Charting your way to the top – how to strategise your career trajectory

Dr Carla Enslin


The good news from the jobs marketplace is that top companies are starting again to search for top talent after last year’s hiring hiatus.

But it is important for students, and young professionals in fields such as brand strategy, communication and business to be clear about their talent trajectory and the skills companies are looking for, because competition is fiercer than ever.

“Your studies will be a major investment of time and money. Understand from the start where you want to go, and what will be required of you to get there,” says Dr Carla Enslin, co-founder and Head of Postgraduate Studies and Research at The Independent Institute of Education’s Vega.

Prospective students too often sign up for a first degree, thinking they’ll consider what comes next at a later stage. But it’s important to understand that the point of a first degree and later qualifications is not just to notch up qualifications. Each degree has a specific function which relates to competencies required for progressively more senior roles. “Top talent is in high demand. To become a leader, you will have to compete not just FOR a position, but AGAINST other very talented people.”

FIRST DEGREE OR DIPLOMA: Equips you to do certain tasks and enables you to become competent in delivering on the key outputs.

HONOURS DEGREE: Allows you to level up by learning how to use different tools at once, particularly in relation to one another. This brings a new level of maturity within the field.

MASTER’S DEGREE: Develops ability to synthesise and develop independence. You are able to stretch a brand’s identity into mergers and acquisitions and product portfolios.

DOCTORATES: enable you to contribute to thought leadership and development of the field.

“Before setting out on your studies, or when considering postgraduate study, understand where it is that you want to go, how your degree will help you get there and what companies are expecting; then determine what you need to study and where.”

Companies seek talented, innovative, and original solutions to challenges, and work hard to find qualified, and talented professionals with a proven track record. “You have to level up to reach the top. Even for junior positions, companies interview a range of talented individuals. In today’s world, you need to be mindful of what it will require to land a position amid tough competition.

“Do your homework — look at the websites of top companies and see what they require from candidates in specific positions. Speak to industry insiders. Find out which qualifications and institutions are rated in that industry. Speak to alumni, and to the institutions themselves about the programmes and skills you will acquire over and above academic skills, which are not sufficient in today’s environment.”

“Every individual has something they can do uncommonly well. Their job is to find what that is, and to grow and develop strategically to have a competitive advantage. Creatives’ jobs are less readily automatable, so this remains a vibrant and viable career field.

“There is tremendous opportunity out there. Harnessing this requires a solid strategy based on where you want to go, and how to get there.”

Visit to find out more about their IIE undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications in design, brand, and business.

• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Get the PDF here.

Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue!

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription. For payment info click here.

Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here