IBM Executive

Rob works in Strategic Sales at IBM and kindly agreed for me to interview him on his outlook on life, university and business.

To set the scene, Rob is a graduate of Bristol University, raising a young family, and a hiring manager at IBM.

Due to the level of his work, he only deals with the hiring of experienced hires, for some of the companies top available positions, rather than graduate or school leaver hires, and a simple quote that embodies his outlook was:

“For experienced hires, the degree does not matter… and that applies until you complete the first 5 years in your working life… its often just a stepping stone to your next level…”

However, Rob still has many opinions on the benefits of a degree, and believes that in todays competitive environment, a standalone degree is often not enough. In his business, they always look for the standout candidate who has done the degree + something special.

“The degree just doesn’t hold the same weight as before”

…was a common theme.

In Rob’s opinion, it all comes down to knowing yourself and your needs. He explained to me, he always helps the employees working under him to understand what interests them and if they have a passion for work, and truly what motivates them, and tries to help them along that path to ensure they can be truly fulfilled with their work and life.

And the same applies for a degree.

Rob believes in the working world, not having a degree will not hinder you,

as long as you are good enough and proactive enough to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Having said that, 18 year old Rob knew he wanted more time to himself, to discover his needs, to learn about a subject he was passionate about, to make new friends and to learn new experiences. Ultimately, he wasn’t in a rush to start working, which only shows with his decision to carry on and pursue a masters course.

However, in the world of life experiences, and opportunities to meet new people, to play more sports, he believes it may be much more difficult to experience that world whilst working at the same time.

To summarise, you can get to where you want to be with or without a degree (It’s a given that I am not talking about research science..)

BUT, to truly learn about yourself, and gain skills that hardly any other human being on earth can acquire, university is the perfect environment to do so.

Know yourself. Are you going to put in the extra effort to make friends outside your work, are you going to still get those same experiences, but you just prefer on the job learning, then don’t get a degree.

If the thought of 3 more years to hold of your decision and enjoy your time and socialise a lot more sounds fantastic to you, then get a degree.

And to Rob, it’s as simple as that.

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