Oxford and Cambridge are renowned the world over for their academic excellence. Producing a disproportionate share of the world’s top academics and pioneering some of the cutting edge techniques in research, it is hardly surprising the two universities are not given the credit they perhaps deserve for preparing students for the world of work. But Oxbridge can and will help your career in ways you might not even have considered. Here is why:
What does an Oxbridge degree say about you?
A lot of the courses on offer at Oxford and Cambridge are not vocational degrees in the traditional sense of the word. With the exception of perhaps Medicine, most degrees are highly academic and not necessarily geared towards any one career path. But Oxbridge graduates still, by and large, go on to have more successful careers than graduates of most other universities, and one of the reasons for this is that holding a degree from Oxford or Cambridge says a lot about you as a person, and the kinds of skills you will be able to transfer to the workplace.
Your degree indicates you are highly intelligent, capable of synthesizing and critically analysing information with great accuracy and at a high speed. It shows you are used to communicating both aurally and in writing, and that you regularly discuss and debate ideas with top level academics. But above all, employers know how heavy the workload of an Oxbridge student is, and they recognise that, by coming out the end of the process with a degree, you are extremely hard-working, have great time-management skills and can handle a high volume of work without crumbling under the pressure. These are skills that are invaluable to many employers, and an Oxbridge education uniquely prepares you in a way few other universities can.
World-class careers service
Alongside their obvious academic facilities and resources, both Oxford and Cambridge boast world class careers services, that provide free guidance and support to all students, past and present, and take a keen interest on the destinations of those it supports. The careers services keep detailed records on a huge bank of the top graduate employers, and have libraries filled with information not only about what a career is like in each industry, but also past application forms and resources to help secure your target job.
A network of Oxbridge alumni
The careers services also like to maintain contact with as many graduates as possible, and many take part in online chatrooms and forums with current students to discuss and advise on how to get into different job sectors. A large part of success in the current job market involves the ability to network, and holding an Oxbridge degree immediately gives you common ground with a vast network of high-achieving individuals, who will be more than happy to help you get to where you want to be.
The stamp of approval
Oxbridge is often, quite unfairly, criticised as a marker of elitism, and the predominance of Oxbridge graduates in high-status positions of public life is cited as a social ill that needs to be redressed. This is an unjustified critique, and completely fails to recognise that Oxbridge is where the best and most competent high achievers go, and therefore it is only natural that a higher proportion of these individuals will go on to enjoy successful careers and occupy the top jobs in society.
What Oxbridge gives its graduates is a stamp of approval, which rightly or wrongly opens up doors that would otherwise not be open to them. It is why places are so sought after and it is why the workload is so intense. Oxbridge graduates have earnt the right to put Oxon or Cantab after their name, and whilst this unique signature is not on its own a fast-track pass to the good life, it plays its part.