The Startup World: Experience vs. Education

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Is a college degree going to have a more powerful impact on your career than having years of experience on the background, when working in a startup?

Some say that you can spot an entrepreneur from a distance, regardless of their stage in life. They are those who defy the rules, always come with smart ideas or solutions and are quick when it comes to solving an issue. They are the rebels, the nonconformists of this world. At least, that is how things appear to be in most famous cases of entrepreneurship.

If you look at great names such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell or Bill Gates, you will recognize a pattern at one point in their lives: they all dropped out of college to find their own businesses and they all agree that this was one of the best decisions they made.

With such loud voices stating that education is no longer a necessary asset in life, no wonder that more and more youngsters start doubting its importance and decide to take the road of entrepreneurship. Some seem to be doing a nice job, but others not so much. It is cool to drop out of college and take the adventure of a lifetime, but is college really that bad and useless for a young aspiring entrepreneur?

A Reality Check

Sometimes people need this. A reality check. Here is the cold and unpleasant truth of these days: without a college degree, your chances of landing a well-paid job are getting smaller and smaller. On the other hand, going to a college will leave you with a serious debt and a high rate of unemployment, as well.

Of course, many entrepreneurs have succeeded in the startups they run without finishing their studies, but apart from the determination, passion and a spectacular business idea, they were also in the right place, at the right time.
Many studies have been ran on this matter. Even more statistics and numbers have been published over the last years, but the most recent ones state that people with a bachelor degree tend to earn a 60% higher income than those without a college degree.

Now, these are all just numbers. Sometimes they speak the truth, other times they do not. What all these studies seem to leave out is the debts fresh graduates are dealing with after finishing their studies.

So, what is the best choice for someone who has just finished high school, after all? Should they go, chase their dream and risk it all, or go to college and end up with a huge debt?

Off To College?

Having a college degree will not ensure success, whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur. I have said it before and I will say it again: being determined and putting passion into what you are doing is what will get you straight to the top. Still, what could you gain from a college experience?

Valuable relationships

Having a college experience, on the other hand, it can be useful if you are planning to open your own business afterwards. Probably the most obvious reason that is staying behind this statement is networking.

As a student, you make connections. There will be someone new for you to meet at every corner. Maybe this is how you could stumble upon a future business partnership. You will make friends, who will later become your clients or who will help you out in your entrepreneurial dream. Either way, these are some very valuable connections, so make the most of them!

Valuable skills

Going to college will shape up skills most people are not even thinking about. It’s not about just completing a marketing course that will teach you how to apply a certain marketing strategy. It’s about all the tasks you receive. You are meeting deadlines; you have the perseverance to finish what you are starting and you are able to maintain the balance between your personal life and your academic one. All these things weigh heavy in the eyes of an investor, for instance. But what’s more important is that they help a lot in your development as an entrepreneur.

Getting a relevant education

The courses you are taking in college will provide the basics for your entrepreneurial life. We’re talking about basic negotiation or sales skills. You might even have some projects that will help you open a small business. Many of today’s entrepreneurs have started from that point and now they have become heavy names in various industries.

Gaining more credibility

This is just a possibility and it cannot be applied all the time. However, if you study a business related field and decide to become an entrepreneur, all the bankers and investors you will come in contact with, will give you more credibility, since you know the industry.

The question of whether you should go to a college or run a potentially successful business during those 4 years is still on. At the end of the day, it’s simply a matter of expectations and abilities. All the colleges in the world put together are unable to help you, if you lack passion and determination in what you are doing.

Some entrepreneurs managed to be successful in their business at an early age. You could be one of them, just as you could also need more time to prepare yourself for entering the business world. It’s a personal choice whether you decide to go to college and gain more knowledge and contacts or open your own startup right away. Whatever you decide, follow your instinct. It always leads you to the right path!



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