Bill Gates of Microsoft. Larry Ellison of Oracle. Michael Dell of Dell computers. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Ted Turner of CNN. Steve Jobs of Apple. Alan Gerry of Cablevision Industries, which became Time Warner Cable. These are all men that made it successfully without an advanced degree but they are also an exception to the norm.
These fellows aren’t just rich. They’re super-rich since their personal wealth runs in the billions of dollars. And these entrepreneurs also have one other thing in common: not one of them has a university degree. You may have heard some talk about this in the past. A lot of people have heard about these fellows because the media likes to feature them and talk about the fact that they didn’t finish college when they struck it rich.
All these billionaires seem to prove the popular belief that you don’t need a university degree to become a successful entrepreneur. Admittedly, if the question is whether a university degree is an absolute requirement for entrepreneurial success, then the answer is no. But if the question is whether a university degree can help, then the answer is an absolute yes and here’s why:
1. The chance of failure is quite high if you’re starting a business, so a university degree can help you become more employable if things don’t pan out. Being an entrepreneur is stressful enough without having a backup plan.
2. You need knowledge to operate a business, and getting a university degree will give you exactly that. It also helps if you get some sort of employment first in the industry you plan on joining, and obtaining that employment is much more likely with a diploma.
3. You usually need lenders and investors to start a business, and these people tend to be more impressed if you have a university degree. A degree implies that you have the necessary knowledge and determination to succeed.
4. A university is fertile ground for ideas and business connections. The people you meet may turn out to be future partners, employees, and clients.
If you insist on making college dropout billionaires as your inspiration, keep in mind the way in which they raise their kids. Do you really think that they make sure that their kids would never step into college? Even they insist on their children getting a college diploma! Adam Gerry, for example, went to Rollins College before going to Syracuse Law School, and his father is Alan Gerry—the man who sold his cable company to Time Warner for $2.6 billion back in 1996. Ted Turner’s son Robert graduated from The Citadel, a military school in South Carolina.
If successful college dropouts think that getting a university degree is worthwhile for their children, then you really need to consider getting one yourself before starting your own business. In the long run you may find that it is the best decision you could ever make!
Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to complete university in person, as there are numerous online options now available. Students can now earn a degree from a university on the other side of the country without ever having to visit the campus, which has made post-secondary education much more accessible than ever before. In addition, students can earn a degree in the evenings while working throughout the day, so there is no need to go into debt while pursuing higher education.
We have to wonder if these individuals would have forgone their university education had these online options been available at that time.
Deborah Jones is a freelance blogger and author. She loves learning, travelling and reviewing education websites.