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Is a degree a good investment?
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009
Posts: 3079
Location: Mostly SE Asia
4173 ants

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, no, and no again. You do NOT need a business degree to run a successful business. And I say that as a person with a Master's degree (with distinction) in business from a well-respected Scottish university.

I know loads of people who run successful businesses and I would be hard pushed to come up with any names at all of any of them who have a business degree.

Having done the business degree, I can tell you that much of the content of the course wasn't in the least bit relevant to my own little business. I don't need to know about supply chain management, PKI (I've forgotten what that means now, although I had to do an entire module on it), and loads of other stuff that had no relevance to my real life business.

Sure, some of it was useful, such as learning about bench-marking, SWOT analysis, etc. But I could probably just as easily have learned about such things by reading business books and hanging out on the right places on the Internet. A member here, Adi, runs a successful blog and forum for business people (I don't think he has a business degree, not sure about that). His place is really great for discussing business issues and keeping up to date with all the latest business and management issues.

There again, I'm speaking as a Brit. Having lived in various countries, including Pakistan - where you're posting from, John Smith - I do understand that a "degree" is necessary for the most junior of jobs in many industries.

I enjoyed dinner at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel in Penang (Malaysia) last week and was impressed by the waiter. I asked him how long he'd been working there and encouraged him to tell me a little about his background. It turned out he only had trainee status, but I wasn't in the least bit surprised to hear that he had a degree in hospitality and catering. In some countries, like yours, you do need a degree - even to be a trainee waiter. It's what you need to get in the door.

When I worked in Pakistan (Peshawar) every one of the guys working under me had commerce-related degrees. Most of them were doing basic book-keeping and not much more. The guy I eventually managed to train up to take much of my job away from me (no worries, I got a sideways move to another job in the same organisation) had a degree in engineering and yet he got promoted to being the manager of a large finance department. He deserved it and he was the only one of them who could have done that job.

You need to realise that things work differently in different countries. Asia is quite different from the West. I love Asia, which is why I've chosen to spend my life in various Asian countries, but you need the experience of living in both the East and the West to understand the differences and to be able to be effective in both.
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