Does a University Degree really matter?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Tattoo, May 15, 2008.

  1. Tattoo macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Many people today succeed without advance degrees...

    Why? It's not what you think.

    Lately it seems that everyone and his or her brother has been going back to school to get a degree, but the importance of this higher degree is getting diluted, and it's never really been a guarantee you'll get that plum job.

    Believe it or not, the majority of CEOs running major companies in the United States do not have degrees. Research done by BusinessWeek magazine in 2007 found that fewer than 1/3 of executives who hold high level positions in corporate America have any type of degree!

    And a more recent poll conducted by University professors Aron Gottesman and Matthew R. Morey found that out of 500 top companies surveyed, only 150 had CEOs with a degree at the helm.

    The study also uncovered an interesting fact that may sound counterintuitive:
    "There was no evidence that having a person with a degree helped the stock-market performance of that firm. In fact, "there was some marginal evidence that it might hurt," says Gottesman.

    Even though tough economic times are usually thought of as a great time to go back and get some more education, plopping down big bucks on a degree in higher education doesn't mean doors will open up for you but almost always automatically creates SERIOUS debt for the student who ends up getting bad credit by not making monthly payments on time. This makes tough ecomonic times even WORSE for those who think getting in debt for a degree will make them finiancially better off in the future. Sad fact is that many get the same position with NO degree and have no worries about repayment of thousands of dollars.

    "Colleges seem to churn out Master's Degrees like tissue paper," says Joanna Smith Bers, managing director and talent officer for New York-based DB Marketing Technologies. "There may have been a time when those three letters actually distinguished job candidates from the pack, but no more. As a senior manager at a business insights management consulting firm, I have found that a Masters Degree is more embellishment than substantive."

    While there are still some jobs, particularly in the Medical or Law Sectors, where a Univeristy Degree is usually a must, recruiters and hiring managers say they're looking for applicants with real-world experience who actually KNOW something.

    A higher education degree can surely open doors, says Jonathan Mazzocchi, a partner in the accounting and finance division at staffing firm Winter, Wyman, but "experience will always trump a Masters Degree."

    Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist, has hardly been hurt by his lack of a Univeristy Degree or any formal business training. In fact, he sees his lack of business credentials as a plus!!

    Buckmaster questions the very meaning of success and in turn questions the very heart of what University programs espouse! Is it really about education or all about sucking money from students via hefty loans and NO promise of any real good paying jobs?

    And, he points out, it's "interesting perhaps that Craigslist, which has never focused on business success per se, is widely viewed as being more successful as a business than 99 percent of Internet companies that have ever existed, virtually all of which did focus primarily on being successful as a business, the large majority of which have gone bust without making a dime."

    Tom Glocer, the CEO of Reuters, doesn't have a Degree, and told me the philosophical writings of Honoré de Balzac served as a guide for him in the business world:

    "With Balzac, ideas don't necessarily only come from a very direct path. Often the bigger lessons in life get learned in slightly indirect or abstract ways. If you're thinking of a problem in a narrow space, often the solution lies in reorienting in the way you approach the problem, and you end up solving a general set of problems."

    "If you can find something that motivates you and hones your potential, that is what is most likely to help you climb the ladder. It's not the degree. It's what you do with it, a Degree is just noise."

    This is not to discourage anyone from getting a University Degree, but rather students should understand there are limits to how much any degree can really help you in real life.
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    try getting an engineering job without a degree

    or a med related field

    or to be a researcher

    or teaching

    and sooo many other fields REQUIRE degrees its not even funny

    true there are alot of jobs that dont need degrees but i will say it is a lot BETTER to have one than not

    i mean that article is like saying you dont need a degree to be a ceo. itss like highlighting all the great hs bball players that made the nba like kobe, kg, lbj, etc and failing to see all the rest that did not that jump to greatness and now are screwed in a sense
     
  3. Silver-Fox macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Im struggling to decide wether to go and get a degree or just go to work :confused: decisions!
     
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #4
  5. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    the majority of ceos in large companies are in their 50's or even 60's. they graduated at a time when pluck, savvy, a strong handshake, and knowing the right people mattered more than having a degree. For students and young people today a degree does matter, a bs or ba now is what a high school diploma was up through the mid 80's.

    while a degree may not prove that the person is successful, knows what they are doing, or even that they have the ability to learn the skills necessary to do the job they are hired for it does open doors.

    ps

    the money you can earn is not the best way to judge success or happiness.
    I worked my way through undergraduate school working full time doing oil changes, changing, and selling tires while going to school full time. I gave up the ability to become a manager or become a certified auto tech in order to go to graduate school. Staying in the automotive industry I could have made 50-60k a year without incurring any more debt for school. However, I decided to go to law school and grow my student loan debt for a job that once I graduate (if I do public service like I want to do) will only pay roughly the same amount I would have made as an auto tech. I chose happiness and quality of life which for me requires an advanced degree.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    Does this really means that if you ate 19 years old and just out of high school you could apply to be the CEO of a major corpoaton? I think not.

    What this tells you was that years ago you could get a job as a truck driver and work yor way up into managment. I think those days are over. How the 60 year old got his job does not apply to the 19 year old of today. The word is only becomming more and more technical and complex.

    There is now a good size division between those with an education and those without and the gap will get wider over time as the world becomes more and more technical and complex.

    And then there is an even bigger argument. Going to a university and getting a four year degree is not all about getting a job. Or at least if that is all you are there for you are mising a lot. There is great value is simply getting a libral arts degree, learning about life, art, the world and people has value in of itself. The best reason to go to a university is because you want ot learn something. The job it might lead to should be a side efect.

    20 years from now you will look back at the four years you spent in a universit as a great time, some work yes but overall most people think of thse years as some of the best.

    If yo had worked those same four years I doubt you will look back at that same period of time in the same way.
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    oh i beg to differ.

    i would say that the number one reason to going to school is so you can get the better job that a hs degree wont enable you. not to learn some art lol. i would say the best reason for school is to learn the subject so you can get the job. learning about the world is the sideaffect, and it is great dont get me wrong....just not the primary purpose of university in my book

    but the rest of your post (which i edited out) was great
     
  8. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

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    Nah. Memories are memories and whether you go to school or not doesn't change whether they are good or bad.

    I'd say that an education is very valuable depending on the job duty. However there are people who would be better served just hopping in and getting experience.

    In the end there's no difference between a community college education and Ivy league other than the class of friends you hang out with.
     
  9. dukebound85 macrumors P6

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    Besides the fact that community colleges are very much more restricted in terms of what majors you can pursue lol

    Community colleges also take roll and such to a greater extent than universities and dont have dorms or football teams, etc. I would say the experience is VERY different lol
     
  10. pooky macrumors 6502

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    If your only definition of success is economic success. The article (is it an article? links please?) you are quoting seems to assume as much. I have a job that I couldn't have without a master's degree. I also make much less than many people with less education. Don't care, because I like my job. You hear about so many people who hate their jobs, I'm just glad not to be one of them. Not saying you can't make a bunch of money, not have a degree, and still love your job. But in my case, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. The lower earning potential is minor in comparison.
     
  11. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

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    From a social standpoint or offerings standpoint. My point is it is a fallacy that an expensive school teaches you better. This lie has been perpetrated for too long.

    Your basketball coach may be Michael Jordan but he's not going teach you to jump any higher than what your body can naturally offer. He can teach you fundamentals.

    Bill Gates- Drop out
    David Geffen- Never went to college
    Larry Ellison- Dropped out
    William Boeing- Anyone know his eponymous company?
    Steven Spielberg
    Nikola Tesla
    Jerry Yang- Yahoo
    Michael Dell

    And our very own Steve Jobs.

    Face it. College teaches you to be a worker bee. Not the Queen Bee.
     
  12. yippy macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Clearly they didn't look at what it takes to start in a career and especially did not even glance at engineering. In engineering you need at least a BS just to keep your resume from being immediately thrown away, let alone get a job.

    Most engineers have at least a masters by the time they retire as higher degrees are all but required to go up.
     
  13. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    having gone to a top 10 university for 3 years and having graduated from a community college I can say from my experience that you do get what you pay for.

    at the top 10 school I learned to think by reading actual sources and whole books
    at the community college I learned what I was supposed to think from text books

    at the better school I could walk to a professor's house if I had a question or have supper with the dean if I had a problem
    at the community college I had to email a professor and hope for a reply and if there was a problem deal with a huge multilayered bureaucracy and then wait and pray for a resolution

    at the better school I had only essay tests where sometimes there were no right answers as long as you could explain and justify what you said
    at the community college multi choice with only one correct answer

    admittedly at the community college I had 2-3 professors that were as good or better than I had at my other school
     
  14. dukebound85 macrumors P6

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    #14
    oh i agree. im just saying that there is a difference between community college and university as they are really different from each other

    i agree that engineering learned at say wyoming is the exact same material taught at like mit

    and yes those that are smart dont need college. but to say everyone shouldnt go to college because gates or jobs didnt is unwise. just like saying to every hs bball player that is is unwise to not go to school even if kobe is a superstar without ever playing college
     
  15. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

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    #15
    You kind of have to say that or you'd be admitting that the 50+k you spent on a college education was of dubious value.

    I think there's room for success taking multiple paths. Formal education is too stodgy and boring for me. But for other people it's probably right up their alley.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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  17. Dagless macrumors Core

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    I'd say it matters. Since pretty much everyone goes to university now it really helps to get employment outside of word of mouth situations. But in the UK we're going through some equal opportunities phase which is just a bit broken (my father had to interview 5 people for 1 position. 6 "abled" people showed up who really wanted the job, however he had to remove half of them because he's required by law to interview people from ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities. Which is quite a good idea, but the 2 disabled people to show up were "forced" into it by some recruiting agency and didn't want to be there to begin with... But that's another story).

    Personally I plan on becoming a teacher in 10-20 years time so a degree is pretty much required, unless of course the rules change in the future.

    I've already got 2 degrees behind me and a couple of minor college ones and I've found it very easy to get to the interview stage. Friends who didn't attend college are nowhere now, working in terrible places for terrible money. Friends who didn't attend university tend to have good jobs too. But then again I know people who just went right to work after school and made a killing. It's not black and white.
     
  18. Doctor Q Administrator

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    #18
    If the value of a degree is diluted, it's because it's the new baseline, the way a high school diploma was a generation before. Without it, you're a step behind at the starting line.

    I don't even interview people who don't have a Bachelors degree. The value of a degree is less about the particular information they learned while earning the degree, and more about them chosing that path and having proven that they can handle college-level material.
     
  19. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

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    #19
    A person could demonstrate the same ability "without" having a Bachelor's degree. In tech they could have a cogen level of certification and realworld experience that you would pass right over for some kid that could have "breezed" through school with a stellar 2.0 cumulative GPA.

    It's a nice way to weed people out but there's little correlation between going to college and proving demonstrable ability to complete tasks.
     
  20. Streamer macrumors member

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    #20
    Having spent a good chunk of my life working for Reuters, and having escaped a few years ago, I can assure you Tom holds a degree, in fact a JD too.

    http://www.thomsonreuters.com/content/corporate/biographies/Tom_Glocer

    Soooo, this article is somewhat flawed before we begin....

    That said, I don't hold a degree, having trained vocationally in the UK where it was less of an issue here in the US, however in my case having experience and rising to a senior position in that blue-chip company makes the resume stand out.

    I also think there is too much "credential creep", even mundane jobs seem to require a high-level degree here in DC!. :eek:
     
  21. poopyhead macrumors 6502a

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    #21

    this is true but it all depends on what you want to do

    if you read one of my previous posts I had the opportunity to be a certified auto tech or become a manager
    this wasn't because of my education (they didn't care) it was because I was good with people and extremely good with cars
    I chose not to do either of these even though they would pay the same and could pay possibly more than I will make after I finish graduate school
    I chose school because of the life I wanted to have and the difference I wanted to make in the world not because of the money I wanted to make or the "success" I wanted to have

    you can not go to school and make a lot of money
    you can not go to school and be very happy
    you can not go to school and be very happy and make a lot of money
    but it all depends on the individual person and what their goals are in life

    education doesnt get you the job or guaranty success (there are a lot of stupid and inept people who graduate)
    it does however get your foot in the door
     
  22. Sun Baked macrumors G5

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    #22
    People you know have a better chance of getting you that high paying job than just having a degree.

    A typical sheepskin will get you a foot in the door with the rest of the herd.

    Being an idiot who is networking with large investors sons, kids or CEOs, etc. will get you in at a higher level with a greater chance of running a company.

    Big difference in the job you get when you interview with CEOs and Chairmen, vs. the head of human resources.

    ---

    But since we don't drive Bentley's and hang out at the club, the Degree gets you into the company much easier than a simple HS diploma.

    Even though the union janitor with the HS diploma is likely making more than you.
     
  23. mags631 Guest

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    #23
    I left my university early to pursue a job overseas. Twelve years later, I'm back in order to complete my degree. I had plenty of success without a degree, although I haven't (yet) achieved executive status. That being said, why am I back at school, taking a year off (no pay) and paying $60K for tuition and living expenses? Simply put, I value education and learning, and while it's possible to get this without going to school, those who can, should go to university, and open their minds to new and different ideas. One problem in the business world is that people (employees, managers, customers, etc.) get into ruts -- they can have a hard time considering ideas that are foreign or new. Having the knowledge (and confidence) to bridge the gap only helps in this situation. Finally, I have a daughter now -- I want her to have every incentive to go to university, and maximize her success and happiness in life.

    While there may be a significant number of CEOs without degrees, what percentage of non-degreed people do you think they represent? A thousandth of a percent? What percentage of non-degreed people earn below a "living wage"? (I don't know the answer, but my intuition suggests "a lot").
     
  24. Dros macrumors 6502

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    #24
    Why is Jerry Yang on the list? He has an undergraduate degree and MS from Stanford, doesn't he? I guess he "dropped out" from getting his PhD, but that seems a little different.
     
  25. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #25
    The certification programs lack the most importent thing yo get with a four year degree: All those general ed classes like English, math and history.

    Most companies make a devision between technicians and engineers. For example a technician is the guy who configures a Cisco router. An engineer is the guy at Cisco who designs routers. I don't think many people who hire technicians expect them to have a degree, the certificates from Cisco would be enough. On the other hand, none of the certification programs teach you how to design stuff that has never been built

    The place were I work is top heavey with PhDs. Halfof the workfoorce has an advanced degree. Still they hire people with just maybe a 2 two assoicate degree from a comunity collage. Many of these people do technical work like Graphic Arts and eletronic assembly or supporting desktop PCs.
     

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