If your Philippine experience is anything like mine, you have already been asked for advice on education and likely a time or two been asked to help fund a student in the family. In 2008, as I write this, college age kids and their parents seem to be focusing on only two things … forego college and take a job in a BPO (Business processing outsourcing) firm … typically a call center … or go to nursing school. Filipino nurses are in demand in many countries and there is no doubt that nursing can provide a path leading well clear of poverty, while at the same time, providing a useful service to mankind.
My thoughts on this:
A. Avoid the temptation of the BPO business. These places go all out to lure young people. Some of their advertising and promo efforts wouldn’t even be allowed in other countries … promises they can’t keep and never intend to … and I feel all their offerings are tenuous at best.
Ten years ago there were virtually no BPO firms in the Philippines. The industry was all centered on India. Then, as prices and wages necessarily rose in the Indian sub-continent, entrepreneurs moved operations to the Philippines. because the Philippines was a better business environment? Hardly. Both countries have governments that are about as anti-business as it is possible to be. Because Filipinos had more English skills? Hardly. Indian public schools are far superior to Philippine public schools and students in both countries receive a lot of English education … and both require a lot of retraining/accent coaching to be able to deal with the overseas public. The businesses moved to the Philippines because Filipinos rushed for jobs at prices that Indian workers wouldn’t touch. It’s all about "cheap", otherwise all these operations would be in their home countries.
Building a business and a career on "cheap" is very short sighted. In ten year you come back and read this. Where will the nexus of BPO be then? I don’t know, but it won’t be in the Philippines … BPO salaries and costs are rising far faster than the rest of the labor sector, so the writing is certainly on the wall.
So, it’s nursing school then, right? Well not necessarily. Nursing is a calling much more than just a job. I see thousands of nursing school students who have less feel for nursing than a Jeepney driver has for traffic rules. They are in the schools simply to try and pass the exam, by any means,
(notice how in the widely publicized cheating scandal two years ago, not a single cheating student was thrown out or prosecuted? (Actually I don’t think anyone was prosecuted, despite the black eye they gave the Philippines) "Oh, you cheated? Well, we’ll just charge you a retake fee and you’ll go on with life as if cheating was a good thing. Poor you, having to pay twice". A sad example of modern morals and medical ethics)
and then get a job in the US for as little time as it takes to make what money they want to and then hurry back to the Philippines to spend it faster than they think. Now, my apologies to the students who really do hear the call of nursing, you know who you are. For the rest of you? You’ll find out just how hard it is, and how fast your money will disappear … your relatives have already mortgaged their own future to give you this chance, and I wish you the best.
So Dave’s all purpose answer to the conundrum? Well, I have no all purpose answer. I do feel though that this is a school worthy of note and a through checkout before making career decisions. Unlike the programs offered by major universities … which essentially are four years of professors with no business acumen reading out of textbooks 9often written by authors with no business experience either) this school requires all students to actual plan, build and operate a business. Upon graduation they will actually have measurable experience and more importantly, have overcome the overwhelming Filipino attitude of, "If only I could do what those others are doing’".
There’s also a good write-up here, for those of you whose interest I have piqued.