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Book Smarts vs Street Smarts

One way or the other we have all purchased an item on the road side. If you take a trip down memory lane, you will giggle at how that roadside seller finally persuaded you to buy that particular item. Yes, you admire his or her ability to market that item so well that you just had to buy it.

Marketing is the set of activities that aims to satisfy the customer while making a profit. Marketing is concerned with determining needs and meeting demand by making goods and services known, available and affordable.

Roadside sellers have a persistent attitude of not taking “NO” for an answer. They are able to sell their products with such panache under the scorching sun or during cold and harsh weather. They never use the weather as an excuse to skip work, and are such excellent bargainers. They work hard and persevere to make sales each day, unlike many college students who have studied Marketing for four good years.


These college graduates are most often poorly equipped for the job market, in the sense that, they do not have good negotiation skills and are unable to sell an idea effectively to a customer. The majority of these students hardly get the opportunity to do internships during their vacations, and, therefore, lack enough experience to apply their marketing skills to real life situations.

Our educational system is structured in a manner in which students tend to simply study for exams to get the results they desire. These students ignore the main reason they went to school in the first place, which is to learn skills and acquire knowledge to solve real life problems.

Students studying marketing in school equip themselves with great knowledge, including marketing research, advertising, publicity, sales promotion and sales management. However, after graduation, these students find it difficult to be employed because they cannot successfully apply what they were taught in school to resolve some problems.

On the streets, conversely, roadside sellers with very limited to no education, possess the requisite skills in marketing the items they sell to convince drivers and pedestrians to buy their wares. They do this exceptionally well and frequently hit their daily targets despite all obstacles.

How they do this successfully without having attained minimal or any education at all baffles me. Overall, I think The Street Smarts are the winners, not the Book smarts.

Author: Kwesi Otoo, threesixtyGh Writer

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