Its You … Not Your Degree That Matters

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By Conrad Alvin Lim

I don’t totally agree with the headline but the overall piece is good. Your degree may be a useless bit of paper but the education is something you will need unless you picked a major that is not relevant to your passion.

Your upbringing will be your next qualification as it will determine your attitude (rather than a qualified aptitude) in getting that first job. Your personality will be the next qualification (especially in finance) because making money is not the only requirement – financial management is the determining factor because your financial habits will dictate the kind of salary you are demanding and employers would rather employ someone who is prudent rather than lavish.

Then come your mannerisms, sociability, etiquette and humility. You can argue the points all you want but I am proof that such qualities do get you jobs rather than your qualifications – I am a dropout – because I got hefty paycheques as an employee and as a employer, these were the kinds of qualities I picked over qualifications. I have done it all and seen it all from the other side and my graduate peers were always curious as to why they lost out to a dropout.

Many SG University graduates may feel that it was a waste of time and money only because they took the MOE route which is really lengthy and costly. Most do so probably for the prestige, other because of influence and for some the higher possibility of getting a government based job only to lose out to those who took a more efficient route via off-shore universities that can cost much less. Some of these local graduates also have a strong sense of entitlement that make employers pass them over for the graduate that was exposed to foreign challenges under humbling circumstances.

This will forever be an endless argument between those who do and those who don’t but the results at the end of the day are very clear – its the local graduates that are unhappier and more demanding whereas grads from off-shore universities tend to be more satisfied and gainfully employed in the private sector as their wage demands are easier and more realistic to meet.

I particularly like the end of the article – It is ok to fail.

This is something most SG graduates have a hard time accepting. Private graduates don’t have this problem because they have failed which is why they ended up in private universities in the first place!

This article was first published over at Conrad Alvin Lim's Facebook page on 12 March 2015 and subsequently on his blog. It is reproduced with permission.


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