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BLIND SPOT: To Graduate or Not to Graduate

This is the third of my streak of grumps on graduation. Let’s see until when this lasts. Education is important. You’ll never succeed without education; or so goes Filipino tradition. Alfredo Yao, President of Zest-O Corporation (Yes, that generic juice pack from which many other juice products are patterned.) “did not finish his education but this did not deter him from not making it despite that. He eventually made his Company become one of the leading juice manufacturers in the country together with China, New Zealand and Singapore.” Socorro C. Ramos “started working as a sales girl when she was only eighteen years old in Goodwill Bookstore in Escolta. She became good in sales and was later promoted to be in charge of the store and this went on to sharpen her skills in regards to administration and selling. When she got married, she and the husband started their own bookstore called National Book Store which provided cheaper access to books and school supplies.” (Yes; that iconic bookstore.) And she did that without a college degree. Oh, could we leave out Lucio Tan who now owns Philippine Airlines, Allied Bank, Asia Brewery, Fortune Tobacco and many other major corporations in the Philippines’, despite not having finished his education. ( “Edgar “Injap” Sia II, a 30-something entrepreneur whose barbecue chain has overtaken multinational chain McDonalds in the second top spot in a span of 7 years, did not finish college”. ( Kevin Velasco “dropped out of the University of the Philippines (UP) when he was 19 to pursue a career in product design. He is currently the Product Design Lead’ of a certain company. ) Going beyond the seas, you all know Bill Gates of Microsoft fame; no need to say more about him. He enrolled in Harvard; and eventually dropped out. Amancio Ortega the fourth richest person in the world, “never got to go to college because he did not finish high school. He worked as an errand boy for various shirt stores before opening his first store in 1975. The company would ultimately become the Inditex Group, currently one of the world’s largest fashion distributors, operating under several brand names including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius. With a net worth of $25 billion, Ortega is Spain’s richest man.” Mark Zuckerberg “studied psychology and computer science at Harvard University but decided to drop out when his Facebook website grew in popularity”. ( Now, let’s flip the coin to the other side. “A good example of an academically gifted student who has done well in business is former Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) president and now Far Eastern University (FEU) chairman Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III. He is a graduate of Ateneo and Harvard Business School. He also received the “Management Man of the Year” award in 2012 from the MAP, Asian Banker Leadership Award, Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier) from the French government.” Realty and mining businessman Jose “Joey” P. Leviste “is also an academic achiever at the Ateneo de Manila University (where he was elected student council president), Columbia University and Fordham University.” “Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Atty. Arnel Casanova is another academically proficient and conscientious student who became successful in his professional career and now a leader in the Philippine economy. He studied English as well as urban planning at University of the Philippines (UP) and then earned his master degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Harvard University.” “Mercury Drugstore chain’s low-key boss Vivian Que Azcona graduated with her BS Pharmacy degree with “cum laude” honors from the University of Santo Tomas. After this, she took up the Basic Management Program of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). She is president of the Mercury Group of Companies and Mercury Drug Foundation.” “Meralco’s head of marketing and customer solutions Tony Valdez is another honor student who has risen to success. He is a business management honors program graduate, top editor of the Ateneo college newspaper Guidon and took his MBA from AIM.” (from “Honor students—like famous dropouts—also excel as successful entrepreneurs”, You all know Lea Salonga; she “graduated valedictorian in elementary and high school at the O.B. Montessori”. ( Henry Sy Sr. graduated with Associate Arts, Commercial Studies in Far Eastern University in 1950. John Gokongwei Jr. graduated in San Carlos University; and took his MBA in De La Salle University in 1961. Jaime Zobel de Ayala graduated with a degree in BA Architectural Science in Harvard University in 1957. ( So, what’s the deal? Regardless of the toga or the diploma. Life would give you lemons. Make the best lemonade you can out of them. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

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