Kenyan lecturers are threatening to go on strike again and University of Nairobi is indefinitely closed once again. Opinions aside the impact this has is on students who cannot acquire ‘the papers’ in good time to qualify for jobs.

I’m a firm believer in recruiting the person for their non-academic ‘features’ – attitude, communication, loyalty and curiosity to name a few. Soft skills and transferable skills matter more than a degree or diploma more often than not. Experience is also becoming more and more relevant when we sift through the chalk to find the cheese (I love my cheddar!). So here are my 5 suggestions on what university students (and those who want opportunities in the fast-paced working world) should do while campuses become or remain ghost towns.

1. Advanced MS Excel.

Find a way of learning the analytical features of Excel that make it one of the most powerful software I’ve ever come across. You don’t need to know about the Cloud, Bitcoin or Block chain technology to make Excel skills a vital selling point. Do you know about pivot tables? How about macros?

Don’t be ‘yule msee’ that uses a calculator and then enters the answer into column C to calculate the sum of data in columns A and B! I’ve seen it!

By the way, taking part in the Global Management Challenge can help you learn, build and practice these advanced Excel skills.

2. Digital marketing and social media

All marketing now happens on social media. Yes, but do you know how to structure that post to make an impact? Do you know about targeted messaging? Do you have a strategy for your marketing so that you get maximum return for minimal investment? Whether you’re looking for employment or running your own venture you’ll be marketing yourself or your product/service.

Don’t be that guy who posts murdered English on Facebook in the name of social media marketing. Be strategic and targeted. Learn how!

By the way, taking part in the Global Management Challenge can help you learn about marketing strategy.

3. Basic Accounting

If you can do double-entry bookkeeping for your personal finances eventually that’s going to translate into basic accounting for your employment or business venture. Start doing it now so that you don’t have to pretend like you know how when your boss or the bank asks you for it. There’s some great web-based apps and free mobile apps to help you keep these records but the learning is in the fundamentals – back when accounting was done by hand!

By the way, taking part in the Global Management Challenge can help you learn about Basic Accounting.

4. Go Camping.

And leave your mobile phone behind. Connecting with nature is the only way to reset your brain and body clock. Leave behind the distractions and stresses of urban life for two days and see what breathing oxygen more deeply does to your mental clarity.

I once had a herd of elephants come through our camp in Laikipia. I didn’t dare open the tent door but I could feel the grace of those elephants as the low pitched rumbles hurtled through the ground beneath me and into my spine. Perspective!

By the way, taking part in the Global Management Challenge also gives you perspective on work life balance. Or sometimes the lack of balance. It will help you navigate your future work and life.

5. Watch Game of Thrones Seasons 1 to 6. Again.

GoT has a great story line with so many different characters. But there’s lessons in management and strategy from everything that goes on. Read this blog for an insight into what I’m asking you to seek out – you’ll never see GoT as just a medieval story again.

(Season 7 was a rush job and came with an anti-climax. Don’t watch that again.)

By the way, every job and every business feels like your own Game of Thrones. Even your GMC team will go through chivalry, mistrust, disloyalty, bias, underestimation, over-confidence, blind faith and a whole bunch of other descriptive words for GoT characters. Are you sure you want to be like Jon Snow or Khaleesi? Find out by taking part in the Global Management Challenge.

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