What do Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook guru) and Bill Gates, Jr. (Microsoft founder) have in common besides making billions? They both were Harvard drop-outs. That has gotten more than a few entrepreneurial-types (still in college) thinking. While some claim that entrepreneurs donâ€™t need college, more sage advice comes from Vivek Wadhwa in an essay in TechCrunch.com.
The fact is, most college students with technical skills and an entrepreneurial spirit are not Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And most start-up companies fail. Those are the hard facts. The larger truth is â€œTo build a business, you need to understand subjects like finance, marketing, intellectual property and corporate law. Until you have been in the business world for a while, you donâ€™t know how to negotiate contracts, deal with people, manage and nurture employees, and sell to companies.â€
Another reality is those who drop out of college often donâ€™t have the resources to drop back in when their start-up dream doesnâ€™t succeed, so they end up looking for other jobs. Guess what? Those Microsofts, Apples, and Facebooks are very particular in their hiring practices, and they want people with impressive degrees. So do a lot of other businesses, technology or otherwise.
Even joining a start-up once students have a degree will be a learning experience, except it wonâ€™t cost degreed workers a dime to learn the lessons of failure, which they are likely to witness as employees of the company, given start-up failure rates. They can then apply those lessons to their own businesses further down the line when they have the time and experience to take on the challenge of building a business.
One further bit of news: â€œThere is a huge difference in the size and revenue of companies founded by people with college degrees. But there is only a small difference between those with ivy-league degrees and the average (which includes all startups).â€ So no matter where students gain their knowledge, they are at a distinct advantage by finishing school even when they have a great idea for a new business.