Does Experience Trump Higher Education?

CAROL’S SUMMARY: Does experience trump education? It certainly can. That is why it is more important for students to plan interesting and different ways to spend their summer or winter breaks in high school than overly obsessing about their SAT score. In life, as Dr. Robert Sternberg says, you need Successful Intelligence—the ability to be analytically, creatively, and practically intelligent. Schools foster analytical skills, which are important, but the other skills you need for life success like taking calculated risks, learning new skills, stretching beyond your comfort zone and learning to work with people who aren’t like you, can propel you to job success and security.

Questions to consider:
1. What are all the things you could imagine for yourself if things could go as well as possible?
2. What are the successes as well as failures that have been your greatest life teachers?
3. How can you think about your future as a balance of education and experience?


By Matthew Vuturo
Wall Street Journal
March 27, 2009

I wouldn’t trade my education for anything. All of my educational experiences have shaped the person I am today, high school on through my business degree. Educating their children was my parents’ top priority, for which I will be eternally grateful.

But, these days, as I look around, I can’t help but feel like education is the biggest scam going. With so many accredited institutions minting fresh undergraduate and graduate degrees, the perceived value of formal education has become greatly diminished. An undergraduate degree used to represent a real achievement in life, whereas now it seems to be mere proof one has a pulse.

Like many others who went through a traditional M.B.A. program, I dedicated serious time and money to completing my degree. With a full time job and classes most nights of the week, the two years I spent dedicated to the cause was a grind to say the least. I remember a year ago now how much I believed my advanced degree would help me get my foot in the door, and in front of the right audience. I knew it didn’t guarantee me anything, but I did think it would help me stand out and get my shot.

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