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Options for poorer non-elite students

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18-05-2007, 02:01 PM
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Default Options for poorer non-elite students

Children from rich background have it easy. Many doctors come from rich families. Rich kids go to elite schools. If they work sufficiently hard, they can almost guarantee themselves a good life - get good high-paying jobs, inherit parents' fortune, and the "virtuous" cycle repeats.

I've said before that it takes luck and a lot more hard work for the poorer students to catch up.

But what are the options? Suppose they are not smart and lucky enough to get into an elite school. What should they do?

These are my suggestions:

- Go to a polytechnic for your tertiary education. Less stress there, and you learn practical skills.
- Work for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Yes, I know the standard advice from HR experts - one must try to get into an MNC, because your resume will look very nice. My argument here is that you can learn very different things in SMEs. Read on.
- Learn as much as you can about the business in the company you're working for. If possible, observe closely how the entire company works - sales, operations, logistics, human resource, accounting, finance, suppliers, vendors, etc. Because it's an SME, it should not be too hard to know about almost everything about the business.
- Mix with like-minded people in the company, people who are as hardworking, smart and ambitious as you are.
- Save up.
- Together with your like-minded friends, start your own business. Compete with your ex-bosses. (Now, if you think this is unethical, let me say that this is only as unethical as joining a competitor. If you think that is also unethical, I have nothing else to say.)

This is how many "tow-kays" got started.

If you had chosen the MNC path, do you think it's as easy to start a business? What you would learn in MNCs are corporate things that won't help you start a business. Your experience in an SME should help make the learning curve much less steep.

You can't start an MNC, but you can definitely start an SME.

Work hard, work smart, and with a bit of luck maybe you'd be a millionaire in your 30s - as rich as an investment banker.

http://www.salary.sg/2007/options-fo...lite-students/

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Old 27-05-2007, 12:19 AM
yy---
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Personally, I feel that it doesn't really matter if one does not come from an 'elite' primary school. so long one works hard, one (rich or not) can make it into an 'elite' secondary school, and from there if one works sufficiently hard, one can make it to top JCs, and subsequently get into a good university. I have many friends in an 'elite' secondary school who come from a 'non-elite' primary school. Moreover, they do not come from a rich family and require financial assistance, yet they excel just as well as the others from rich families. My point is, money is not that important as what it seems, to excel academically. If there is a need to, why not apply for a scholarship or a bursary to get into a university!
And also, being in an 'elite' primary school may result in the child being complacent.
From what I've seen, those who excel are those that work hard, not whether they are rich or not.

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Old 27-05-2007, 02:15 AM
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yy, I agree with you that if one works hard enough, one can indeed achieve a lot in our meritocratic system.

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Old 17-06-2009, 03:41 PM
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Is the advice below valid for entrepreneur wannabes like myself? I couldn't re-do my education (I'm a grad), but will it help if I join an SME this late in the game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salary.sg View Post
These are my suggestions:

- Go to a polytechnic for your tertiary education. Less stress there, and you learn practical skills.
- Work for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Yes, I know the standard advice from HR experts - one must try to get into an MNC, because your resume will look very nice. My argument here is that you can learn very different things in SMEs. Read on.
- Learn as much as you can about the business in the company you're working for. If possible, observe closely how the entire company works - sales, operations, logistics, human resource, accounting, finance, suppliers, vendors, etc. Because it's an SME, it should not be too hard to know about almost everything about the business.
- Mix with like-minded people in the company, people who are as hardworking, smart and ambitious as you are.
- Save up.
- Together with your like-minded friends, start your own business. Compete with your ex-bosses. (Now, if you think this is unethical, let me say that this is only as unethical as joining a competitor. If you think that is also unethical, I have nothing else to say.)

This is how many "tow-kays" got started.
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Old 18-06-2009, 08:00 PM
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Hi adbie,

Not everybody can be tow-kays like that... You do this to your boss, in the future, your subordinates might do it to you.. and you are talking about small businesses. How sustainable is it? How many key accounts do you need to steal? And how lucrative is the business and the what is the barrier to entry? Are you able to maintain an advantage and how long can you do that? Just my 2 cents worth. =)
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Old 18-06-2009, 11:08 PM
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It's true a lot of towkays got started this way. What's so wrong about learning the biz and moving on? Aren't white collar job hoppers the same? My father 'did that' to his boss, who didn't mind at all, and now even encourage his staff to venture out!
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Old 22-06-2009, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phd wannabe View Post
Hi adbie,

Not everybody can be tow-kays like that... You do this to your boss, in the future, your subordinates might do it to you.. and you are talking about small businesses. How sustainable is it? How many key accounts do you need to steal? And how lucrative is the business and the what is the barrier to entry? Are you able to maintain an advantage and how long can you do that? Just my 2 cents worth. =)
I understand. It's sort of a chicken and egg problem. I won't know the answers unless I take the plunge. And when I do, I may regret my decision. This is why I'm still a salary man and surfing this site at the moment!
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Old 22-06-2009, 12:13 PM
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Smart. Well let me suggest to still open your eyes really big and be really good at what you do. I have a couple of friends who all began bosses after their divisions spun off from their bosses' companies. If it is a fairly decent company you are working in, inevitably you will find opportunities, new "greenfields". In a bid to reduce cost and focus on core values, parent companies may decide better viability to spin off certain divisions. Better than outsourcing services and non-core competencies to suppliers and vendors, why not to excellent employees who have a track record and understand their culture and processes?

It's happening all around me; my friends are in different industries; retail and services companies, MNCs and local firms etc.

There are always opportunities; don't be malicious and narrow minded. See people as smarter than you. Find ways to add value, instead of resorting to underhand methods. Simply unwise.

One last story, what if your boss thinks your idea is stupid and not viable? And you stand your ground and believe otherwise? Read up salesforce.com story of Marc Benioff. =)
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Old 22-06-2009, 03:06 PM
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Maybe we are referring to different practices, but I don't think learning a business and moving on to set up your own is "narrow-minded" or even unethical.

Just think: isn't it the same as hopping to a competitor of your current company? Just that now the competitor is set up by yourself.

Unless you signed a non-compete clause (quite rare with junior to mid-level professionals) with your current employer, which in that case has to proportionately compensate you for the potential loss. There's also a milder form of non-compete clause, which is to bar you from joining a direct competitor (sometimes a list is given) for 3 months to half a year. A lot of people I've spoken to do not care about the non-compete clause because it's hard and takes a lot of effort for the plaintiff (their ex-companies) to actually carry out the litigation process, unless you're someone important.

Of course, stealing customers is a whole different story - it may even be illegal, e.g. the recent ex-Citibankers' case.
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