on the whole, there will be a bump in enrolments but it will also mean that it will be important for the institutions to bump up the student services. It will need to guide and prepare the students to be more employable, teach life skills, make them realize that it is important to be able to multi-skill and most importantly network and yield from the networking opportunities that the institutions provide.

I would also take this opportunity to urge both returning students and incoming students not to get distracted but focus on academics, focus on their grades, focus on learning new skills in this lockdown. There will be negative influences that will be there in your company, in your peer circle, they will find reasons to distract you, make you find reasons to find faults - AVOID THEM. One of my students, in her recent LinkedIn post, dwelled on the negativity of many and how it is important to be an encourager and have a positive mindset - so true, please ensure you have a positive mindset and a learning attitude. Use your time on campus to learn from peers, alumni, faculty, and industry experience opportunities.

Many of the returning students will be going for Industry Exposure / Paid Internships, grab this opportunity with both hands and try and get your pre-placement offers. Your placement team should be your best friends if they do not make them.

As I look to conclude my thoughts and close the article - I repeat, I strongly believe that students and professionals need to add substance to themselves during the downturn, take the opportunity to build your credentials, use the next two years to set yourselves on the right track. 'Remember what you do today will impact your Tomorrow'

I for one, am trying to create a culture that is for the students and to be there for them as their leader to help them with the baby steps they take to enter the corporate world. With a philosophy that revolves around the 3F's Fair, Firm and Friendly - with Fair always coming first, I am sure we will help the future of this country achieve great things.

I would like to conclude in the words of Benjamin Franklin - 'An Investment In Knowledge Pays The Best Interest'

About The Author:

Nasir Shaikh - CEO, Lexicon Management Institute of Leadership and Excellence | TEDx Speaker | Passionate Leader and GolferThe author is the Chief Executive Officer of Lexicon Management Institute of Leadership and Excellence part of the Lexicon Group of Institutes which has focused on Excellence in Education over 13 Years and counting...

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