Do you know what is common in between bill gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg?

They are all college dropouts who went on to set up the most known companies in the world.

And, they have inspired a generation of entrepreneurs who want to change the world like they did.

The companies they established have also produced a series of entrepreneurs who have further gone to set up famous ventures such as Quora.

We cannot thank them enough for inspiring so many people.

Well. I am not going sing paeans to the legends of the business world.

Instead, the purpose of the blog is to bring attention to how a good number of students are wrongly getting inspired by the “college dropout” tag of these guys.

I meet so many youngsters who think going to college or getting professional experience before starting a venture was a waste of time.

I don’t blame the legends. They never intended to inspire us to “drop out of college or start a company just after colleges”.

We, the mortals are selective at picking the best or worst of things as per our convenience.

Give us an option to choose and we will select the one which falls under our comfort zone.

For ex, no one points to the fact that all these college dropouts were from some of the best colleges in the world.

They must have worked hard or must have been brainy enough to crack the interview process of colleges like Stanford, Harvard, etc.

It is no mean task getting in Harvard, Stanford or Yale Business school.

So, we focus on the word “college”, not the type of college these guys dropped out from.

Bottom line is “They were already good”.

And they were confident enough to let go of a degree for their passion.

You seriously need to have balls of steel to drop out of Harvard or Stanford.

I took their example because their names are the ones I hear the most from college drop or college going students who have are all set to drop from college to start their ventures.

After you start your venture, you learn the hard way that this is not what you bargained for.

There is no fixed monthly salary. There are no fixed work timings. Weekends are a myth.

Ultimately, it leads to unnecessary pressure (the first-time business owner) who are new to the game.

You are young. You are inexperienced, and you have ever experienced the pressure of running a business.

And worse, you are now without a college degree which means, your chances of getting a decent job has also come down drastically.

Let me ask you a simple question “Did these guys inspire you the wrong way?”

They never said “Hey! Drop out of college and get started with business”.

Colleges are more than just about getting degrees. In fact, colleges have a lot more to offer in terms of experience which go on to define you as a person and as a business owner (if you decide to start a venture after college).

Here are 3 reasons you should have a college degree:

  • The College experience:

I wasn’t the brightest in the class. I wasn’t the apple of teacher’s eye and I hated engineering.

Whatever was taught in the class rarely made any sense to me. To pass, I turned to my favourite trick “slog every word in the book till you know the answers to all questions”.

And I passed first class, without any backs in college. (I specifically mention “without any backs” because it was an achievement to pass from my university without getting any backs throughout your college).

Overall, I was a decent student who knew how to not fail in exams.

Today, if you ask me “Given a chance would you want to drop out of college?”

Despite, all my mediocrity in studies and no love for engineering, I can answer the question without giving it a second thought “I would love to go back to college.

Do you know why?

Because college has a great role in shaping my personality.

It is in college that I got the chance to write my first article as the editor of my branch’s magazine.

Something, which has really helped me in starting my career as A Digital Marketing Trainer.

It is in college that I realized that I have good leadership skills (I was one of the worst players on our cricket team who happened to captain the team)

And it is in college I learned how to do sales?

Since I was the editor of the branch magazine, I was also the guy responsible to get advertisements for the magazine.

To get advertisements, we approached new businesses.

I know most of you would have done this during your college days and must have had a fair success in getting ads.

But it was a big deal for us as the magazine wasn’t the college magazine but a magazine of Computer science and IT Branch.

Moreover, I was the editor of the magazine which was yet to come out with its first edition.

I was doing sales for a startup which was yet to come with the first version of the product.

You know what I am talking about 😊.

As I mentioned earlier, college was helping me get better at skills I would need as an Entrepreneur.

Add to above, the learning I gained about people from different parts of the country.

My College was in Bangalore and we had students from across the country studying with me.

In college, I learned about the mindset of people from these locations.

How does it help?

Next time you meet a client from a different location, you at least have the understanding of their culture.

At least, you know the crude jokes you crack up North might be too rude for the guys down south 😊

Lastly, when I design our Entrepreneurship Development Programs – I design them based on what I would have expected from these programs during my college days.

The college days have given me a lot more than I bargained for.

  • College can help you find Business partners:

College is where you find buddies for life. By the time you are done with school, you are well past your teenage days. You are on the brink of turning into an adult – turn into “the responsible guy”.

I would say, you are mature enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

At this stage of life, you meet friends who stay with you for next 3 to 4 years.

The time you spend with them is invaluable.

You learn about their weakness, strength, etc.

If you decide to have a venture just after college, what better than having your college mate as your first business partner.

I mention this point because it is quite difficult to find a business partner these days.

You cannot just walk to someone and ask them to be your business partner.

Friends from college understand you better than anyone else (at times better than parents).

It is one of the reason most of the startups are started by friends from college days.

They have that bonding to form a formidable partnership to help them pass the thick and thin of times.

  • Backup option:

We all know 8 out of 10 startups fail.

What if your startup failed?

What is the fall-back option for you?

Most of the job openings in the market from good MNCs have a min cut off – 65%.

Now without a degree, you don’t qualify for the interview. So the above criteria are not even applicable to you.

Already, entrepreneurs find it difficult to find a job. You only cut your chances of finding a job to a single digit percentage by not having a degree.

Let me give you an example. I have a friend who is a Senior VP in a company.

This guy had his IT Company in Malaysia/

Due to some reason, the business failed. He decided to get back to the job and as per him, he could only find one because of his degrees.

The fundamental of getting a job is “Degree + Experience”.

Without a degree, you are in the peril of losing out on a lot of opportunities.

With a degree, you can start afresh with a new life any time after your venture has failed.

College degrees are important. Do not ignore them just because someone told you that Bill Gates dropped out of college.

All this fancy stuff sounds good in talks. In real life, I do not know of too many bill gates.

On the other hand, I know too many people who struggle to get jobs after failed ventures because they have no college degree to back their experience.

Jasmeet Singh on EmailJasmeet Singh on LinkedinJasmeet Singh on TwitterJasmeet Singh on Youtube
Jasmeet Singh
Just another Entrepreneur at Lessons At Startup
Jasmeet has been a part of multiple Ventures. He earns his bread and butter by hanging onto his first venture, a Software Company located in India.

He is at present working on a new startup idea which like all startups will be "Disruptive" (at least he thinks so :) )

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