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In the Wake of Economic Downturn

The current international economic crisis is having a harsh impact in many nations. Negative growth rates are leading to the closure of businesses and the loss of many jobs. Many people from Southern European countries, including myself, have felt the negative impact with special relevance.

Living in Spain, this particularly resonates with me especially after the unemployment rate has reached 23 percent of the Spanish workforce. As a judicial bankruptcy trustee of the Commercial Courts of the Balearic Islands I have the awful task of liquidating some of those companies and experience firsthand many of the negative consequences involved.

In this context the Spanish businessmen have a vast array of potential employees to hire. Based on my experience the overriding criteria that these entrepreneurs tend to use are age, academic background, and experience. Of these three factors the second – academic background – is acquiring increasing relevance. Oddly enough considering this unpromising outlook, many young Spaniards have college degrees that have not granted them the so desired job. According to El País, one of the most renowned national newspapers, Spain is the European country with the largest amount of overqualified workers.

In this extremely turbulent environment, I have observed that employers gradually pay more attention to the quality of the universities from which their candidates graduated. Academic rankings are becoming an increasingly important tool when determining who will get the job/who will be hired.

Many Spanish graduates unable to find work in Spain, are turning their attention abroad, particularly to Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States. In these countries the education received by the student is greatly valued, in addition to their experience in the sector in which they will develop a professional career.

Rankings place Penn State as one of the best universities worldwide. The University ranked forty-fifth in the list compiled during the year 2011 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Penn State graduates are some of the most sought after by American entrepreneurs. As the periodical stresses, “recruiters say graduates of top public universities are often among the most well-rounded academically, and companies have found they fit well into their corporate cultures and over time have the best track record in their firms.” The article mentions a sample of recruiter comments that emphasize that Penn State offers “Bright, well-rounded students…with the core competencies we desire.”

I firmly believe that these results are not the fruit of chance but derive from hard work properly planned and implemented over the past years by faculty, staff, and University government. The institution along with the traditional on campus instruction has definitely focused on new technologies as a way to meet the global expectations of an increasingly interconnected world.

As a lawyer I have to deal with a hectic schedule on a regular basis. Penn State’s World Campus has provided me the flexibility to pursue a high-quality college degree without neglecting my obligations.

As the Spanish experience shows, investing in education is a serious decision. Many of you have many factors to ponder when determining which is the right choice. Trust me, Penn State constitutes a privileged option.