Education: BS, Bowling Green State University; MBA, University of Michigan

First Job: Detroit Bank & Trust Co., banking center management trainee program

My Philosophy: Remember R.I.T.: relationships come before issues and tasks.


Linda D. Forte 

Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer

award winner

Without a doubt I believe a college degree provides an unmatched return on investment and the same insurance for your future as it once did. I recognize that student debt and student loan rates are at an all-time high and overall it’s an expensive proposition for young people. As students today look at job opportunities and starting salaries compared to the cost of their education, it can seem overwhelming.

However, even with the increased cost of tuition, an education will still help you go further and achieve more in the long run. Research shows that over time college graduates make in excess of a million dollars more than high school graduates. Back in the 1950s and 1960s a high school graduate had great potential to earn just as much as a college graduate. By entering the workforce immediately it may have even given them a slight advantage.

However, the world has changed and it’s no secret that the economy is struggling. Today there are fewer non-technical, non-specialty positions available for high school graduates and a college education is key to long-term success. Unemployed college graduates who think they are in similar positions as high school graduates don’t realize the opportunities that lie ahead of them. When the economy rebounds, employers will be looking for educated people with a broad knowledge of global markets, global economies, and nimbleness to quickly adapt to change.

High school graduates, as smart as they may be, may not have the same level of analytical and critical thinking skills as college graduates, and employers recognize that. The world needs a new level of sophistication and it is the education of our future generations that will be the source of that talent.

When you go to an employer and are armed with a college degree, it is as though you are presenting a ticket that has been punched for so many additional skills beyond what is offered in high school. Your ticket has been punched for analytical thinking, hard work, determination, exposure to worldly and creative ideas, increasing technological solutions, diversity and much more. When you present this ticket against someone who has only achieved a high school education, there really isn’t a choice when it comes to being competitive in the job market. In the words of Malcolm X, “Education is the passport to the