Monday, 13 February 2012

Does good education guarantee success in life?

Many parents are putting in savings or endowment plans to plan for their children's education. The estimated cost of a tertiary degree education is expected to be double or triple in 20 years time. Singaporeans being the kiasu lot will want their kids to have the finest education in top schools and many often do volunteer work to ensure they get higher chances of enrolment.

When I first started out work after completing my national service, I had only a diploma and always tell myself I needed to upgrade, the main reason was I thought that by upgrading myself, I can ask for a better salary with a degree.

Over years of working and going through what I saw, I come to a conclusion that with a good education does not necessarily guarantee success, unless if you are in the government sector and a civil servant.

In 2004, I had a ex-colleague who has 2 degrees and was studying for a master. After working with him for 1 year, he was let go due to poor performance, this was at a MNC. In 2011 while at another company, I came to know he was let go again due to similar reasons.

One of my friend, paid good money to earn himself a degree at top 10 university in the world. Ever since he graduated, he had not stayed a job long enough and is now working for a job that does not require any degree qualification.

My colleague, he was a top student at a local University and has a masters degree and is now studying for a MBA. After working for more than 5 years at a private MNC, his wife;who only has a diploma is currently earning more than him.

On the other hand, I look at my army friend, a secondary school dropout, but he is running his own logistic business and easily earning more than 120K$ per year. My property agent friend of mine, only has O levels, but he is earning 6 figures annual income and has a few properties to his name.

Couple of years back, I accidentally came across a few candidates interviews forms at my ex-company, many applicants had degrees and with relevant working experience, I came to realise how competitive the workforce over here is. Almost everyone has a degree nowadays.

However, if you have a high education and end up in any government job, most chances you should be doing fine, unless you happen to do something bad and get "condemn".

I went through my PSLE and O levels with satisfactory results, I ended up at a polytechnic where I hated what I studied. Although it took me a while longer to complete the course, I did not regret taking the course, reason being this diploma has opened doors on many careers for me. Now that I have a degree, I did not have a chance to utilise it unless I switch to another job.

Having a good education does not necessarily guarantee success in your work life. A good working attitude and having passion in your job is essential to drive success. Joining the right company is also very important. If a accountant joins a small firm, very likely his or her salary will not match the bigger companies. When it comes to the real working world, no one will compare your school results, its about meeting your KPIs and results, results results.

But nonetheless, a good education is sill important to have a head start in your career. If I had not gotten my diploma, I would not have the opportunity to work for so many wonderful different companies.

Last but not the least, having financial literacy is important. There is no point being a doctor or a director but yet you do not know how to understand and control your own finances.

For myself, I will plan to continue to pursue my further studies if time permits next year. Let's hope the government give out more educational goodies in the coming week.


  1. :)

    Education is just one of many factors that contribute to "success".

    There's financial literacy like you have correctly pointed out.

    There's EQ.

    And many other criteria - depending on the individual and activity of passion.

    It's definitely not with an "entitlement" attitude.

  2. I have no money too but I think it is quite cheap to do a subsidized course, it is more for interest rather than the need to add paper qualifications

  3. I think you all are right one point or another. I took my 3 year course through a very reputable school and completed my degree at age 33. I just wanna say that the whole experience is awesome. My degree course broaden up my thoughts, push me to think deeper than needed. Maybe at my age then, I am very different from those early 20s who are seeking just another qualification. Where I am really there seeking academic knowledge.

  4. Education can be a very effective tool. But how you use that tool is up to you.

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