When I was younger, it was not cool to be a nerd or a geek.
The ones who balanced academics with sports and other extra-curricular activities were more popular and sought after than the studious types. They had more fun and went on to become successful pillars of the society. At least that was the premise.
Until, my nerdy roommate from college became the CEO of an eight billion dollar information technology company!
Attitudes have changed.
Not a day goes by without some high-profile business executive or respected marketer proclaiming to be a nerd or a geek of some sort. Add “freak” to the mix, and the picture appears to be complete. Now that I have reconciled to the fact that nerds, geeks and freaks appear to be doing better than me, I am left with one question – Is formal education going out of favour ?
Here are three quotes that got me thinking:
“One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless.” – Laszlo Bock, SVP, People Operations at Google in an interview with Adam Bryant of New York Times.
Quite the statement from someone who is an alumnus of Yale Business School!
“A 15 per cent consolidation rate among non-elite business schools would lead to 1,800 school closures.” – Bertrand Guillotin of Duke University and Vincent Mangematin of Grenoble Ecole de Management, France, in an article in Financial Times.
A scary thought for business schools that do not have the profile, resources and endowments of their more prestigious counterparts.
“The freaks shall inherit the earth” – The title of an upcoming book by Chris Brogan that promotes the idea of being different to be successful.
The common theme here is that formal education can only get you so far. Education is being commoditized. The masses have access to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from prestigious colleges which they could never enroll in, in the past. The ability to apply and make decisions trump business degrees.
Except, are not the nerds, the geeks and the freaks the exception than the rule? Is it better to play it safe and stick to conventional wisdom that higher education from a good school will stand you in good stead?
Clearly, if you go by this article, students from China and India don’t seem to have given up on Ivy League schools yet!
So, do you believe that higher education, as we know it, is on its way out?