You are way more than your degree - The Whole You

By Ray DePaul

There's a concept that every product manager understands called the whole product. It's easily explained with an example. The iPhone is more than just the physical hardware. If that was all that Apple released, BlackBerry might still be ruling the world. The iPhone whole product includes the iOS software. It includes the iTunes software and store. The whole product includes the hundreds of wireless networks that it operates on and the thousands of accessories that, among other things, protect the iPhone when you drop it. It includes the App Store, the 1.5M apps, and the promise of many many more. The whole product is everything that the user needs and expects to get when she buys the iPhone as well as the promise of everything it could become. iPhone is a remarkably whole product.

So let's apply this concept to you, the student. If you view yourself as a product that you will launch on graduation day, what is the Whole You that will be released to the world? Your degree and formal education is definitely a part of you, but, like the iPhone hardware, it isn't even close to being enough. The Whole You includes your work experience, your volunteer experience, and your soft skills. It includes your interests and ambitions, your network, and your personal brand. It also includes things dearest to you like your values and your relationships.


I'm sure I've missed some elements that make up the Whole You, so feel free to expand the list. The important thing to remember is that during your university career, you can't simply focus on the education part of You. You have to spend some time and energy building out the rest of You. When you launch yourself onto the world on graduation day, make sure there is an iPhone-sized lineup waiting to be the first to get their hands on you. This will only happen if you build a complete and compelling Whole You.