I'm getting my undergrad BA this spring. I, like many of my fellow undergrad business major students, am continually realizing that tests don't matter, that multiple choice is a joke, and that GPA (hence 'College Marketing, 4.0') is just a nuisance .
But you see...it DOES matter. It matters because I've been told since I was 5 that it DOES matter. I have to maintain x GPA to stay in the honors program. I have to maintain a x GPA to graduate from the business school. My parents expect x+1 GPA to keep me on the mommy and daddy scholarship. The funny thing is, at least in our business school, GPA is so inflated to make sure students can reach all those expectations, that the number means nothing. My business communications teacher once complained that 'the administration basically wants me to grade between a 3.2 and a 3.8, that gives me very little room to actually analyze anything.'
Why do we do this? Seth Godin, Purple Cow genius, bloged today about sheepwalking: all the people, PARTICULARLY students, who do the status quo, to meet parental, societal, or institutional expectations, and are afraid to ever do anything remarkable. The subtitle of Godin's Big Moo collaboration is 'stop trying to be perfect and start being remarkable.' Now that's something to think about.
I am starting Athleon while i'm in school with that in mind. Why bump heads with all my fellow soon-to-be grads, trying to get entry level jobs with big name firms in hope of a FUTURE acceptance to an MBA program, or position with a smaller/ more personal firm (which of course requires the training given by big names that accept entry-level grads), to get an idea to start something of their own. Everyone at the beginning of class, during the 'icebreaker,' says they want to start a company someday. Well, I've got an idea, so I'm going to do it now. I can go get the entry level job next year, it's not going anywhere. Maybe Athleon will be huge, maybe it'll be nothing, but I'm going to see what happens.
When you drive in the mountains in Colorado, you pass a lot of mountain goats. You say 'oohh cool,' and you strain to see them as you keep driving. When you pass a big horn sheep though, you pull over and take a picture.
It'll be fun to see in ten years who does something, as Godin says, 'remarkable,' or 'Big Horn Sheep like.' He says it often means going against the status quo. I look forward to finding out if he's right.