Why put all degrees and titles on visiting cards

Walking back from the corner shop, Mr Chowdhury met a neighbour who inquired about what his sons are doing nowadays.

Mr Chowdhury explained that his eldest son completed his Master's in Economics, the middle son has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, and the youngest one is a politician.

The neighbour was impressed by the older two, but about the youngest, he said, "I would have thrown him out of the house."

Chowdhury quickly responded, saying: "But he is the only one earning money. The rest are unemployed."

The moral of the story: a degree is not everything in one's career.

I had earned my certified management accountant degree well before I joined Unilever and was excited to add it to my visiting card. But then I observed that others in the office did not mention their degrees in their cards, no matter how prestigious it was.

Perplexed, I asked the head of HR, who confirmed that there is an unwritten policy of not mentioning degrees on the card because your work is more important than your degrees and that it may be taken as an attempt on your part to imply that you are superior to those with whom you share the card. That was a well-learnt lesson at the start of my career, a lesson that I itch to impart whenever I am handed a card filled with such details.

I was under the spotlight recently when I ran an election campaign for a professional body. My followers urged me to have my professional degrees on my card, arguing that it would not be advantageous if I didn't. But I refused to budge despite the highlighted risks and the positive election results proved such efforts' futility.

The benefits of tertiary and professional qualifications lie in the edge they give you in terms of increased knowledge and expertise, career advancement, networking, and relatively speedier personal growth during the early stage of your career.

While listing degrees and certifications on a visiting card can indicate a person's education and professional qualifications, it does not necessarily make one superior if that is the intent of the exercise. Many factors, including work experience, skills, and accomplishments, primarily measure professional capabilities.

Additionally, some may have relevant knowledge and experience that can't be gauged by formal education or certifications. Therefore, displaying degrees on the card does not serve the intended purpose; instead, it may indicate vanity and frivolity. 

Another perspective we often tend to miss is that multiple degrees also come with a cost, not only in terms of financial investment but also the time invested. It also highlights if the investment would pay off in the long run and how far it would correlate to a real-world experience.

I have yet to see a direct relationship between the number of degrees and career progression. Rather many promising corporate individuals have lagged because of their passion for acquiring new degrees. Undoubtedly, a good degree helps get a suitable designation and good pay at the initial stage of one's career. But after that, an employee is judged primarily on his or her job performance.

Certification courses to improve individual or organisational productivity are crucial, but not necessarily academic or professional degrees.  If the available time is shared between the job and degrees compared to someone who primarily focuses on the job is likely to succeed as a corporate leader.

Do we need a visiting card in the current digital era? Wouldn't a bar code on your mobile phone suffice, not to mention how eco- and people-friendly it would be?

The author is a telecom and management expert.


Shakib Al Hasan
১ ঘণ্টা আগে|ক্রিকেট

এশিয়া কাপ ও বিশ্বকাপে বাংলাদেশের অধিনায়ক সাকিব

বিসিবি সভাপতি নাজমুল হাসান পাপন সংবাদমাধ্যমের কাছে অধিনায়ক হিসেবে সাকিবের নাম নিশ্চিত করেছেন।