Now, it's probably crossed your mind at some point that a lot of people you see around you seem to be successful, even though they never got that prized university degree. I mean, think about it, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, two of the biggest names in technology, are both college dropouts. And, let's not even get started on our beloved local Melbourne boy, Troye Sivan, who's made it big in Hollywood! Pretty impressive, right? Now, of course, the question that arises is — do you really need that degree and those high grades to be a successful consultant? Or better yet, is it all just a big misunderstanding?
Picture this: One fine day, Liana, my better half, and I were sitting in a Melbourne café (excellent coffee, by the way). As we admired the hustle and bustle of the place, a conversation started about different career paths. The topic of becoming a consultant — or, for that matter, any professional — without a degree popped up. This heated discussion turned our relaxing cup of coffee into a brainstorming session. Ideas were flying across the table like frisbees at the beach. And again, the question echoed: do you need that piece of paper that declares you proficient in a particular field to be a consultant?
Moving along, let's first comprehend what a consultant really does. If we understand their role in the nitty-gritty details, we'll have a better understanding of whether a degree influences their success or not. So, consultants aren't simply know-it-alls. They are usually specialists in a particular field and have such a deep understanding of the context and processes that they can provide solutions to problems others would spend days (or even months) scratching their heads over. Sound like something you'd need years of academic training for? Well, hold that thought because we're about to delve deeper into it.
"Experience is the best teacher" — how many times have you heard that phrase thrown around in conversation? But, for once, let's not dismiss it as a cliché. It is a universally recognized fact that practical experience often trumps theoretical knowledge. Remember the time when you actually started driving after getting your driving license, with all theoretical instructions out of the window? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! So, in the same vein, could hands-on experience in a relevant field render a degree irrelevant when it comes to being a successful consultant? Intriguing, right? Maybe even a little controversial!
While we've established that real-world experience has considerable weight, let's not forget our degree-less champions who've made it big. There are numerous non-degree holders who have become successful consultants, backed by their robust experience, tenacity and skills. Their success isn't just motivation-fuelled folklore, but actual proof that a thriving career as a consultant can be pursued even without a degree in your hand. It's a less trodden path, but an existing one at that, and it seems to be getting wider as we move into a future welcoming and appreciating diversity in skills and experiences.
Now, let's not get too consumed by the idea of degree-less success. Degrees do have their merits. The exchange of knowledge and the exposure you get at university is invaluable. It enhances your communication skills, broadens your horizon and equips you with research methods and principles that can’t be learned elsewhere (unless you're Hermione, and believe me, not all of us are!). But still, we've come to the conclusion that while a degree can boost your competency as a consultant, it is not a mandatory requirement, contrary to popular belief. The perseverance to learn and the willingness to adapt also play a huge role in your career as a consultant.So, loop back to the initial question: "Do you need a degree to be a consultant?" The answer is, maybe. The choice, however, ultimately lies in your hands. What’s more important, as we have discussed extensively, is your desire to excel, the courage to explore and the will to adapt - with or without a degree. After all, as Aussies, we like to break a few norms, don't we?