Posted September 28, 2012 by

Drop Out, Dive In, Start Up: Are Journalists Missing The Main Point?

Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

By Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

A few recruiters, thinking out of the box, might benefit by looking for prospects who delayed traditional education for learning of a different kind.

Peter H. Thiel, the PayPal billionaire has garnered some serious ink for his initiative in offering some of the best and brightest young minds $100k and a mentor for a two year stint at a start-up. All the recipients of Thiel’s largesse are 20 and under and so missing what would ordinarily be viewed as the ideal time to attend MIT, Harvard, IIT Bombay etc. His plan has come under serious criticism and a bit of fanfare. The latest testament to this controversial initiative was recently featured in the NY Times.

Thiel’s first ‘class’ of 20 teenagers is now completing their second year and we have no doubt the media will shortly descend on them to see how successful they’ve been – and, we predict, the measure of their success will be tied to the fate of their start-up. Or should it be learning about the process of innovation etc?

And why is it important that college immediately follow high-school anyway? More than a third of students who finish high school don’t start college. Some never go, many simply delay it for lots of reasons.

We predict that a majority of these budding entrepreneurs will more likely go on and get degrees than look for a VC. And, they are likely to study with a focus they wouldn’t have brought to campus a few short years ago.

If our firm was among those considering scholarship programs as a means to impact the skills gap, we might want to search for students who delayed college as potential scholars with interests we already have in common. Or, better yet, offer post HS internships to the very best and brightest. Or offer graduate prospects with non-traditional backgrounds i.e. peace corps, military service, etc. a better way to enter our firm by removing some of the obstacles that stack rank applications on traditional experiences.

We wonder what an audit of the first and second level leaders at your firm would show. Did they delay college or the start of their work career with a non-traditional alternative? Did a previous generation’s drop-outs drop back in and rise through the ranks?

Factoid: Student Study Habits

How many hours do US Students spend studying in college today compared to 50 years ago? Is it

  • a) 59% less than 1962
  • b) 19% less
  • c) the same
  • d) 19% more or
  • e) 59% more?

Source: Philip Babcock, UC Sand Diego via HR Executive Magazine. Answer at the end of this newsletter.

Factoid: Student Work Habits

How many hours do US Students spend working while at college today compared to 50 years ago? Is it

  • a) 44% less than 1962
  • b) 24% less
  • c) the same
  • d) 24% more or
  • e) 44% more?

Source: Philip Babcock, UC San Diego via HR Executive Magazine. Answers:

  • Student Study Habits – (a. 59% less)
  • Student Work Habits – (d. 44% more)

– Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler work full time consulting, educating and discovering how talent and opportunity connect through emerging technology. They can be reached via email at mmc@careerxroads.com, phone at 732-821-6652, or on-line at http://www.careerxroads.com.

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