We are told every day that we must study hard at school if we want to be successful in life – if we go to University that we will be very successful in our career etc. Well what do you think? Having gone to University myself – I have never used my degree in any of my occupations and yes I have had a few different roles! School – well apart from the basic’s like spelling, maths and reading etc there was a lot that was really a waste of time for me. School and University taught me social skills and how to interact with society but is it right for everyone?

I learned at an early age that “it is all about who you know, not what you know.” Education can be a good tool but it is nothing without ambition, determination and ability to learn, adapt and develop. Education simply gives one knowledge assuming they have the ability to absorb it, but that knowledge is worthless without understanding and training in how to apply it. Personally I do not believe the most important traits of success can be taught in a classroom or from a book – they must come from experience.

Think of the impressive/successful people in your immediate circle of friends today – do most of them come from a great academic background? Maybe, maybe not. I believe success depends on how driven you are and what you desire as your chosen career field, as well as how you define “success.” I do not think the majority of us would look at Bill Gates from Microsoft and Steve Jobs from Apple, (neither of whom completed University) and say they should have stayed in Uni rather than jump head first into launching their own companies. Gates and Jobs would probably be less successful had they remained at Uni, since their businesses launched at the perfect moment in Tech history.

That said though, for the vast majority of careers, higher education is an asset, if not an absolute necessity (Professors, Lawyers, Doctors, etc.) Every single time you apply for a job or promotion, your education level is going to either help or hinder your chances of success. Life is what you make it. It all depends on what one means by education. One doesn’t have to get a degree or certificate to prove that they are educated. As I mentioned above – some career options require that you have a degree, or some sort of higher education. I know I wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on me without both the qualifications and also the relevant experience; then again, doctors don’t know everything!!! So do you feel it’s best to have a relevant degree in addition to real world workplace experience since some of the other job candidates you’ll be competing with undoubtedly will have a degree?

If you have the ability and/or option to attend university, I would sincerely recommend you pursue this. It is possible to succeed in business without a higher education degree, but it certainly doesn’t hurt……especially not in this market when competition for jobs is so high and sometimes having a degree will open doors that would otherwise be closed. A good educational qualification might or might not help you in becoming a good businessman/woman but it certainly makes the journey easier in the sense that an educational background provides some kind of credibility to you. People tend to take you more seriously if you have a good educational background. But this is just in the initial stages of the business. If you have a good business acumen and a desire to excel then there is no stopping you in success. Everyone is responsible for his/her own success/actions.

Alicia Sumich – Senior Consultant

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