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Does an Academic Degree Guarantee Success in a Professional Life?

Success is an important goal for many people because it is about achieving key objectives and targets. Furthermore, it is concerned about creating a collaborative environment in which the individual is able to improve his economic and social status. Success is defined by modern society which encourages individuals to pursue academic degrees. The rationale is that academic degrees can help the individual to get good jobs which can help to improve his overall socioeconomic position.

Graduate Success

An academic degree is not the guarantee to success in professional life because it does not reflect the character, ambition, skill, and competency of the individual. Many individuals throughout history have progressed through their capability and intelligence. For example, Walt Disney was highly successful despite the fact that he did not graduate from university or high school. An academic degree only provides a small subset of knowledge. On the other hand, success is defined through integrity, self discipline, vision, and choices. Success in professional life is performing extra work which goes beyond the routine tasks. The individual in the professional environment must have the vision to articulate a future which is defined by success. Within the professional environment, the professional must be able to demonstrate a number of skills like team work, interpersonal skills, intelligence, professionalism, management, planning, organization, and others.

All of these skills are vital for success in the professional environment but the important thing is that they can be learned through practice rather than being studied through any formal course. Many professions do not need degrees like military, technical professions, trade school, and entrepreneurship. A highly skilled individual with vocational and technical training needs to perform at adequate levels in the work environment without having a professional degree. Highly qualified welders, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and others are in high demand in many industries.

Another aspect of this debate is the fact that individuals need to focus on upgrading some of their skills like management and marketing. An individual who gains experience in the work environment can be promoted to the position of a manager who is endowed with the ability to plan, coordinate, and integrate work activities. Successful managers are able to apply their critical thinking and decision making skills as a means of resolving complex business situations. Marketing is another skill which is acquired through practice and preparation in the professional environment. A good marketer is able to identify the critical strengths and weaknesses of the business organization as well as its competitors. Moreover, the individual must have adequate knowledge about the overall economic environment so that sound and viable marketing strategies can be applied for achieving efficiency and effectiveness. A professional degree can help the individual by acquainting him with the theoretical concepts of marketing but cannot help to provide practical knowledge which is really important in the work environment for the organization’s growth.

Real success in the professional environment is when individuals are able to improve their competencies and skills through continuous learning. It is important to prepare for future by constantly improving the personal weaknesses. Individuals that are flexible, reliable, and agile have more chances of succeeding in the professional environment because they are able to adapt to changing circumstances. Furthermore, individuals must be able to understand the key goals which will help them to upgrade their status in the professional environment. Dynamic individuals are able to achieve these goals because they can take advantage of changing circumstances to improve their position.


Wagner, D. How to Succeed in Life. Sage Publications

Williams, R. Developing a Pathway to Success. Oxford University Press