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October 2017
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Struggles of an IBCoM Graduate

By Jessica van Wijgerden

The field of communication is tremendously popular one, however it carries a stigma of ambiguity concerning future job prospects. A successful career, economically speaking, is less likely with a communication degree. According to George University Center report from 2013, communication and journalism majors earn less than the average college graduate. Overall, the academic field collects around 54,000 US dollars annually, while other bachelor graduates would make around 61,000 US dollars. So why on earth would you choose to enter this field?

Takia Ksartryo (21) ended up studying communication through series of random events and compromises. Initially, her desire was to attend a design school in Vancouver, however her dad was uneasy about this decision. ‘’He did not think there were many prospects with a degree in design‘’, she tells me. Her father urged her to study International Business Administration, which was far from her interest in the creative industry. Eventually, she ended up enrolling in the International Bachelor of Communication and Media (IBCoM) study at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. This course seemed to be the perfect middle ground between her father and her own wishes, and they were both pleased with the decision.

Throughout her time at IBCoM, Takia did not worry about the ambiguity of her bachelor degree. She admits that within the course there was not much preparation for the work field. ‘’However, it did form my interest in marketing and branding. It opened the door to try new things.’’ The many readings and assignments slowly developed her interests. Also, the countless presentation made her become more confident and open to others. ‘’ I was very timid person before, but now I’ve become more relaxed’’ she explains. Takia reflects that there was one other aspect that prepared her for the work place; ‘’IBCoM has a lot of group projects, and it helps you to learn to adapt to another.’’ A trait that is actually quite essential within professional setting with co-workers.

After three years of endless assignments, presentation, and exams, Takia finally graduated in October. Flying caps and emotional goodbyes from the international student body concluded the ceremony. Takia, Indonesian by nationality, decided to stay in the Netherlands. Unlike her fellow students, who either went back to the home country or continued with a masters degree, she decided to jump start her career without fully realising the complexities of this huge step.

Immediately after graduation Takia began looking for internships to enrich her resume. ‘’It is more appropriate at this time in my life’’, Takia explains. ‘‘Most ‘legitimate’ jobs ask for at least 3 years of experience, and I thought shit I don’t have any. ‘’ She found a position at Headmade, where she works on the strategic and concept development of mobile apps. Takia hopes to expand her resume, gain more experience in the work place, and help her create networks.

The latter, Takia realised in her previous internship experience at Poet Farmer, is hard to create as an international student. The main language of her colleagues would be Dutch, which mean she couldn’t fully participate in. In a mildly frustrated tone, she confides; ‘‘my colleagues would often talk to each other in Dutch, and when they spoke in English I knew that it was meant for me.’’ Even though they were more than willing to speak English if she would request them to switch language, the default language would remain Dutch. Networking was hindered in a non-international setting such at Poet Farmer.
On the other hand, being an international student within the broad field of communication has its benefits. Takia is perceived as a well adaptable, flexible, and open employee within her work place at Headmade. She has lived in several places around the world and is sensitive to the multicultural diversity of a working environment. Her skills in different disciplinarians such as branding, marketing, and design makes her an attractive candidate for any creative communication industries. Right now, the problem isn’t the bachelor she obtained, but the timing. She’s a fresh graduate, with ‘not enough’ experience.

Al though experience is lacking, Takia’s many qualities in the business, media, and creative markets open op a lot of door within the field of communication. Since it is so incredibly broad, it helps to be multi-talented, but it’s necessary to also a specialist in an area. For Takia, IBCoM helped her identify her true interests within the field of communication. When I ask her what her dream job would entail, her eyes light up and tells me; ‘’ I would like to try to work in the fashion industry, like planning out photo-shoots and perhaps taking on the role of a creative director. ‘’ Her heart seems set in the direction of her ambitions.

For an outsider, communication studies might seem like vague collection of different fields with not enough financial benefits. However, for an insider it is a playing field of endless opportunities. As I discover Takia’s development within IBCoM and the work place, it is clear to me why she chose the course. The field is really only suitable for a specific type of person. It is for the flexible, open-minded, and multi-talented people who are ready to take part of the globalised and technologically dynamic world.

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