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As always, thanks to all of you for your responses to my previous posts. Whenever I receive a response, it gives me immense pleasure that I need to keep going.

Well, this isn't a topic never spoken of before. It's just that certain things aren't so simple just to be explained in a few articles. We need some more detailed insights so that anyone reading this can take away something worthwhile.

Okay! Let's get started. Nowadays, we see lots of emphasis on degrees which is fine as long as companies satisfy their notion of finding specific niche characteristics in the candidate. E.g. In the top management consulting firms Mckinsey and Bain & co, you can expect them to be hiring folks from IITs or IIMs. When questioned, a standard answer to this would be getting top-quality candidates who can be only from these prestigious institutes.

Coming to the point as to why there is so much emphasis, in my opinion:

  • Degree being stated as a pre-requisite eliminates competition and increased applications. Suppose the companies described above indicated that anyone could apply. In that case, they'd be bombarded with over lakhs of applications as many of us would want to be a part of such esteemed organizations.
  • With degree emphasis, an obligation arises on to the company to compensate to that level. Moreover, they also would assign the role on that basis which would be a lot more intense and pressurizing.
Problem with Over Emphasis on Degrees

Well, that's all which crosses my mind on why a degree can be a matter of emphasis. Now, let us move towards why this can be ill and what makes it detrimental in certain instances when analyzed critically.

  • The course structure of the Degree is sometimes designed with such arbitral testing mechanisms where there is a lot of immense pressure on the aspirant to perform. This, in turn, kills the initiative to learn beyond the curriculum.
  • The marking criteria were designed so that only a few would be able to get through. Many times we see a lot of emphases laid on unfair deduction of marks. For instance, in the Accounting paper, if you don't write 'dr' and 'cr' on the top of accounts, marks are deducted. Furthermore, we find marks removed even for rounding off errors.
  • Earning a degree doesn't guarantee the candidate has a dire desire to learn and keep exploring.
  • There are many courses with a lot of irrelevant subjects just there for the heck of it cause the curriculum designers considered it appropriate without much analysis on a practical level. In most cases, it's just there since it has been going on for overages and that since it was there back then, it should continue for the upcoming future.
  • It never proves a person's intelligence or stands as a symbol of excellence.

Let's take another example to be better articulate. Well, this is relevant to those who are pursuing or who have completed CA. In CA Final SFM portfolio management, we have a 'Hedging risk' topic in FOREX and portfolio management.

If we were to be very Degree oriented, your learning would probably cease at the point of answering the question popping in the examination on

  • Describe the strategies of hedging (5-mark Q)
  • Probably solve a practical question framed around these lines with all the data practically available. (5 – 10 mark Q)

Now take a practical implication of this. Any person who is curious to learn more and willing to explore more would relate to this when confronted by a similar situation practically. It would help if you immediately recalled this I have learnt and directly worked your brain in that direction.

Citing my example, I recently commenced investing in Mutual Funds. I came across the 'Groww.in' platform, and I started to read all the necessary details. I analyzed my 'risk appetite' I understood that I should invest in risky funds and build a perfect blend of Very high risk, moderate and low-risk mutual funds. It's here I could immediately relate to all the topics learnt as to how vital hedging is. We need to hedge ourselves as the market is volatile, and no fund can guarantee returns merely based on past performance.

All in all, I could learn all this since while pursuing the course, my emphasis was not merely to satisfy the marking criteria; I intended to 'actually learn.'

So when companies lay over emphasis on degree possession, my question lies:

  • Does that sheet of paper guarantee the person has articulated the concepts to this level?
  • Does that sheet guarantee they have worked on himself/themselves? (Eg: Soft skills)
  • Does that guarantee they will always be at her excellent performance?
  • Does that guarantee they take learning seriously and are willing to learn from someone not so highly educationally qualified?
  • Does that guarantee their sincerity at the workspace and that there would never be an error on their part?

These questions do arise in all our minds, but no one is willing to come forward and ask. Everyone likes to believe the fallacy in it! I don't mean to demean any degree; however, the fact of the matter is that it provides you with no certainty that the person has toiled towards it in the right spirit. A slight emphasis on the overall personality and proper assessment of the person's skillsets and calibre can attract the right candidature and someone willing to work with loyalty and dedication.


The author can also be reached at abhishekpanegal4@gmail.com.

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