Did you make it? What got you there?

What was the secret ingredient that made you successful?

The Vice President of Ogilvy, one of the largest ad-companies in the world said this week he would rather hire graduates with lower grades than those who had firsts at university.  A dramatic contrast to how we are all taught to think – that those with the highest grades are the most appealing.  So I ask you to reflect on your career today.  Did you make it because you got high grades or because of your hard work and street smarts?  

 

What was the secret ingredient that made you successful?

“The logic is inarguable: the best people to hire are those undervalued by the market,”  said Rory Sutherland in his article for The Spectator.

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His prime example drew from the theory presented in the book and movie Moneyball. the story of the baseball manager Billy Beane.   The story gave evidence that showed that the metrics historically used to determine the value of a baseball player did not best correspond to his value on the field.  In the movie, Beane made a series of hires which turned the cash-strapped Oakland Athletics into a surprise success.

“So, in the absence of any evidence that degree-class is a predictor of value, why don’t businesses follow Moneyball and hire more inventively?”

 

In fact, Sutherland mourned the incredible lack of hippies, potheads and commies exploring themselves and enjoying their youth.  

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If we look at names we know, who have risen from a wide variety of backgrounds we find both Bill Gates, Clive Palmer and Steve Jobs all ditched their university degrees to chase entrepreneurialism early in life.

While former chief of BHP Billiton, Marius Kloppers has a bachelor of engineering, an MBA and a PhD in materials science.

 

This discussion raises the conversation for over sixties of “How did you make it?”  Did you succeed because you had a private school education, a university degree, by working your way from the bottom to the top, or because you “had a go and worked really hard”?  And what advice do you have for those coming through University and into the workforce today.