Should Entrepreneurs Say 'No Thanks' to College and Jump Head First into the Business World?

By Jamie Epstein May 03, 2012

It’s an age old question: Is college truly worth the debt most of us will be in until we reach our mid- 40s? That is something you will have to answer yourself, but one thing that is for sure: A whole lot of us are still getting our educations, and entering the good old world of student loans.

Currently these promises back an array of lenders and have touched over a trillion dollars, overtaking credit card debt. Bill Maher, a favorite celebrity of mine, recently said on his show that this debt is similar to paying a mortgage, except you don’t own anything other than a framed certificate.

At Startup 2012, an event I was lucky enough to attend today in the Big Apple, this was a topic of discussion on everyone’s mind that was present at the session entitled, “Is Peter Thiel Right that Entrepreneurs Should Skip College and Just Go to Start Companies?”

Shaila Ittycheria, cofounder of E[nstitute} doesn’t believe there a need for a degree anymore. In fact, she even went as far as to say she wishes she hadn’t gone on to receive her masters of business degree. Promoting a new kind of learning environment that takes 15 young adults and transitions them into apprentices who shadow entrepreneurs, Ittycheria believes that up to 46 percent of college graduates show zero development skills after completing their degree and that the money spent on institutes of higher learning are simply “not proving themselves,” she stated.

“Lots of people want to hire college grads, but that is costly investment. Maybe they were marketing majors, but everything they have learned is in books. I think we need to take a stab and try to change the way education is defined.”

Speaking in favor of the invaluable information you learn in college, David Rose, managing partner for Rose Tech Ventures argued that he himself refuses to invest in dropouts for six key reasons, with three being internal and four being external.

First, what you learn in school is important he stressed, including basic skills like writing and reading which are virtually impossible to teach yourself. Second, lessons taught during college prompt these young adults to think outside the box. And third, let’s face it, a degree is a required step for other things other than a great job.

The three external factors consist of: If you don’t understand what education can do for you this could be because you have a judgment problem, if you commit to college and drop out then you can’t defer gratification and someone that can’t commit to finishing their schooling could be a problem in the future. And, lastly, people all your life tell you how vital it is to go to college and if you don’t, then you aren’t a good listener.

Personally, I’m glad I went to college… that is until the first of every month.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

TechZone360 Web Editor

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