Is college preparing students for work in the coming world?

In an interview of Laszlo Bock by Adam Bryant, published in the New York Times, there is a great quote that I think addresses some of the concern I feel about the current educational system:

“After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.

Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment. One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer. You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.” – Laszlo Bock (Bryant, 2013)

That is not to say that you can not learn practical skills in school, but if you do not understand how they apply in the world outside of academia and why you are learning those particular skills, you are only learning half of the what you need to learn.

Reference:
Bryant, A. (2013, June 19). In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal. Retrieved May 29, 2015, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/business/in-head-hunting-big-data-may-not-be-such-a-big-deal.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&

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