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For your afternoon enjoyment

Tough Times at University of Texas and the rest of the world

In response to one of my prior posts a friend sent me this article which I found interesting, and thought you might as well.

My thoughts....

OK so the message of the article is, you can be succesful beyond your wildest dreams and never have a college degree. The article goes on to list a number of successful business people who either never went to college, or never graduiate. The article also notes that the longer you've been in the working world the less important your college performance is.

You don't have to go to college to be succesful
Fine Given, I've never questioned that or said otherwise, I mean everyone knows that Bill Gates never graduated from Harvard, what the article doesn't mention however is that his parents were filthy rich to begin with, which always makes things easier, getting in, dropping out, raising money, making business connections, etc. etc. (There are alot of things money can't buy, but....)

The article also mentions Dick Grasso, former CEO of the NYSE. Grasso never graduated college, an important distinction about Grasso became CEO by working his way up from the bottom at the exchange, by gaining support and appreciation from the traders. The trading floor of the exchange is a quite blue collar. Grasso was able to leverage his now infamous $140m compensation package by listening to those people, and giving attention to what they felt was important. In short he was a received the package because he was a good manager (maybe not $140m good, but that's another story).

There are exceptions to every rule, that's my point. Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer graduated from Harvard. At least 8 CEO's of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies have degrees (I couldn't find out about IBM or AIG as easily as I would have liked). In short, yes it's possible to be very successful, but a college degree can't do anything but help your changes. For most people it's the way to go, and if you have the opportunity, you're foolish not to take advandate of it.

The longer you work the less important your college past
Fine Given. Obviously the longer you spend in the workplace the more refined and focused your skills become making you a "subject matter expert" in your field, that only stands to reason. The advantage to having a college degree to start with is the large foundation of knowledge you have to build your specific skills on, not to mention the interaction with other people, learning how to learn new skills, estabilishing a network of people to draw from in the future.

I can think of very few situations where dropping out of college will place you in a better position than staying in. Take Bill Gates and Microsoft for instance, is it possible he could have started microsoft and stayed in school, possibly. By in large college can only help you along the way to happiness and success. Not to mention there are thousands of people who would benefit from a college degree who will never have the opportunity to go, which is why I don't understand why if you have the opportunity to graduate you wouldn't.

Calarification/Update -
My thoughts here are based specifically on the above stated article, which only focuses on succesful business people without college degrees. Careers outsided the business world are an entirely different can of worms, some where a college degree maybe more necessary and some where a college degree maybe less necessary, to quote the article:

William Simon, managing director of the global entertainment and media practice at the executive search firm Korn/Ferry International, cautioned that skipping college was not a good idea for most people, particularly in a fiercely competitive job market. Even the entertainment industry is now overrun with M.B.A.'s, he said
.

So does that mean you have to have a MBA to get a job in the entertainment industry? Yikes!

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