How to get a great job after graduation, tips from an alumnus

For Petar Buha, studying in Prague fulfilled a lifelong dream. The Croatian Czech was born in Prague, but he went to school in a small Croatian town. Since his departure, he always wanted to return to the Czech Republic’s capital city and he finally did when he came to study at University of New York in Prague.

After earning two degrees, in Business Administration and International and Economic Relations at UNYP in 2014, and a Master’s degree in Applied Economics at CERGE-EI in 2015, Buha embarked on an impressive career which landed him a job as a consultant at Accenture, a leading global information technology, and services corporation. When he is not managing data migration projects or consulting international banks, Buha teaches seminars on Microsoft Excel at UNYP. In our recent interview, Buha tells how to land a great job after graduation.

Why did you decide to study at UNYP?

There were two criteria: Study in Prague and study management and economics. The only two meaningful choices were VSE or UNYP, and I wanted to experience the international environment more than becoming just another VSE major. The choice was a good one, and I'd do it again if I could.

Why is Excel important for students to learn?

Excel is something you will inevitably need, and something which can set you apart from the rest of the job applicants. If you want to apply to the best companies and for the best jobs, a university degree is usually not sufficient. So it is important to prove to employers that you will be useful. While experience in student clubs, case competitions, or marketing contests can make a difference on a CV for a specific position connected to that experience, having a hard skill which is universal will give you an edge over the next person.

How did you start teaching Excel to students?

When I joined the workforce I realized that while education is useful in teaching you how to think, the actual skills and knowledge are rarely applied in your new profession. In consulting, you are expected to be able to pick up new things quickly. One thing which all companies tend to ask for is some proficiency with MS Excel. It's a very common and very versatile tool, used across nearly all departments and industries, and yet it usually is ignored by the standard educational systems. This gap was the reason I got into teaching Excel.

In addition to obtaining some hard skills like Excel, what advice do you have for students who will be looking for jobs after graduation?

If at all possible, get a part-time job in the field which would interest you in the future. Aside from helping you figure out what can be interesting, it will help you understand the type of knowledge you should understand during your studies. Once you get the real world experience, you will be able to identify the things you should learn because they can actually be useful in the future.

Try to get a job, not an internship, that ideally has a fixed, hourly salary, not a commission. Employers will treat you differently if they will have to pay you, and the demands will be different. Furthermore, you will understand your value in the job market and the real cost of money, something all too many students misunderstand. The sweetest moment of my UNYP studies was when I moved into an apartment that I was paying for myself, with no help from parents.

Also, recognize that most of the value of university studies is not the subjects themselves, but the environment you are in. Learn some leadership skills and tactics by group work or student clubs. Broaden your horizons by taking some subjects that are not connected to your major. Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Studying "to pass the class" will lead you nowhere. The end goal is not to get the degree, but to become a productive and valuable member of society.

What would you tell students who are considering studying at UNYP?

Go for it! It's a very different school than the typical state schools where most people in Czech Republic study. The strong international element in the university will result in a unique experience, which is becoming more and more useful every day. The relatively small size of the university will make it easy to create meaningful and long-lasting friendships with a wide variety of people. It also makes it easy to find and connect with the type of people you want to become.

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