For Entrepreneurs, It's Best to Stay in School

By Chris Hassan
Posted December 10, 2012 12:00 PM

Entrepreneurs should not skip college.
Entrepreneurs should not skip college.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the late co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, are all entrepreneurs who never completed college, but still managed to become household names and billionaires. As a result, students who idolize these visionaries may not feel they need a bachelor's or master's degree so long as they have the next big idea. However, saying no to college and braving the often harsh realities of the business sector may not always work out in entrepreneurs' favor.

Bloomberg Businessweek recently highlighted the sizable evidence that exists in favor of entrepreneurs receiving a college degree. For example, a 2008 report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation revealed that degree holders - particularly those who attended Ivy League schools - who went on to form tech startups had twice the average revenues and number of employees as fellow entrepreneurs who did not go to college. Overall, businesses started by high school graduates tended to "significantly underperform all others," the report states.

Additional studies have shown that individuals who have completed higher levels of education tend to have access to more external capital, see better business sales and have lower failure rates for their ventures.

Entrepreneur made a point that those who want to follow in the footsteps of Gates, Zuckerberg and Jobs may want to keep in mind before they say no to college: News stories about mega-successful college dropouts are so popular because they are "one in a million."

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