Pias(alias) was an English literature student at the University of Rajshahi. After casually spending the first three years of university life, he then realized it was too late to work on his CGPA.
Like many other students with below-average CGPA, he too became worried about his future. Time passed by and so did his tension.
Is low CGPA then end of the job world?
Pias had never been a part of any club nor did he attend any conferences like a career-oriented student of his age did. During the final year of his studies he, out of curiosity, participated in a student-police leadership program; a program arranged by Bangladesh Center for Communication Program in collaboration with the US embassy.
His problem-solving ability within a short period of time as a participant was highly appreciated by the program coordinators. The organizers who invited curriculum vitae from participants, later on, asked Pias if he could be a language assistant to ICITAP, Department of Justice of US embassy which was working with Bangladesh Police Academy at that time.
Though he was still a student, he agreed to work with them to gather some experience. After completing his studies, he became training coordinator of the Us Embassy's ICITAP wing because of his performance.
There are 138 universities (public and private) in our country. Not all the students graduating every year from these universities are toppers or have a CGPA 3 or more. A lot of them feel helpless and worry about getting a job.
"Low CGPA might bother you initially when you are trying for a job. But a CGPA above 3 is not mandatory unless you want to go for a bank job or in educational sector" said Pias.
He thinks, with a low CGPA, students have to be strategic while making decisions.
He listed problem-solving, time management, and good communication skills as important criteria in the job sector.
"If you want to go for a government job then you have to study accordingly whereas, in private sectors, you need to have faith in your own creativity and capabilities," said Pias.
He added, "Corporate offices get involved with university clubs these days as a part of their marketing strategy. If students look into university club activities, it might give them ideas about what is trending in the outer world."
Nabil, being an arts students, graduated in 4 years, but it took his friend Akib (alias) 6 years to graduate as a civil engineer from a reputed engineering institute. After completing studies, Akib was worried whether he would land a good job with a low CGPA or not.
He is now working as project manager of WASH in Dhaka Ahsania Mission.
One of his acquaintances informed him about the vacancy in Ahsania Mission. He applied for the job and completed the four-stage interview process. He started working in a project in 2017 which ended in a year but he was appointed in another project and has been working there for last two years.
From his experience, he thinks, attending job fairs is effective as it lets people know about the varied opportunities that match their competency.
"Other than looking out for opportunities, knowing more people and having links are important in our country," said Akib.
How much do the employers care about your CGPA?
Chief Human Resources Officer of bKash Limited - Md Ferdous Yusuf, thinks candidates' CGPA is nothing but an indicator of how result-oriented and organized they are and how much of foundational knowledge a candidate already has.
"Nevertheless, bKash's recruitment policy does not only look at CGPA, rather we try to assess the personality traits/attributes of the candidate through the interview or assessment process," he said.
According to him, skills, qualities, and experience are important attributes that are not always captured by one's CGPA.
The DGM, Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition department of bKash - Rashedul Amin, said the treatment of students with lower CGPA is different based on the discipline. He thinks the treatment of a student with a CGPA below 3 from literature, business studies, and engineering will differ.
He suggested students make a stronger profile with extra-curricular activities as recruiters look into additional qualifications in case of lower CGPA. Other than that, acquiring knowledge and responsibilities about the company before going for an interview can help anyone to make a good impression.
Ahmed Tahsin Shams, director of Avant Grade production who is also a faculty of Notre Dame University thinks, at present, skilled workforce means to have command over 3Cs- commitment, creativity, and convincing power.
"In short, CGPA is hardly taken into consideration in case of appointing an employee as it cannot validate the 3Cs. But, in Bangladesh's context, if one aspires to be an academic or researcher, one must take CGPA into account," he said.
However, there is always hope as students with lower CGPA can overcome the limitations of working on the core "3Cs".
"There are lots of methods and approaches to develop these 3Cs skills during ones 'schooling' time. However, better late than never!" he said.
Additional skills to help the students
Sheikh Nahid Neazy, an associate professor of Stamford University thinks CGPA will no longer be a standard of measuring one's capability after 10 years.
"In the case of the job sector, skill is the most important part. Scholars criticise our education system as it fails to provide skilled professionals," said the professor.
He said, sometimes, students with good grades join different courses after graduation to improve skill which is a system loss.
So, students with lower CGPA can get an upper hand on the job sector by developing their technical skills. They can develop skills according to their inner passion.
Having a good command over Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can help them.
"Knowledge over graphics designing, video editing, photoshop can add value to their resumes. They can attend online courses on how to give a good presentation" he said.
He thinks, if someone works on interpersonal skills it will help in job sectors regardless of low CGPA.