Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Do you really need college degrees to be successful?

When you look at the world's most successful men, you find most of them are college dropouts and don't have a college degree. The likes are Bill Gates, Azim Premji, Dhirubhai Ambani, et cetra. Does this mean to be successful in today's business world, college degrees are not a necessary ingredient? Then why do corporates stress on employees possessing a valid college degree ?

Bob Rosner from ABC news writes :

My undergraduate years were a valuable time for me. I learned how to do my own laundry, how to drink Jell-O shots, how to use a cafeteria tray as a sleigh, how to kiss with one leg on the floor, how to cram all night for a test and how to forget everything the moment that the test was over — all helpful skills to possess, sort of.

Just last week I talked to a woman who had run an office for two U.S. senators, been a successful entrepreneur and is currently thriving in an entirely new career. She accomplished all of this without a college degree. Yet, there are many jobs that she cannot apply for.

That does leave us with a problem. If we are going to level the playing field in terms of those with, and those without a college education, how will we decide who are the better people to hire? We'll have to look at each person and not use a convenient, and often inappropriate, yardstick.

A few considerations: What has the person accomplished at work? How do the people they've worked with feel about his or her contributions? Has the person traveled abroad? Has the person done volunteer work? Does he speak another language? Does she know what's going on in the world? Does the person understand your industry and its competitors? I would argue that all these are more reliable measures of what a person can contribute to your organization than a tired, old piece of sheepskin.

Click here to see Bob Rosner in an exclusive interview with ABC news.

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