College Education Versus Work Experience

This Article On College Education Versus Work Experience Was Written By Senior Writer Bob Vogel

Why Real Word Experience Beats Book Smarts: College Education Versus Work Experience

As I take this time to break away from the housing and mortgage experiences in my life, let me jump into another topic that I feel strongly about and that is my opinion that college really doesn’t prepare you that well for the real world.  Yes, you heard that correctly, I am a firm believer that my $60,000 of student loans was really for nothing.  Now I am not going to say that I didn’t learn anything from my college experience and my B.S. in Accounting, but there is only a finite amount of information that a book can teach you, but after that it is all on you to be a sponge in the real world and actually figure out what is going on.

College Education Versus Work Experience: Getting First Job

This is exactly what happened to me as I landed my first job out of college as a Staff Accountant for a mid-size manufacturing company.  I went through school learning about Income Statements, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows, etc and how everything is just so easy to record and understand.  This couldn’t be farther from the case.  I was thrown into the fire with financials that were not in proper order, journal entries and reconciliations that were out of balance and to the wrong accounts, and an inventory system that had over 5,000 components for all the various items that this company made.  There is definitely not a class in college for “My Company is Messed Up 101” the last time I checked.  Almost immediately upon starting, I had to check my education at the door, roll up my sleeves, and just jump right in to using my common sense to get these items straightened out.  I also had to critically think and problem solve to make sure these items didn’t happen again in the future.

College Education Versus Work Experience: What They Do Not Teach You In College

Another case scenario at this same company happened about 6 months into my tenure there where a supervisor in the accounts payable department up and quit leaving the company in a bind.  What happened next surprised me and that I was deemed the new AP Supervisor as well as my staff accountant duties.  All of a sudden at 22 years old I was in charge of 6 employees and was in charge of hiring, firing, and reviews for the department.  The biggest challenge I had to overcome was getting the respect of these 6 individuals who were all order than me.  In their eyes I was just a “kid” and they didn’t take me seriously for the first month or two, but soon everyone came around as I lead this team to be the most productive they have ever been.  I implemented efficient practices and made a few staffing changes to obtain the highest output possible.  This was just 1 example of where my college text books couldn’t tell me how to handle being a manager at just 22 years old.

College Education Versus Work Experience: My Conclusion On The Value Of A College Education

In closing, yes college has its place in our society, I just don’t think that the college makes the individual.  I didn’t get a flashy degree from a big name school, but I am landing positions where I am getting hired over other candidates.  Just because you got an A in accounting doesn’t mean you will be the best accountant.  Quite frankly, without challenging real world experience, you are actually doing yourself a disservice.  The best training and learning is while on the job.  Real world experiences are ones that will stay with you forever.  I couldn’t tell you what my Accounting 201 textbook says, but I know I can work circles around a lot of accountants I have seen in my field.  In my opinion, experience is EVERYTHING!

About The Author: Bob Vogel

Bob Vogel is a senior writer for Gustan Cho Associates Commercial And Residential Mortgage Information Center and an accountant by training and trade. Bob Vogel is also a licensed mortgage loan originator at The Money Store and a team leader. Bob Vogel’s invaluable experience in all areas of accounting and expertise in mortgage lending and compliance has added his responsibility to be a sales manager with The Money Store where he is in charge of running training programs for loan officers and new loan officers in income tax analysis for self employed mortgage loan borrowers. Bob Vogel will continue to write blogs on his personal and professional life experiences in the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned!!!

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