Does your gpa determine your success?

In high school, GPA is everything.

In fact, students place so much importance on the two digit number that at times it seems as though no one looks at the person you are but at the number that has come to represent you. Introductions might as well be cut to a hi this is my GPA first; I’ll give you my name later.

So why the all-consuming numerical obsession? Well, somewhere down the road, someone determined that the higher your high school GPA, the better your college, and then the better your college GPA, the more successful you will be in the workforce. A lifetime of high grade point averages leads to a lifetime of success, right? Wrong. At least according to Google’s senior vice president of people operations Laszlo Bock.

Bock has been working in Google’s hiring process for years and is working on revolutionizing the way they hire people, by shifting away from any focus on GPA. The company is asking less and less for GPA during the hiring process as they notice more and more the nonexistent correlation between school and workforce success.

“Academic environments are artificial environments,” Bock said. “People who succeed there are sort of finely trained; they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment.”

This “fine training” is exactly the problem. While some students may be successful in school by perfecting color coded study methods and multiple choice savvy, oftentimes this does not translate into the creative intellect required to be successful and innovative in a job, or even just in life.

“It’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer,” Bock said. “You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.”

People coming out of school with exceptional GPAs expect to be exceptionally rewarded for their ability to master the school system. But that does not mean they will be able to master life. There is no cut-and-dry formula for solving life’s problems, so stop obsessing over raising your GPA and start working on developing some real life skills.