Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school, Albert Einstein supposedly once remarked.
He was probably referring to the fact that while lessons at school were important, what was more important was what one took away from the classroom.
The values, the desire for scholarship, the friendships and relationships one nurtured in school was equally, if not more important, than learning mathematical models and memorising scientific facts.
Today, education is taken for granted, a universal right that most people in developed countries expect.
But more than just giving them literacy skills, and making the most of each child’s potential, a good education also equips them with the right networks to excel in life.
Some critics may point to business luminaries such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as examples of people who show that having a university education is not essential.
But while they are exceptional individuals, the evidence that a good university education, and the networks it provides, correlating with high levels of success is undisputed.
A study of the impact on Ivy League graduates bears this out.
Some 45 per cent of billionaires in the US, 64 per cent of Davos attendees and 85 per cent of powerful men were from Ivy League universities.
Similarly, a study of the biggest foundations in the US showed that four in five of the board directors of these foundations have graduated from Ivy League schools.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, graduates from Oxbridge dominate the political and business elite in the United Kingdom.
Indeed, it is outside school that one realises the real value of investing into a good education for one’s children.
These children grow up together, and when they move into adulthood, the friendships forged in school form a strong foundation for an invaluable network of like-minded and ambitious leaders.
Many of the clients we see at Bank of Singapore understand the importance of gifting their children with the very best education they can get.
But many often leave it till it is too late.
One mistake many make is assuming that the biggest impact is made at the university or tertiary level.
In fact, a good education begins at a much younger age.
Some of the most sought-after schools have an extremely long waiting list, filled with parents eager to get their kids into the school.
Similarly, at the secondary school level, some of the top boys and girls around the world are eyeing a spot in public schools such as Charterhouse and Eton.
It is not easy to get into these top schools, which attract children from all over the world.
Grades are pre-requisite but even exemplary grades are not a sure-fire way to secure a place in these schools. The key is to start early.
Some parents start preparing their children as young as seven because the queue can stretch back two years.
They send their kids to summer classes and exchange programmes so that their children are familiar with the school and the country’s culture, and vice versa.
To get in, children must take both tests and undergo interviews before they are admitted into the school.
Competition is extremely tough.
We have helped our clients to plan for their children to enter these top schools by helping them link up with the schools as well as organisations which can assist and guide the family with in the entry process.
Opportunity for investment
For many Asians, the chance to send their children to schools in the UK and the US also means there are opportunities for investment.
Families may want to buy a property to house their children as they study. Eventually, the goal may also be for the child to settle there, which means attention needs to be given to thing such as taxes and other legal issues.
For example if a child stays in a foreign country for a long time, he or she will be deemed domicile and may be subject to taxes in that country.
These administrative issues are small compared to the bigger goal of giving children the best education they can get. Nonetheless, we help our clients with these issues, as part of our services to them.
More importantly, we also understand that many of our clients want to start investing in their children’s future as early as possible.
In today’s globally competitive world, where networks are crucial, getting into the right crowd matters.
To this end, one cannot simply start only when the next generation is ready to enter the workforce – it is never too young for business families to start building a meaningful global network for their scions.Disclaimer applicable to recommendation
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