Education no longer follows a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Most Universities use a blended approach in the learning process, including industry talks, field visits, career sessions and, yes, -- competitions. All these activities are driven by a single goal - to make students employable in the competitive world! To be successful at any job, the candidate must be equipped and ready to take on any challenge and preparation for that begins early. University life should be educational, exciting but above all, it must prepare students for what’s coming next – Competition! As Walt Disney states “I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it.”
Research shows that competition encourages students to work harder, study further and in the process, boosts their confidence. Competition in any form can be rewarding as long as it is healthy. When competitions are introduced by means of games and quizzes, it make the entire experience fun and exciting. Group competitions encourage team work while individual competitions hone soft skills. With the sharp rise in the number of competitions organized by professional bodies and corporates along with the overwhelming response from students, clearly – competitions are here to stay.
The spirit of competition makes one outperform the rivals initially and then strive to outperform themselves. In the ‘student world’ competition is a building block that transforms potential into success while in the ‘real world’ this competition leads to innovation and new products. The revolutionary and cutting-edge products that are now a part of our daily lives, wouldn’t have existed in the absence of competition.
It’s not about winning, the spirit is enough to reap the benefits. While winning gives the adrenaline rush, failure is the best teacher - one learns what not to do. Losing may be disheartening at first, but, it must not become demotivating. And, this is where the mentor plays a critical role. The mentor must encourage the students to participate and to give it their best, yet, at the same time, be available for them when they don’t win. The students ultimately look up to the mentor for guidance and support in these circumstances.
Competition itself is not bad, it is your attitude towards competition that defines the game! If not taken in the right spirit, competitiveness can be detrimental to the development process. Unjust expectations may put unnecessary pressure on a candidate, leading to disappointment and demotivation. And therefore, competition management is key. Students today understand this, are more aware than ever and always enjoy a little challenge!