By Dr Olga Kandinskaia
If you are not familiar with the legendary quotes of Yogi Berra, you must be seriously wondering what this headline means.
A uniquely successful baseball catcher with the New York Yankees for almost two decades, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, Yogi Berra also became known as the most quoted sports figure in history. Why? Was he a great speaker? No. In fact, he was just the opposite: he produced short illogical phrases of a self-contradictory nature. They would normally leave listeners shaking their heads in bewilderment, yet somehow get the point across. One of his classical quotes is: “You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
As for the “fork in the road” quote, it evolved into an inspirational statement, and has been used by many speakers as a commencement address to university graduates. Yogi Berra gave his own explanation, in 2007, when he spoke at the graduation ceremony of Saint Louis University in the US: "Dear graduates, when you come to a fork in the road, take it," Berra said. "In life, the only poor decisions are the ones you don't follow through on. When you leave here today you will have more choices than you ever thought possible."
In the pre-crisis optimism of 2007 it sounded encouraging. Today unfortunately we live in a totally different economic environment. Recent university graduates are looking around with considerable pessimism. They are entering a depressed and at the same time highly competitive job market. For many professions, in both public and private sector, the market is already saturated. Many of those choices and opportunities which existed in the pre-crisis economy for young university graduates are not available any more. The situation with youth unemployment in Europe is really dramatic. Employers these days want people with work experience and, conveniently for them, the supply of such candidates in the job market has been growing. Meanwhile, recent university graduates stand little chance. What can one do these days to get a proper career start?
One possible solution is to seek an internship. The idea of a three to six months unpaid work, provided that the company-host involves the student in an important and meaningful project, is nothing unusual in the US and Germany, but here in Cyprus it is a rather rare phenomenon. People think: why should I work for free? Think about it the other way. You get a chance to acquire valuable experience which will put you ahead of other job candidates. You may want to consider enrolling in a postgraduate management programme, such as Master of Science in Management at CIIM. The Programme will offer you several feasible advantages that will place you on a steady career path. Firstly, the MSc Management offers an optional internship – so that you could acquire valuable work experience to improve your skills and enrich your CV. Secondly, the MSc Management programme at CIIM will equip you with business knowledge that is highly practical and relevant to the current environment. Practical aspect is essential because as Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” Finally, your CIIM experience will enable you to discover many new opportunities for your future career and meet people in the business community.
Dr Olga Kandinskaia is Assistant Professor of Finance and Director of MSc Management at the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM)
CIIM is currently offering one full scholarship for the MSc Management Programme in collaboration with the Phileleftheros and the Cyprus Weekly. The deadline for applications is January 15, 2016. For more information: www.ciim.ac.cy