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I failed my degree - I now earn £77000 4 years later - don't lose hope watch

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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    Hi All,

    This post is going to be part informative, part humble brag, partly me getting something off of my chest that I have NEVER told anyone, but mostly me showing you that there's always hope.

    I went to a very mediocre university, I studied computing with business, I passed the first year and got all 50% grades, I passed the second year with grades from 40% to 60%. I failed the final year, I handed in no coursework, I missed all of the exams and I only wrote 320 words of my planned 10,000 word dissertation.

    Fast forward 4 years and I'm a manager at a very well known business consultancy firm earning £77,000 per year (excluding bonus which is up to 20%).

    How did I do this? Experience and confidence.

    When I was in my third, I took a year out to do a placement. The placement was with a very well known management consultancy. At the time, I was predicted to get a 3rd and they required a predicted 2:1. I got my tutor to write me an awesome letter of recommendation and I was very confident in my interviews plus I had done a significant amount of research and preparation before the 4 round interview process.

    I was incredibly excited when I got the placement offer. The experience I gained in that one year set me up for life.

    When I failed me degree (saw it coming a long way off), I became depressed, I could no longer take the job offer from the management consultancy as they required a 2:1. Luckily for me, I'd picked up some wicked software development skills over the previous few years, I used my experience at the management consultancy plus my software development skills to get myself a 30k job straight after failing my degree.

    During the interview, my failed degree was never talked about even though I had is listed on my CV. It was listed as a Diploma of Higher Education (that's what you get when you only pass two years of your degree).

    After being at this job for 2 years. I looked for a higher paying job and got a 46k offer at another software company. Again, they did not questions my education. They only cared about my experience.

    Rinse and repeat this process until the current day. I applied for a managers job at a very well known consultancy. They accepted me based on my experience. This was also the first time my education was ever questioned. I explained that I did not complete my degree for various reasons (I did not lie). They mainly cared about my experience and what I could bring to the clients I would be working with.

    I'm now a manager earning 77k.

    It's funny when I look at other people from my Uni who actually got their degree. Most of them are still far more junior than me and earning a lot less than me.

    This is the first time I have ever told anyone about failing my degree. Even my girlfriend (recently broken up) and parents don't know.

    This is not supposed to be a 100% brag. It's supposed to be showing you that no matter how ****ed you are right now, you can recover if you are smart about it. Don't seek advice from the average person, that person can only give you average advice.

    One more thing, I've been in debt (over 4k) twice and both times managed to pay it off (long before earning a good salary) but that's a story for another day.

    I have never lied, I have never cheated, I am a smart guy and I'm actually very good at what I do (which is why I get paid well). My experience speaks for itself and my education has been explained to my employer (and countless recruiters). Experience and ability trump everything (well, most things).

    Don't lose hope and.... ask me anything...

    (please excuse any typos, I typed this on a tablet).
    http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/vqGeMsr.gif

    The amount of snobbery and panic that I see on here by people that think going to a Russell Group/Oxbridge uni is literally the only way they'll ever be successful is ridiculous. If you're good enough, you can succeed with far less.

    Good for you, OP
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    Hi All,

    This post is going to be part informative, part humble brag, partly me getting something off of my chest that I have NEVER told anyone, but mostly me showing you that there's always hope.

    I went to a very mediocre university, I studied computing with business, I passed the first year and got all 50% grades, I passed the second year with grades from 40% to 60%. I failed the final year, I handed in no coursework, I missed all of the exams and I only wrote 320 words of my planned 10,000 word dissertation.

    Fast forward 4 years and I'm a manager at a very well known business consultancy firm earning £77,000 per year (excluding bonus which is up to 20%).

    How did I do this? Experience and confidence.

    When I was in my third, I took a year out to do a placement. The placement was with a very well known management consultancy. At the time, I was predicted to get a 3rd and they required a predicted 2:1. I got my tutor to write me an awesome letter of recommendation and I was very confident in my interviews plus I had done a significant amount of research and preparation before the 4 round interview process.

    I was incredibly excited when I got the placement offer. The experience I gained in that one year set me up for life.

    When I failed me degree (saw it coming a long way off), I became depressed, I could no longer take the job offer from the management consultancy as they required a 2:1. Luckily for me, I'd picked up some wicked software development skills over the previous few years, I used my experience at the management consultancy plus my software development skills to get myself a 30k job straight after failing my degree.

    During the interview, my failed degree was never talked about even though I had is listed on my CV. It was listed as a Diploma of Higher Education (that's what you get when you only pass two years of your degree).

    After being at this job for 2 years. I looked for a higher paying job and got a 46k offer at another software company. Again, they did not questions my education. They only cared about my experience.

    Rinse and repeat this process until the current day. I applied for a managers job at a very well known consultancy. They accepted me based on my experience. This was also the first time my education was ever questioned. I explained that I did not complete my degree for various reasons (I did not lie). They mainly cared about my experience and what I could bring to the clients I would be working with.

    I'm now a manager earning 77k.

    It's funny when I look at other people from my Uni who actually got their degree. Most of them are still far more junior than me and earning a lot less than me.

    This is the first time I have ever told anyone about failing my degree. Even my girlfriend (recently broken up) and parents don't know.

    This is not supposed to be a 100% brag. It's supposed to be showing you that no matter how ****ed you are right now, you can recover if you are smart about it. Don't seek advice from the average person, that person can only give you average advice.

    One more thing, I've been in debt (over 4k) twice and both times managed to pay it off (long before earning a good salary) but that's a story for another day.

    I have never lied, I have never cheated, I am a smart guy and I'm actually very good at what I do (which is why I get paid well). My experience speaks for itself and my education has been explained to my employer (and countless recruiters). Experience and ability trump everything (well, most things).

    Don't lose hope and.... ask me anything...

    (please excuse any typos, I typed this on a tablet).
    Which uni did you go to out of curiosity?



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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/vqGeMsr.gif

    The amount of snobbery and panic that I see on here by people that think going to a Russell Group/Oxbridge uni is literally the only way they'll ever be successful is ridiculous. If you're good enough, you can succeed with far less.

    Good for you, OP
    I agree. see the Oxbridge or 250k thread.
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    I hate stories like this. You're basically encouraging students to not work as hard as they can because it will all work out for them anyway. You are a VERY lucky person, you're not 'smart' (like you describe yourself) if you went to a bad uni and still failed all your uni work, you're simply lucky. 99% of people who were in your situation would have ended up with a terrible job.
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    (Original post by anonwinner)
    I hate stories like this. You're basically encouraging students to not work as hard as they can because it will all work out for them anyway. You are a VERY lucky person, you're not 'smart' (like you describe yourself) if you went to a bad uni and still failed all your uni work, you're simply lucky. 99% of people who were in your situation would have ended up with a terrible job.
    I disagree, his saying that even if uni doesn't plan out you can still be successful by working hard at placements and using experience is better than a degree in most cases. I do think he is smart as grades don't measure intelligence and his on 77k a year.


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    (Original post by anonwinner)
    I hate stories like this. You're basically encouraging students to not work as hard as they can because it will all work out for them anyway. You are a VERY lucky person, you're not 'smart' (like you describe yourself) if you went to a bad uni and still failed all your uni work, you're simply lucky. 99% of people who were in your situation would have ended up with a terrible job.
    I like this, you're thinking critically.

    I do not doubt that I have had some luck... BUT, you cannot possibly claim that I have not made smart moves to navigate around a growing industry.

    I have worked damn hard to understand my industry and industry trends. I have worked damn hard to understand the technology that use everyday and how we can leverage new technology for our clients. If you talk to anyone in our office about any of this, it's not hard to see that I'm totally across my industry. But yes, I agree, I have had luck, as has everyone that's in a good situation.

    Are you the kind of person that looks at all successful people and just points out all of their luck whilst ignoring all of their hard work? As great as Warren Buffet is, he still had luck too.

    I'm having luck, but I'm also making some excellent career moves. I've also made some excellent recommendations to my clients who have all had great success.. or maybe they are lucky too?

    I am not encouraging people to fail, I'm just showing people that things can work out if you think about what you're doing and make smart choices. However, I would not advise failing your degree, it does make things harder and it has made things harder for me. Again, as lucky as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were, they still both made very smart decisions.
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    100% yes to this!

    Getting experience is the MOST important thing. Don't get me wrong, you should definitely get a 2:1 (or better). But even if you have a degree, what is going to make you stand out from the thousands of other graduates that year? Experience, that's what makes you stand out.

    Doing a year long placement will accelerate your career growth in ways that you can't even imagine at this point in your career.

    EDIT: You get bigger pay rises when you move companies rather than getting promoted internally. Make the most out of every experience you get so you can leverage that experience to improve yourself, and your pay, quickly. Make smart choices though, moving around too much can look bad and you could miss valuable experience. One size does not fit all.
    Thanks, this has been refreshing and reassuring to read, we need more threads like this not the same old 'Would you sell your lung for a Cambridge degree? threads

    I know people who have gone to top 10 unis and for some their lives have amounted to nothing, as you've shown application and drive surpass the value of a degree
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    This is inspiring, thank you for sharing.

    In the numerous interviews that I've been to in the past, I have never been asked about my school grades. I've even applied for jobs that stated a degree is needed (I do not have a degree), but have gotten through the first and sometimes second interview stages. I know people who have never gotten degrees but are still in very well paid, high position jobs. Then again I guess it really does depend on the type of job/industry.
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    Well done!!
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    -
    Though I do think there is a big difference between people like yourself that drop out (and the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg) and the norm, in which I think ye are really just complete anomalies.

    First you need to be very very intelligent and have applied this in your own time to something practical - like programming. You also need a hell of a lot of luck, like getting your foot in the door, as you did.

    The average guy who fails university does so because he/she is generally lacking motivation or the capacity (though capacity/intelligence doesn't have a great deal of variation, so I tend to downplay 'intelligence').

    Though well done on the amazing job! Done very well for yourself.

    Would be interesting to hear about your previous academic achievement though: like what you got for your GCSE's and A levels (or equiv).
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    Hi All,


    Don't lose hope and.... ask me anything...
    Never lose hope * :cool:

    All I can say is well done, you've clearly worked hard after uni, and I agree with mostly everything you've said. As you said it bothers you not having a degree to some extent, do you feel that you may want to get your degree in the future or?
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Though I do think there is a big difference between people like yourself that drop out (and the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg) and the norm, in which I think ye are really just complete anomalies.

    First you need to be very very intelligent and have applied this in your own time to something practical - like programming. You also need a hell of a lot of luck, like getting your foot in the door, as you did.

    The average guy who fails university does so because he/she is generally lacking motivation or the capacity (though capacity/intelligence doesn't have a great deal of variation, so I tend to downplay 'intelligence').

    Though well done on the amazing job! Done very well for yourself.

    Would be interesting to hear about your previous academic achievement though: like what you got for your GCSE's and A levels (or equiv).
    Source?

    I agree that people shouldnt drop out willy nilly though, and congrats to you OP. Did you have a plan before you left?
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    (Original post by HarryDn)
    Source?

    I agree that people shouldnt drop out willy nilly though, and congrats to you OP. Did you have a plan before you left?
    Assumption on my part about people failing due to a lack of motivation or intelligence. The other addition would be personal problems which interfere with studying, or financial pressures. But generally speaking students have adequate funding - and even with holding a part time job, you can at least pull through a 2.2: many of my friends did (whilst disliking the work they were doing).
    If you don't put effort into what you do full time, you most likely aren't going to go home and take up programming to a high level (though OP did! but as a general rule).

    I don't feel the assumption I made is that unfair. If you have a counter view or evidence showing the cause of student drop outs (in 'normal' degree's), ye very welcome to!

    PS or do you mean the variation in intelligence?
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Assumption on my part about people failing due to a lack of motivation or intelligence. The other addition would be personal problems which interfere with studying, or financial pressures. But generally speaking students have adequate funding - and even with holding a part time job, you can at least pull through a 2.2: many of my friends did.

    I don't feel the assumption I made is unfair. If you have a counter view or evidence showing the cause of student drop outs (in 'normal' degree's), ye very welcome to!
    As someone who was interested in going into counselling for a while, I volunteered for Nightline/various other student services during my time at uni. A great percentage of those who drop out of uni have mental health issues such as depression (often undiagnosed, or just generally handled appallingly badly by the university campus GPs or counsellors. I talked to a guy on Nightline who ended up dropping out before having waited almost half a year to see a counsellor. A lot of people hadn't even told their friends about this sort of thing).

    Some people also want to change subjects/unis - basically leave and then reapply immediately after or a bit later - which I don't think is a sign of lack of motivation. I researched my uni and subject thoroughly, visited, everything, but there were still some things I wasn't happy about in the way it was taught or the uni as a whole, and had no way of finding out about till I got there.

    Or some just want to go into the working world. Which basically means being motivated to do things other than study. Nothing wrong with that, university's not for everyone even though schools have strong incentive to push it as such.

    What is your point based on? Sure, there's at least a couple of students per hundred who leave/get Thirds due to their fair share of boozing it up and too little hard work. But I'd be interested to see your evidence for that sort of thing being the majority.
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    (Original post by Loafing.Charizard)
    Never lose hope * :cool:

    All I can say is well done, you've clearly worked hard after uni, and I agree with mostly everything you've said. As you said it bothers you not having a degree to some extent, do you feel that you may want to get your degree in the future or?

    It weights heavy on my shoulders, plus I think it will hold me back one day so I am making plans to top up to a fill BSC then do an MSC.
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Though I do think there is a big difference between people like yourself that drop out (and the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg) and the norm, in which I think ye are really just complete anomalies.

    First you need to be very very intelligent and have applied this in your own time to something practical - like programming. You also need a hell of a lot of luck, like getting your foot in the door, as you did.

    The average guy who fails university does so because he/she is generally lacking motivation or the capacity (though capacity/intelligence doesn't have a great deal of variation, so I tend to downplay 'intelligence').

    Though well done on the amazing job! Done very well for yourself.

    Would be interesting to hear about your previous academic achievement though: like what you got for your GCSE's and A levels (or equiv).

    GCSE's mainly C's and B's. A-Levels mainly B's
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    (Original post by neverlosehope)
    It weights heavy on my shoulders, plus I think it will hold me back one day so I am making plans to top up to a fill BSC then do an MSC.
    With the OU, or are you going back to a full time degree?
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    (Original post by HarryDn)
    Source?

    I agree that people shouldnt drop out willy nilly though, and congrats to you OP. Did you have a plan before you left?
    Not really a plan, I just dealt with the blow of failing by hiding away for a few months until I decided to sort my life out. I then flipped my experience above my eduction on my degree and lead with my experience.
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    (Original post by HarryDn)
    With the OU, or are you going back to a full time degree?

    Will probably do it with one of the middle ranked uni's that offer BSC top up (distance). If that doesn't work out, the OU is my other option.
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    (Original post by HarryDn)
    As someone who was interested in going into counselling for a while, I volunteered for Nightline/various other student services during my time at uni. A great percentage of those who drop out of uni have mental health issues such as depression (often undiagnosed, or just generally handled appallingly badly by the university campus GPs or counsellors. I talked to a guy on Nightline who ended up dropping out before having waited almost half a year to see a counsellor. A lot of people hadn't even told their friends about this sort of thing).

    Some people also want to change subjects/unis - basically leave and then reapply immediately after or a bit later - which I don't think is a sign of lack of motivation. I researched my uni and subject thoroughly, visited, everything, but there were still some things I wasn't happy about in the way it was taught or the uni as a whole, and had no way of finding out about till I got there there.

    Or some just want to go into the working world. Which basically means being motivated to do things other than study. Nothing wrong with that, university's not for everyone.

    What is your point based on? Sure, there's at least a couple of students per hundred who leave/get Thirds due to their fair share of boozing it up and too little hard work. But I'd be interested to see your evidence for that sort of thing being the majority.
    Good on you for the volunteering. How did you find it?

    There does seem to be a v high prevalence of mental health problems amongst students (tho can't remember figures, but much higher than non-students?)
    The provision of uni mental health tends to be good generally speaking? (I hope).

    The mental health problems and lack of interest pretty much accounts for motivation. That's not to say they are to blame. I myself have had significant psychological issues in the past which has affected my studying, as have most.

    Leaving and then going back to uni, you still come out with the degree in the end.

    My point really was that if you don't try during your degree, usually people aren't going to try all that hard in other areas of improvement (like learning a complex skill). Regardless of the underlying cause.
 
 
 
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