Is a university education necessary to be successful?

  • Mark Zuckerberg didn’t graduate university: he founded Facebook and is worth $67 billion.

  • Bill Gates didn’t graduate university: he founded Microsoft and is worth $105 billion.

  • Steve Jobs didn’t graduate university: he founded Apple and was worth $10.2 billion.

  • Larry Ellison didn’t graduate university: he founded Oracle and is worth $67.2 billion.

  • Jan Koum didn’t graduate university: he founded WhatsApp and sold it for $19 billion.

  • Travis Kalanick didn’t graduate university: he founded Uber and is worth $3.4 billion.

These are common examples given when people say that you don’t need to go to college to be successful.

Those people who say that are either completely ignorant of the facts or blatantly lying to you, and here’s why.

Reason #1

EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the list above was ACCEPTED into a top university, started their business WHILE ENROLLED at that university, and used the CONNECTIONS MADE BECAUSE of that university to build their business into a success.

  • Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg spent 2 years at Harvard

  • Larry Ellison spent 2 years at University of Illinois

  • Jan Koum spent 3 years at University of San Jose

  • Travis Kalanick spent 3 years at UCLA

So by all means: if you get accepted in a top-tier university, and halfway through your education you are able to build a business that’s clearly so successful that it requires your full attention and is worth the risk of not graduating, you can certainly put your education on hold and give it a try.

After all, if you do fail, you can always go back and continue your education (since you were already accepted).

In addition, the biggest asset you have as an entrepreneur is the network of relationships you develop while at university:

  • you get to meet students from different backgrounds, many of which will end up in senior positions in companies you’ll be doing business with all over the world

  • you get to meet professors who can give you advice and access to data, research, equipment

  • you get to meet industry CEOs and highly successful people who visit your university and give lectures

Reason #2

It’s simple math:

The list of successful people who have dropped out of university is TINY compared to those who have dropped out and FAILED. Thousands of people drop out of uni, the list of those who go on to become successful is a fraction of them.

The list you see above is the EXCEPTION, NOT the RULE.

These people represent (and I’m guessing) at best 5% of people who drop out.

This means that if you drop out of uni, your chance of success is around 5%.

Do you think by staying and graduating your chance of success will be lower or higher?

Ponder that for a minute…

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