I had just graduated from college ready to hit the road to success, with the zest and gust of a new born calf that had just discovered the presence of his legs. After all, I had been thoroughly baked (literally) by my lecturers in college. I had begun the frantic search for the ever so elusive job but after a couple of months, I began to quietly wonder whether I had wasted precious time in the name of getting college education. As if on cue, a friend gave me Robert Kiyosakis best-selling book – Rich Dad Poor Dad. It was a great read. But then Kiyosaki said something quite controversial at the very onset of the first chapter- "if you want to be rich, dont go to school"
If that was gospel truth, then I knew I was doomed… well, lets just call it the opposite of being rich. So I decided to investigate this theory to establish how scientific it was. Was there enough evidence to support it? Was there enough evidence to negate the alternative? Was it irrefutable or was it merely a generalization based on some rich American college dropouts?
I began by reading about the so called richest illiterate men. That is when I discovered something conspicuous in almost all their stories- they were actually not illiterate, they just dropped out of school at some stage in life. So whats the difference? Well, college education was what they needed to jumpstart their dreams. It was what they needed to spark that fire of imagination that gave birth to their entrepreneurial dreams.
Lets look at the top 3 examples:
#1. Steve Jobs
Yes, he dropped out of Reed College but if he had not studied there, he would never have learnt about serif and san serif typefaces, which in my humble opinion is what inspired him to come up with a company that based its designs on simplicity and usability. In his own words, Jobs said,
"Reed College, at that time, offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus, every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed…I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating."
#2. Bill Gates
He went to Harvard and dropped out after 3 years. However, Bill Gates says he didnt have to drop out of college to start Microsoft. Speaking at Harvard, he said the only reason he had to drop out to start his company was the time sensitive nature of the idea. Windows was an idea that was long overdue and waiting one more year to launch it would not have been a great idea. Bill Gates actually loathes being referred to as a college dropout as he says,
It is strange to call me a college dropout in all but the most literal sense. I went for three years and took enough courses to graduate.
#3. Mark Zuckerberg
If you are a movie lover, you probably have watched Social Network. The movie tries to recreate the story of the inception of Facebook at Harvard. In a nutshell, the idea was conceived at Harvard and the original idea was to build a social networking site for the Harvard community. Rumour has it that Zuckerberg had been hired by some of his seniors to develop the site and he thought of making his own site that was not limited to Harvard.
To put it simply, most of those college dropouts that became a great success in life would not have gotten where they are today if they had not gone through college. Post-secondary education has a way of opening up the young virgin mind like nothing else can. If you need to be a great success, then college education is a must have. And that is why I believe Robert Kiyosaki was wrong- Post secondary education changes your world view, broadens your scope and inspires you for success. Couple that with the skills you earn and you have the recipe for success! If you doubt me, ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Who are they? They are the co-founders of Google. Google was their PhD project at Stanford University. Needless to say, it turned out to be the biggest online business.
So, are you in college? Good. See you at the top!
Photo Credicts: Graduates