College experience vs work experience

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Picture this. Two identical candidates walk into your office for a job interview. The only difference between the two candidates is one has a resumé with four years of experience, the other has four years of college.

Which person do you hire (or consider)?

OR

There’s another way to ask the same question. Two identical candidates walk into your office for a job interview. The only difference between the two candidates is that one of them studied how to manage meetings, in a classroom of 50 students and the other actually had the experience of managing meetings in a room with 50 people (excuse my not-so-great business jargon)

Which person do you prefer? 

This is a very interesting question I was asked by my sister who just recently completed her Bachelor’s in Business Administration. By “just” I mean, it took her 5-6 years to complete her degree in Business. She wasn’t backpacking around the world or partying in clubs spending her dad’s plastic. She was simply working, like most young adults who started working right after high school and never stopped. At 26 and brilliant communications and relationships skills, she has 11 years of work experience and is considered one of the best teachers in the city.

When employers look at her resumé they look at her work and degree may or may not come. Now don’t get me wrong, a degree is important but the question is HOW important?. The question also is, is a college education the ONLY investment or ONE of the investments?

I am a South Asian and a Pakistani. In my society and culture, a degree is a life and death situation. You lose your worth if you have not spent your early years in college and gotten a degree even if you have no idea what you are going to do after that degree and what your path really is in life. It is like “when in doubt, wear red, when in confusion, go to college”. Even after you become a successful entrepreneur choosing your own path, it takes a huge amount of struggle to make the community and in most cases your family recognize the worth you carry. Asian societies will carry the notion and teach you that studying is always done in the classroom and the path to education is only college.

We also tend to value two professions the most: Engineering and Medicine. I doubt it would matter if parents could see the future and could see that their kids were instead brilliant musicians with money and fame. In their minds, Engineering and Medicine are followed by: success, wealth, family reputation and a great spouse (edit: beautiful or handsome).

My point is, it is time to realize that textbooks are not the only source of knowledge and education. I recently read an article on the internet (the first part of my question is from that article) that discussed the radical idea that college is not important at all and presented *4 brilliant reasons not to go to college*.. It makes some great points; the one-line summary of it is that if you think you don’t need a college degree to succeed, then take your hard work, ambition, skills and make something out of that.

To answer that question, if I’m an employer, it will not matter if a person comes in without a degree. But it WILL matter if that person has a PhD and zero management skills.

This is the end of rant. Answers and opinions are appreciated.

Thank you for listening

MI-

4 brilliant reasons not go to college

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Author: Rabail Jehan

Passion for neuropsychology and research, interested in Business and Accounting, with Rock Climbing and Hiking as side hobbies. I am a 21 year old lady definitely NOT living in my mom's basement. This Blog is about anything and everything. You will see the serious side of me, funny side of me, random side of me and sometimes (I hope not always) the boring side of me. Makeup, politics, entertainment, current affairs, family and music you name it. I am thrilled to be a part of such an amazing blogging family and I appreciate ANY suggestions and constructive criticism. This is for you. Currently in the process of setting up a multi-service business. When I strike rich (soon!) Ill start giveaways too, watch out!! *wink wink*

4 thoughts on “College experience vs work experience”

  1. I feel the same way in how you said college is make or break. I live in the US and all of the people I know either joined the military right out of High School or went to college. I went to college though not really knowing what I wanted to do in life but got a degree. I think their is definitely viable importance in having a degree because it gets your foot in the door to more jobs. But work experience is better valued because you’ve been around the block. It depends on what you’re trying to become I guess. Very insightful post, look forward to reading more of your stuff 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! You are right. Of course the importance of the knowledge and skills you gain being in college cannot be denied but I feel and second you that work experience is highly valued. I am 21, after my Alevels I really had no idea what to do with my life so I started working and have been working. I have always been interested in Business and I feel this is the right time I should get into it because Im at that age where you can easily bounce back from the failures. Thank you again and forgive me I saw the comment late, being a beginner blogger on a smartphone is a hard job. Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As an educator, I am excited that you are asking these questions. I think too often we push our young people into getting degrees before they have any notion of how the working world operates or any clue of which career would be a good fit.
    Until we redesign high schools (and middle schools) in ways that allow learning to happen in authentic ways that give students a sense of how the world works and then it would make a lot of sense to encourage young people to work for a while before choosing a career. Then, after some informed decision making, decide what path will get you there.
    I am a huge proponent of education and college–but too many people are being saddled with mountains of debt for degrees that are not getting their feet into the right doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Melissa. Thank you very much for the comment and I feel exactly the same. Here, and I hate to say this, it is a mess. We focus too much on classrooms and textbooks and leave real-world experience for later when it is really important for our young people to be out in the real world.

      I discussed this with someone who worked with high school counselors and he told me that when he asked one of them whether the kids they encourage to apply to colleges right after high school know if their choice of degrees will even give them their favorite jobs or what scope it has, the high school counselor shrugged and said “we don’t want the kids to know that”.

      In my opinion, work experience is equally important and should be considered necessary. I finished my high school in 2014 and while my friends will wear their graduation caps in may, they still havent figured out what to do with their lives while I have 4 years of work experience.

      Like I said, it is better to see college education as one of the important investments. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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