(WARNING: The following should be a no-brainer, but sometimes isn’t. I am a student, not a teacher, but anecdotal stupidity from others imminent.)
When did the world change? As a small lass, I used to be unable to escape messages pleading with me to stay in school, but it seems like the second I decided to become an entrepreneur over a decade later, or even have an entrepreneurial mind, a host of people descended on me telling me to leave school and start straight away.
Just recently at an entrepreneur summit, I met an award-winning entrepreneur catalyst. She’s awesome, and something of what I want to be as someone who empowers other entrepreneurs. Interestingly enough, this woman holds a doctoral degree, and said that I should leave school to pursue my entrepreneurial desires. She even told me to not even think about graduate school.
Fortunately for my future I am deciding to ignore this nugget of knowledge. Here are a few reasons why entrepreneurs should stay in school, especially me:
- You have no idea what you are doing. This is not to say that you will magically find out in four years, or even that school will be what teaches you what to know, but in my albeit-limited experience a college campus is one of the safest atmospheres in which to try new ideas. Which brings me to my next point:
- Collegiate atmospheres are perfect for entrepreneurs. Sans the often-unproductive classroom, think about it: 1) you have all the human capital you need (students who need jobs and experience, professors who have likely been-there-done-that), 2) you have a captive audience in the campus for a potential market, and 3) you have the perfect opportunity to start a brand loyalty in your customers in the tender college years. Why should I leave, again?
- Who is going to buy into a college drop-out? Unless you are a psycho-crazy-good tech entrepreneur, you probably do not have the credentials to land a serious investor. Entrepreneurship is either about track record, or potential ability. What message do you send venture capitalists when you decided to skip the classes that were supposed to teach you accounting, marketing, economics, and more? “I’m passionate” at absolute best and “I’m impatient,” or “I think I’m too cool for school” at worst. If VC’s truly invest in the entrepreneur rather than the product, make yourself invest-able! Especially for me this applies—I want to become a consultant for other entreps one day. I obviously need a track record of knowledge to make the assumption that anyone should listen to me—duh!
- What’s the rush? I get it, school is often boring and you feel like there are a thousand things you could be doing rather than listen to your economics professor ramble for the bazillionth time about supply and demand (if you were lucky enough to get one that actually talked about economics rather than, like, his grandmother’s medication…never again). Stick it out though. As the youngest of three who spent most of her childhood hell-bent on speeding through her childhood, I can say it won’t go by any quicker if you stare at a clock, so enjoy it. Many people tell me and I am starting to believe them when they say that we never get this time back.
So as one of my first consultative pieces of advice (free of charge for my lovely readers), I’ll say what is the rush? Stay in school; it’s what we’ve heard the first eighteen years of our lives and it still holds true in college. I won’t touch graduate school for now.
Food for thought.
- Kevin Colleran: High Schools and Colleges Should Include Entrepreneur Education (blogs.wsj.com)
- The Seven Habits Of Incredibly Successful Entrepreneurs (ibaventures.wordpress.com)
- 7 Tips College Students Need to Make a Promising Business Plan (money.usnews.com)
- Schools Should Invest in Student Entrepreneurs (thepppeconomy.com)