First Class Degree Makes You Arrogant, Students Lack Soft Skills
Having a first class degree makes people arrogant, an attorney has claimed as she revealed she gives priority to graduates with a 2:1
Sarah Perkins, a patent attorney and partner at Stevens Hewlett and Perkins, said high achieving students often lack “soft skills” including the ability to communicate with clients and process information quickly. She added that academia encourages some students “to think they can do anything because they are clever” and leads them to assume they are suited for any job.
It comes as tens of thousands of university students received their degree classifications last month, with many graduates starting new jobs in September.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Perkins, who achieved a 2:1 in physics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “In all my years I have been recruiting, I have singularly failed to find a good candidate with a first class degree, so I choose to consider and interview people with lower classifications first.”
Ms Perkins, 52, who has been hiring for the intellectual property firm, which has offices in Bristol and London, for a decade, said she was angry people were often disappointed in the second-rate classification. Instead, she immediately discards anyone who has a top degree and no extra-curricular activities on their CV. She only interviews those with the highest classification if their additional work is outstanding.
She blamed the “intense intellect and great knowledge” of first class students for the difference, stating that those who hold 2:1 degrees “are far more rounded”. Graduates with firsts also often “talk down” to her during interviews, she said.
In all my years I have been recruiting, I have singularly failed to find a good candidate with a first class degree
“We get the students with first class degrees who haven’t made the cut with some of the bigger firms and they are far less likely to have the softer skills because they are less rounded,” Ms Perkins said. She added: “I think academia can encourage people who aren’t strong in some areas to think they can do anything because they are clever but that’s not true.
“If you don’t have the skills, I don’t think you should assume you are the right person for the job. Academic brilliance encourages an arrogance that is not helpful.”
One in five graduates was awarded a first-class degree in 2014, while 70 per cent gained a 2:1, figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed.
Author: Lydia Willgress