New research has revealed that if you want to become a corporate high flyer like Richard Branson or Stelios Haji-Ioannou then you should forget about doing an MBA, PhD or any other form of post graduate qualification.

The recent study, which was conducted by leading search and talent consultancy Wickland Westcott, discovered that these very costly qualifications are not an essential ingredient for becoming a high-performing employee – or ‘star’, as they are labelled in the report.

The findings, which surveyed 2,000 professionals and managers, also discovered that seven per cent of graduates go on to become ‘stars’ and just two per cent of those who finished their studies after doing their A-Levels.

Managing director of Wickland Westcott, Colin Mercer, comments: “Six per cent of the people we assessed were categorised as ‘stars’ – genuine high-performers. Our data shows that these people are particularly strong in the areas of leadership, communication and strategic thinking.

“Further education helps – only two per cent of those educated to A-level go on to be stars, whereas seven per cent of graduates do so. However, education only contributes up to a certain point – those people assessed with post-graduate qualifications were no more likely to be business leaders than those educated to degree level. With graduates, their analysis and decision-making tends to be a bit sharper, plus they typically scored more highly in the creativity and continuous improvement domains.”

The study also revealed that teamwork is the area where stars tend to be least strong. They score as well as their lower performing colleagues in this area, but it is rarely an outstanding feature of their profile.