If you are looking for a job, do not expect companies to change their rules to accommodate you. The #1 rule in Nigeria today is that grades matter in the sectors most would like to work – oil & gas, telecoms, banking & tech startups. The top 10% of any graduating class will desire to be in those sectors as first options. Simply, in these sectors, good grades are key.
I understand the narrative that America does not look for grades. Rather, they focus on capabilities. Yes, that is true because America’s economy is so huge that there are many things which may not require grades or simply university education. In that case, the grade the company requires is GED (WAEC equivalent) – yes, that is still a grade, as if you do not have it, you would be out of luck in America, on many things. In some states, this GED is compulsory – if you are not in school until the 16th birthday, your parents could be jailed! So, depending on how you look at it, U.S. does follow certificates.
Now, on the university one – the main certificate – U.S. does require good ones when absolutely necessary. I can bet you that a Harvard degree will set up better in life than a degree from an unranked school even when the kid who attended the unranked school may be more talented. If you do the average, you will notice that Harvard graduates achieve more in life than graduates of unranked schools. That does not mean that a kid who graduated from an unranked school cannot find success.
It is the same logic when people say that Mark Zuckerberg dropped out and yet built the Facebook empire. They forget that out of every 1000 dropouts, there may be only 10 successes. But when you take students who stayed in school, the average improves up to 500. It is that average that matters, and not the specificities of individual cases, for counselors.
Despite the exciting stories of Mark and Bill Gates, another dropout, the world has been built by those who stayed in school. The co-founder of Intel Corp, Gordon Moore, has PhD. The founder of Qualcomm was a professor. That they went to school should not be lost on the worship of dropouts. Across all nexus, the game favours people who graduated to thrive in life. Plus, getting a teaching job depends largely on where you graduated. Some of the best jobs on Wall Street are for Ivy League graduates.
When former U.S. President George Bush nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, many U.S. Senators did not like the idea. Some complained that she went to Methodist Law School – a mid-tier school. The problem was not her skills, but the school she attended. They later got an Ivy League graduate (a graduate of Princeton) and they smiled to confirmation. Today, the present AG Jeff Sessions is despised in some circles because he has no Ivy League education.
Simply, if you have the opportunities in this world to get good grades and better certificates, get them. Stop the illusion – every country does the same thing in different ways. There is a need to sieve through many applicants, and increasingly more continue to use grades and certificates as instruments.
Unless you can invent an alternative system, the propensity to hire an A student will always be higher than an F student who may turn out better. The problem is that the F student has already lost before the action began. He failed on something – yes, he got F. Why would you expect the next thing – the job – to have a different outcome? That is why many will run away, and go for the person already doing well. It is the path of lesser friction.
It is simple logic and no company will change the rules for you if you think you can lazily graduate with poor grades [I have always maintained that poor grades are not killers but the processes that lead to them. If someone got a poor grade after doing his/her best, he/she will be fine in this world. Yes, despite failing the exam, that process will lead to a better life on something else. The problem arises when bad processes result to poor grades, and the individual does not want to fix the bad processes].
In this world, Victory has relations; Vanquish is an orphan. That means employers will always congregate around victorious graduates with good grades. Never expect that rule to change for you.
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