Olanrewaju Adepetun studied political science at the University of Ibadan where he graduated with a second class upper division. He went back in 2009 for the master’s program and finished with a PhD. Grade.
Currently, he works as a Trade Finance Expert in an international bank where he majorly focuses on import/export finance combined with commodity trade structuring. A Certified International Trade Finance Specialist with the School of Banking & Finance, Scotland, he also trains and speaks to young people about business and success. He talks to Joy Ehonwa about his revolutionary, soon-to-be-launched book, Why School Doesn’t Guarantee Success.
CN: What inspired you to write Why School Doesn’t Guarantee Success?
I wrote the book at a point in my life when I was struggling to find answers to the question of success. I was trying to find out if I could discover some flags that will help me reach a conclusion or better still answer the question. So I began to question my background, family, school, friends, environment, experiences and failures just in a bid to find an answer. All I wanted was to discover a magic fix or explanation or thesis that could help me and that I could share with others who are also caught up in the same tangle. I tried very hard but I could not answer the question. What I could call answers were nothing more than excuses. So I stopped and adopted the comparative analysis. We used this theory often in political science. I began to compare myself to people that never had my level of schooling and then asked if they were successful. For those that were successful, I studied more carefully and those that weren’t I didn’t bother with.
What I discovered from the ones I studied was that school wasn’t a determinant factor, in some cases, they never attended school beyond the primary level and here they are, successful and fulfilling purpose by their own definition. So that meant that some people never went to school but they are successful.
That got me angry and at the same time got me thinking. I realised that some people who never went to school were also getting educated, not in the classroom but on the street. I said to myself, no one ever spoke to us about street education as a potent form of education. All we were told was that education started and ended within the four walls of a school. We were not given that option.
So I quickly did the profile of the richest people in the world and I found out that three (3) of the first five either dropped out of school or never attended beyond the primary/secondary level. I can give you some names to check out; Bill Gates (Microsoft), Armancio Ortega (Zara), Richard Branson (Virgin), Henry Ford (Ford), Ted Turner (CNN), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).
Immediately I felt a deep sense of duty to let people know the truth about school and success. They needed to know the difference and that they had an option. Also, because I needed to show that the present school curriculum is limiting in structure and implementation. The present school curriculum explains why we have millions of students graduate every year and yet very few are able to get a job. The present school curriculum prepares students to be employees rather than employers. My book exposes that fact and also addresses it.
So to put it straight I got inspired by the need to unmask the lies about school.
CN: When you say, “Don’t let school waste your time, you are richer without it” are you suggesting that getting a degree is unnecessary?
Getting a degree is good but not great. It only becomes great when you make a success out of it. If the degree you claim you have has put you in chains whereby you can’t do anything else except someone employs you then that degree is your enemy. Have you not heard stories of people between the ages of 40 – 45 or even older aggressively pushing out CVs for employment? This time around not as a consultant/expert but a regular staff. These things are everywhere. Nobody is asking why because we don’t care until there’s final collapse of the system. The school structure is like a laboratory where the situations are predetermined, and without real life experiences. So, the mind of the student is already told a lie and when that student comes to the real world, everything becomes different. Parents would emphasize good grades as a yardstick for immediate employment but now grades are no longer sufficient because the ratio of companies to graduates is 1:150 if not more. So, good grades are no longer the answer.
When I say don’t let school waste your time, you are richer without it, what I am implying is that as you go to school don’t neglect the other forms of education that are outside the four walls of a classroom as some people never attended those schools but today are very successful. Also because averagely, school shuts you out of the real world in the most creative years of a student. The creative years of a child are between 10 and 25 and in those years the child is in the classroom. That’s a period when the child is supposed to be engaged actively within and outside the walls of a school. When that age period is lost the child/ward becomes mentally trapped where all he wants is for someone to employ him.
So don’t let school waste your time, manage your time across educational experiences that will liberate you from all forms of slavery.
CN: What would you say are the ingredients for a successful life?
The ingredients for a successful life can be understood in three key elements which are Information, Knowledge and Action. How you successfully make these three interact will go a long way in achieving success. These three elements are key for a successful life and I share more details on them in my book.
CN: At the end of Why School Doesn’t Guarantee Success, you would want your readers to…?
…understand that success is not a question of school but a question of desire for success and the willingness to go for it without harming others. What makes the difference is the fire you have in you. If you so much desire it, then equip yourself with both hard and soft skills and be ready to fly, walk or swim as the situation demands. This book will make you appreciate failure. This book will inspire you and you will be happy you bought it. Get it for yourself and friends.
CN: What advice would you give someone trying to write and publish their first book?
Writing is not difficult when you are convinced about your topic. Writing is about addressing an issue or topic which you want to share with the public. Anybody can write if he or she wants to. We have editors to help put the material in shape. When writing your first book, please ignore all the formats and structures you must have seen in different writing materials. Just write as it comes to your head. If you try to put a structure from the start, you will most likely be unable to finish the book. So just write, and you can later start re-arranging in chapters after completing the manuscript.
Writing a book isn’t about volumes, it’s about the relevance of the content. Don’t try to over flog your book when writing. You can flesh it out but don’t overdo it. Readers can tell.
Enlist the help of a great editor to help put the book in perspective. Find a reputable publisher who has the clout with major bookstores to ease the retailing of the book. It might cost you more but it’s actually worth it.
Finally writing helps you build a platform that can be used in various ways. You might not make the money from the sale of the books as you might have wanted but because the book speaks, various opportunities will come for you that will yield far greater returns.
Write to make a mark in history, so that other generations will learn from you. Give your quota while you can.
Why School Doesn’t Guarantee Success will be launched on Wednesday, September 27th 2017 at Conference Room C, Protea Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos. The event begins at 11 am.