For those of us who stand at the crossroads of professional life after completing a graduate degree, the question is all too familiar.

“Should I just fit into the comforts of a fixed income job and be done with it? Or should I pursue that subject which captivates my interest in the halls of higher education? Or should I set myself up on a path that few dare to tread by jumping head-on into the world of entrepreneurship?”

Unfortunately (or fortunately!), the answer which was given unanimously by parents, friends and society, doesn’t seem so obvious now.

For years, a fixed income job was the dream of every middle class graduate. But with the winds of change blowing in our society and economy, the tides are turning really fast. We find our assumptions about what constitutes a successful professional life being challenged every day by talented young entrepreneurs from all fields across the nation. These youngsters seem to be ruling out the obvious choice even before they complete their graduate education. All over the country, an increasing number of graduates are willing to forgo the security offered by an employment to build a name for themselves in the booming enterprise of start-ups. A new generation is emerging, one that is bold and impatient, to venture out into the process of building the economy and make a mark of their own.

Since it seems apparent now that the risk-free option of jobs and government employments have lost a major part of their appeal, it seems justified then, that at this point we should pause to consider and weigh the choice between entrepreneurship and higher studies, which confuse many students before their graduation. Only by gaining clearer knowledge about the different skill sets and commitments that each of these require, to-be graduates can hope to make informed choices.

Entrepreneurship requires the passion to build and produce tangible results in the world and make it on your own in this huge economy. If you have spent your college years pursuing your favourite topics and can’t wait to apply that knowledge to real world problems, then entrepreneurship is for you! It must be kept in mind though that a passion for making a change is not the only necessary requirement for those who entertain entrepreneurial ambitions. One must possess the astuteness and analytical state of mind required to forge and maintain social networks. Predisposition to extroversion and a knack for effective communication, dealing with people, all kinds of people, cannot be overemphasized for an aspiring entrepreneur.

On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who has always felt irresistibly drawn to an life that affords great intellectual satisfaction over mere material success, then research and higher studies may be your calling. No other profession offers the depth and immersion in learning and the fulfillment that comes along with it. But as satisfying as it promises to be, embarking on a research and teaching career requires steadfastness and an infinite amount of patience. It may take years or even decades before the fruits of your hard-work are ripe for the picking. But there is no denying that research and education careers present an opportunity par none for the curious to become an integral part of the intellectual, spiritual and holistic progress of the society.

To conclude, both entrepreneurship and pursuing higher studies are highly popular choices for the youth of today. In the end, it comes down to where your natural talents and interests lie and how you wish to nurture them further. It’s always good to remember though, that it’s okay to try and fail. After all, as a wise man or woman once said, “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

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