Tag Archives: career

Never Too Late to Change Your Focus

Believe it or not, we didn’t start Suits and Books to promote woolen blazers.

We started it as we were on a challenging journey of chasing our dreams nearly 3 years ago and we wanted to share this journey with you. Perhaps, we fell into the big consumerism trap, bombarded by the same media images that we have all been surrounded by. We felt that we stopped creating and only started consuming (Great article by The Minimalists, worth your attention) and we have never felt more ready to change that focus. On a quiet Sunday where making a list with ‘what are we truly passionate about’ seemed like the obvious choice of activity, everything we wrote linked to social change, social mobility, equality, financial education, empowerment, art, mentoring, progression. There were no cute dresses or even obscurely expensive lunches.

We always wanted Suits and Books to be the shortcut for the ambitious, driven, passionate people who were keen to enter the business world. And as we just, ignorantly, found out that ‘Life is short, and Art long.’ was actually a philosophy concept from the Ancient Greek times, it would feel inadequate to continue this journey in the same way.

We have been very fortunate and privileged and for most of the last few years, consciously aware of it. And what we would find truly rewarding is creating value for others.

While we’re figuring out what would be the shape and form of our next project, you can enjoy another moderately exquisite brunch at the Bluebird Chelsea in London from the beginning of this summer.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

Is University Worth it?

If Oppenheimer thought that the whole world is going to hell, then the cover of this week issue of The Economist certainly implies an alternative view.

is university worth it

Debating whether going to university is worth the opportunity cost or measuring the positive impact on a country’s GDP prospects seems as bizarre as a company wondering what the purpose of training its people is if they are eventually going to leave. If a firm can afford investment in education, can a state disregard investing in it? Is ignorance considered a virtue?

The ‘too many graduates for our job market’ argument has been on-going in the press for a while, with a number of spectators applauding any voice raised that 50 years ago only 10% of the population were university alumni, as if that’s something to be celebrated. In the same school of thought, 100 years ago studying beyond Year 6 was rare and often seen as unnecessary.

While being strong supporters of Widening Participation, we cannot deny the existence of alternative routes to a successful life career, whether that is through entrepreneurial endeavours, vocational and online training or apprenticeships. At the same time, increasing the number of people in Higher Education is and should be the right path towards a more socially balanced, curious, mature and critically thinking society.

We passionately disagree with the myopic suggestion that the only purpose of Higher Education is to secure, ensure or solidify one’s job opportunities in the labour market. That’s all up to the individual’s effort and own capabilities. Stone, red brick or mortar and click, universities have a much more versatile, resourceful and omnipresent function and many of these institutions succeed in their purpose, i.e. developing potential, equipping individuals with life skills and broadening knowledge and perspectives. Yes, it comes at a price but what is the alternative?

With all our respect to The Economist and its simplifications of reality, something not unheard for someone sharing the same occupation, a declaration that these tuition fee grabbing educational establishments should finally make sure ‘students learn the right stuff’, makes us slightly apprehensive.

Perhaps Oppenheimer was right.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

The real life of recent graduates

Neoclassical economics, profanity and weak coffee make us angry.  Glorification of laziness gets us furious.

As recent graduates, we couldn’t ignore a catchy title of an article that referred to what happens to you immediately after you graduate. Half-expecting some form of a sarcastic list of life events, we discovered more, much more than anticipated. We found out that as recent graduates we can easily be categorised as:

Hungover individuals living with their parents, doubting the choice of a university degree, bashing the success of others, furious about our low pay, questioning why we have travelled the world, condemning the idea of doing a master’s degree as a waste of time/money, reminiscing of A-level results day, refusing to read a book for the following 5 years, having a 21-year-old boss, buying dinner with money from selling old textbooks, doing a dead-end job (and several repetitions of being poor and miserable).

As a start, we don’t deny the existence of such recent graduates, especially after the prompt response to the article of dozens of charming tweets cementing those views by the cheerful ‘Well done mate, what a great article’.  We don’t have a problem with someone’s sense of humour, nor with the lamenting voice and occasional bitter self-pity.

What we have an issue with is the celebration of failure in a glorious, self-promoting, laddish, YOLO way. We refuse to be put in a stereotype of today’s generation as semi-employed boomerang kids that have a maturity level close to zero.

recent graduates

That’s why we came up with our own list: The real life of recent graduates.

  1. We identified what career paths we want way before graduation. Co-founding a start-up or getting onto one of those bespoke Grad schemes, we have put the effort to get to where we are.
  2. We earn decent salaries and while we look forward to our forthcoming promotion, we know well what our current level of experience is and how much more we need to achieve.
  3. We do care about the world we live in – we’re embarrassed when we hear MPs voicing ideas about the UK stocking up with nuclear weapons to protect itself from Russia and we are angry when we read about the ridiculous bubble the London housing market is in.
  4. We indeed read books and we are subscribed to journals, magazines and newspapers that tell us more than the daily gossip.
  5. We didn’t pick a university subject for no apparent reason. Even if we are not working in the area from our studies, we make the most of the skills and networks we have developed.
  6. We already have a master’s degree or we know at which point it will be beneficial to do one.
  7. We couldn’t care less about the A-level results day when we were 18. We have achieved much more than a few As since then.
  8. We would hate to go back to the same clubs and bars we used to go to as students, simply because we know we can do so much better. No sticky floors, no skimpy clothes my dears.
  9. We couldn’t care less about the hoodie someone is wearing. We wear suits.
  10. We would much rather see a play in the Shakespeare Globe than watch endless episodes of MIC.
  11. We have some money in the bank account and while we’re happy to save, we find the low interest rates discouraging.
  12. We have dinner parties. With real food and plates.
  13. We’re ok with drinking two glasses of wine on a Saturday night. Because we know that the YOLO approach will not get us very far.
  14. We aspire to be successful entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders. Glorifying sitting on the sofa isn’t part of our plans.

We strongly believe that solid education is not just about improving our employability skills. It is about making informed choices. A good education should provide tools for personal growth and brand new perspectives on one’s own capabilities and options.

While at this stage of our life we have chosen to be City professionals, we are fully aware of many other options ahead. The rhetoric of self-aggrandisement does not appeal to us. Neither does the glorification of idleness.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.