Boss Lady

Top 5 lies business schools tell you


Do you remember when you were at school and grow-ups used to say: “Go to college so you can find a good job and live a happy life.”? I certainly do.

My parents grew up during the communist regime in Eastern Europe. Communism in Eastern Europe during the 70s ranked citizens based on their family’s background. My parents’ families are from a low working class background so my parents perceived going to college as the type of luxury they wanted for their children. Business Schools were pretty much the norm for people who wanted to build a career in the business world.

Fast forward to 2016 and we see the rise of the solopreneur, entrepreneur and small enterprise owner – the people who don’t need a flashy degree to go after their dream and build a career based on true passion and dedication. Millennials and Generation Y are taking over the world with their desire to build businesses as soon as they spot a good opportunity.

Business Schools are businesses, just like any other organisation. Part of their selling point is that we need a good foundation to start a career. Is this always true or do Business Schools keep feeding us the old-fashioned tales which might have been relevant in the 70s but not in the modern business world?

These are the top 5 lies Business School keep preaching to you today …

1. Great interview skills will land you any job

I was shocked when during my final year at university my “career advisor” suggested that I needed to attend at least 10 interview classes, weekly webinars and a number of mock interview so I could memorise the answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions asked during an interview. I was taught to de-code the underlying message behind the interview question and answer it in a way which is confident but it doesn’t make the interviewer “worried” about a new “office competitor”.

“Be positive in a subtle way” my advisor would say and “don’t try to be funny. Be enthusiastic but serious and stick to the answers we practised”. What happened to using “innovative ideas to change the world as we know it” and “Business Schools shape the creative minds of the future”?

In my 10 year experience in the marketing field I have been both the interviewee and the interviewer. I can tell you that most of the time memorised answers to interview questions will not make you stand out. As long as you are a genuine professional and you come across as positive, honest and willing to learn, you will make a good impression which weights more than any paper résumé. Companies in 2016 look for creative, innovative and vibrant professionals who dare to be authentic.

2. The hardest worker is always the one who gets promoted

Working hard is undeniably one of the reasons why successful people become successful. Hard work, dedication and resilience are all important if you want to build a prosperous career.

When it comes to advancing your career, there isn’t always a positive correlation between career success and hard work. Do you remember the new intern who doesn’t have a degree and got promoted before you? Office politics, interpersonal skills and the ability to promote your work often prove that being the hardest working employee doesn’t mean you will be the one who gets promoted.

3. It takes many years of hard work to achieve your career goals

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson – they all started from the bottom. They worked hard, struggled, hit rock bottom, lost everything at least once – that’s how all successful people made it, right? They didn’t just become successful overnight, it took them years to build the success they have.

What Business Schools don’t like reminding us is that none of the entrepreneurs they love to use in inspirational speeches graduated from a Business School. All of them dropped out to pursue their passion.

I agree that building a business or a successful career takes time. I just don’t agree that the journey should be the same for everyone. How long it takes to achieve your career goals depends on your goals and how you approach them. I am successful in my business because I didn’t have the limited belief that it takes decades to build a blooming business.

4. Perfect grades guarantee a perfect job

I was one of the top 3 business graduates with the highest grades at Business School. I know that in my business journey my grades have nothing to do with my professional success.

Intelligence on its own is not as useful as emotional awareness and interpersonal skills. You might be the most academically intelligent person on this planet but if you don’t have the appropriate social skills and the right attitude, your intelligence will do nothing for your career (unless you are the next Einstein).

5. Investing in a degree is a great investment

Forbes wrote an article about the business degrees with the lowest Return on Investment. Students with a degree have a better chance of finding a job. However, the difference of the salary between a graduate and a non-graduate is not that significant. After paying their student loan every month, graduates make a small margin on top of what non-graduates take home every month. With the raise of entrepreneurs and people working for themselves, investing in a business course is not always the best investment.

You are the only one who can tell whether going to Business School is a good investment for your future. A business degree doesn’t make you who you are and it is not a guarantee for a bright future. When it comes to building a successful career, the future is always in your own hands.

About Tanya Dale

Tanya Dale is a British entrepreneur, the founder of Cost Saving Marketing -- a virtual marketing agency which provides outsourced marketing services to businesses dedicated to growing. As a marketing expert with over 10 years experience in the marketing world, Tanya offers no-nonsense marketing advice which delivers measurable results. Tanya has achieved success born of real passion to help businesses grow, vision to deliver amazing return on investment for her clients and ambition to become the marketing expert who always exceeds customer expectations.

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