Careerism is not simply the desire to succeed. In the work place, careerist individuals are often seen as conniving workers who will stop at nothing to succeed. At the university, college, or even high school levels, careerism is the desire to pursue a career or field of study simply because it carries the prospect of financial stability; e.g., wanting to become a medical doctor because of the luxurious lifestyle that is often associated with the profession. Sometimes, this act is anecdotally referred to as "paying for/buying a degree" (in contrast to attending an institution of higher education for purposes of personal growth or enlightenment, which is what opponents of careerist philosophy believe those institutions should be used for).
Careerists may or may not have any "natural talent" or interest beyond fiscal gain in their chosen fields; these qualities are usually seen as irrelevant.