Benefits of graduating with CSUN degree varies

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Many CSUN students struggle with whether graduating with a CSUN’s bachelor’s degree as opposed to a UC or private school matters when applying for jobs.

Jagseer Sing Sagar, graduating international business major, chose CSUN because it was close to where he lives and the business department’s reputation has a good standing. He said he is not too worried about his CSUN diploma carrying much weight to his job applications.

“I think it wouldn’t carry as much weight, but it’s more about how you present yourself,” Sagar said.

He said graduating from UCLA, USC or CSUN could play a part in the hiring process, but in the end what matters most is a person’s character and personality.

Sagar said he has enjoyed his time at CSUN, but he was disappointed with the counseling he received when he first started school, which led to a longer wait to graduate.

Now that he is graduating, Sagar said his main concern is that his major might not be specific enough and could hinder him from getting the jobs he applies for.

“When I go looking for jobs and I tell them I studied international business, they ask what I’m specialized in,” Sagar said. “International business is not really specialized in anything particular. I wish I would have done another major, but I’m going to do my masters eventually so I’m not too worried.”

CSUN alumni Ruben Zaragoza graduated in 2004 with a degree in political science and managed to get a job right away with Los Angeles 7th district Councilmember Alex Padilla. Getting a job had been one of his main concerns before graduating, but an internship he took led to a position as one of the counsel aides for Padilla.

Zaragoza came to CSUN on an athletic scholarship playing quarterback for CSUN’s football team, which was later cancelled by the university. He said he had other options for school, but chose CSUN because he already lived in the area and it was more economical to stay in the Valley.

Zaragoza said his time at CSUN was a positive experience. He was not a student who joined any clubs or fraternities, but felt fortunate to have been able to play sports at the university, he said.

“It was a great opportunity and a great school,” Zaragoza said.

He said he felt his time at CSUN prepared him for the professional world and that he still keeps in touch with some of the professors at the university.

For international student Sebastian Blasco from Sweden, the choice to come to CSUN was primarily financial, due to the high tuition fees international students pay.

“CSUN is relatively cheap compared to most UC’s,” he said.

He chose CSUN particularly because among the CSU’s, the university had a good reputation for their business program, he said.

Blasco said, however, he wished the business department would restructure some of the classes they offer. There are not enough practical examples used in certain classes. Instead, a lot of theory is taught, which a student can go and read by themselves in a library if they want to, Blasco said.

Blasco said he will go back to his home country directly after he graduates this summer and forfeit the one year of eligibility international students have to work in the United States legally. Spending time with his parents is more important to him, he said.

“I feel I’ve been here for a long enough time already,” said Blasco, who has been studying at Santa Monica College and CSUN for four and a half years combined. “I’ve been away from my parents for a very long time and they are not getting any younger, so I want to go back as soon as I can to spend as much time as possible with them. That’s worth more to me than working over here.”

Blasco will return to Sweden in September and hopes to get a job in the logistics industry. One thing that could slow that process down is if he will be forced to take some complementary courses at a Swedish university when he moves back. That is what he has heard from people over there, which makes his Bachelors of Arts degree more of a disadvantage than an advantage, he said.

It is not the scenario he pictured when he began his studies.

“It’s something that I realized more through time by talking to people,” he said. “After seeing the level of education that they have over here at the university level, you hear from most people that it’s at a higher level back home.”

Blasco said despite all that, he does not regret coming to America to study.

The biggest lesson he learned from living in the U.S. the past few years is “that life is not about how much money you make,” Blasco said.

Johan Mengesha can be reached at johan.mengesha.61@csun.edu.