YES There are a variety of reasons why a degree will help an individual to succeed in business. It is not just about confronting young men and women with facts but assisting them to develop their judgement and stretching them intellectually.
Inevitably these days students and universities have employment in mind. Nowadays most universities offer interdisciplinary modules and not just basic subjects, as was the case in the past. There is opportunity for creative thinking and other areas of intellectual thought as well as periods of employment between courses. Some students even take a year out and enter the workplace where they embark on critical training in disciplines necessary for that job.
University students learn a variety of skills – to communicate clearly, leadership and how to work as part of a team. It's these softer skills that employers are seeking and it's these same abilities that set graduates apart from those who have not been to university. There are two key advantages of being a graduate entering the workplace – the degree process helps individuals to think and work independently, and it equips them with the vital soft skills needed for the world of employment.
Peter Corvi is associate dean at Warwick Business School
NO A degree isn't a pre-requisite for business success – in fact, it can be detrimental. Children are told they need to do well at school. Why? So they can go to university. And why? So they can get a good job.
There are children who work hard for a qualification and, of course, some are brilliant. But then there are those who aren't as good, but still do an odd degree at an ex-poly – and expect to get a good job. They've lost valuable time, got into debt and pigeonholed themselves. Compare that to someone who enters employment at 18 and starts at the bottom – they get to know the office environment, understand the industry and develop a work ethic.
Some employers follow a blind doctrine of hiring only graduates, while academics will tell you university teaches valuable skills needed for work – but I've employed lots of graduates and while they are great people they were no better prepared for the reality of work than school leavers.
The ideas and talent of young people are better served in business. I employ 200 people – so that's 200 jobs that wouldn't have existed if I had gone to university and hadn't come up with my idea. Multiply that by the thousands of people who chased pointless degrees at university and that's hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Simon Dolan is managing director of SJD Accountancy