You Can’t Beat Experience

I got this story from a local newspaper – The Straits Times (Singapore) and found it very relevant to our learning journey. It is about how an ITE (Institute of Technical Education) graduate’s commitment to learning has paid off since he left school. Now without giving too much away, read the story below!


Singapore – MR TONY KAM’s O-level results were not good enough to get him into a pre-university course – but his career turned out pretty well after all.

He enrolled in the Institute of Tecnical Education (ITE) and graduated in 1976 with was was then called an Industrial Technician Certificate.

His first job paid $1000 a month, but he now makes 20 times that much as country manager for technology products at software firm Oracle.

His story of determination was highlighted by Education Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in a speech at the ITE graduation ceremony.

He pointed out that the first job for many an ITE graduate is “just the start of a journey of continuous learning”.

Mr Kam, 50, is an apt example. After leaving the ITE, he worked as a customer engineer at IBM, earning about $1000 a month. He then moved to the company’s sales department. After 19 years with IBM, he left to become an account director at Sun Mircrosystems.

During that time, he also earned a marketing diploma from the Marketing Insitute of Singapore and a certification in management from the Singapore Institute of Management.

Said Mr Kam, who now manages a nine-man sales team at Oracle: “Papers are important, but you can’t beat experience.”

The Straits Times, Singapore


“Papers are important, but you can’t beat experience.”

Well said. Qualifications are important, but there’s no beating experience!

I found this article to be highly inspirational, because it serves to highlight the sweet nectar success one can come to expect with determination and commitment to growth and learning.

I believe the same spirit and determination can be applied to the arena of public speaking and communication!

I recall a speech once made by a very Distinguished Toastmaster not too far back. He said:
“Does your title really make you a Competent Communicator? And does the tag DTM really mean that you’re Distinguished?”

At the end of the day, these titles are just that – titles. Who are you really, if these titles were taken away from you? Are you still as “Distinguished” as you are?

The point is, what really counts is the level of skill and ability that you possess. Mere words, or titles, do not make you what you are. And at the end of the day, it’s the audience who decide if you’re truly a Competent Communicator, a Distinguished Toastmaster, or really just another Tom, Dick and Harry who’s struggling to make a speech.

Qualifications are important. But you can’t beat the experience…

… growing;
… of delivering a speech;

… of gaining insights that come to you through action.

Are you ready to make your next speech?

Qualifications are important. But you can’t beat experience.

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