Each year we invite IB alumni to share their experiences, interests and advice with our global community in the graduate voices series. We welcome Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Vitan Patel from Fountainhead School in Surat, India, who highlights key benefits of an IB education in university and the job market.
If us IB kids have a favorite topic to talk about, it’s definitely IB. In particular, it is complaining about IB. Ask any IB student “Is IB the most difficult high school course?”, and he/she would immediately grab the opportunity to prove so. If you have not yet tried it, try it at the risk of being given a million reasons for it. However, I am not writing this article to reiterate the obvious or rub salt on your wounds. I am writing this article to explain my view that as difficult as the course is, it is also highly rewarding. As the title suggests, I will provide three reasons that make me think that IB is in reality an extremely profitable investment that you can make for yourself.
Because essays do not end after high school.
“However, this is where your essay-writing experience from IB comes into the foreground.”
If you thought that your encounters with essay-writing would finally stop after IB, there is a high probability that you are mistaken. At university, you’ll write more essays and perhaps longer ones. In your final year at university, you may also have to create portfolios and/or dissertations which could range anywhere from 5,000-10,000 words. In just over four and a half months of university, I have personally written nine essays and delivered two presentations already. However, this is where your essay-writing experience from IB comes into the foreground. You are expected to deliver high quality essays, with secondary research from top academic sources only and of course, without plagiarising any of it. If you happen to use websites like Buzzfeed to support your arguments right now, please stop ASAP!
Often, universities have modules dedicated to “Critical Thinking’, ‘Essay Writing & Referencing 101’, and so on because students are generally from diverse educational backgrounds. Fortunately, you can entirely skip those modules or at least have an easy way through it because you studied TOK and have already written loads of essays without citing Wikipedia and Buzzfeed. Apart from these head starts, you will also find it easier to work on more than one essay at a time and perform under similar academically strenuous conditions.
Because CAS actually enhances your skillset
“So, if you think that all those long CAS hours working with people you do not like have gone to waste, I want to convey that you may be mistaken.”
You know how they say that performing well in academics is not enough nowadays? It is nothing but the absolute truth. At university, the average person with intentions to get employed spends a lot of time building resumes and developing skills. A very popular way to do that is to join societies and clubs which serve your interests. All these clubs and societies have various events across the year and are normally student-led, with a host of executive positions opening every academic year. From marketing to PR to socials, there is a department for almost anybody to join and put their skills to test. However, for us IB kids, it gets easier because we have already organised events and worked in teams and what not. So, because we have the experience of working collaboratively, the likelihood of holding positions of responsibility within societies and clubs improves for us.
Additionally, top employers offer insight programmes to a selected number of first-year students but do not require students to mandatorily have knowledge and/or experience in that field, the basic reasoning being that they are first-years. In these situations, your transferable skills are what elevate you from the rest. Having attended spring insight programmes at Big Four companies (KPMG and PwC), I can tell you with certainty that the room was filled with curious students skilled in public speaking, collaboration and leadership. So if you think that all those long CAS hours working with people you do not like have gone to waste, I want to convey it you that you are mistaken.
Because you use the ‘international mind’ that IB gave you
“…as IB alum, we possess the soft skills that allow us to remain open-minded, caring and principled.”
When you go to university, you will meet different people from different backgrounds. Some have lived in five countries and some have not been out of their hometown. Some have studied Hobbes, others would scratch their heads over 101-level classes because it is new for them. Some are homesick; some go out every night. Simply put, university exposes you to new ideas, cultures and lifestyles. And in between all of these, some may feel a bit out of place, but it is important to remember that as IB alum, we possess the soft skills that allow us to remain open-minded, caring and principled. It is important to keep asking questions to your lecturers, wardens or even your friends when you are in doubt. Equally important is our own ability to think critically and be reflective of our actions and thoughts.
Overall, I opine it is crucial to be able to empathise and think philanthropically because components like CAS enabled us to think about our planet and the people on it, while underlining the significance of giving back to the community.
Complaining about IB? Instead, thank it for the heads up.
Vitan Patel is an IB graduate of Fountainhead School, Surat, India. Currently, he is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. When not discussing politics, dogs or sunsets, he likes to travel and involve himself in a range of different sports. You can know more about him through his LinkedIn.
To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and now Instagram!