Dropping Out

by Krishna on January 12, 2007

How many years should one stay in college?

Should one try to acquire more knowledge before entering the job market or jump in to gain work experience?

There are several examples of entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison who have made successful careers by directly going into business instead of completing school. But I also suppose there are an equal number of people who may not have been so successful. Innate talents, existing social connections and pure luck can help people succeed even if they have no formal training.

One of the problems that I see with not having a formal education is the number of missed opportunities when one is doing business. Most of the time, the entrepreneur uses his or her own past experience, conditioning or plain instincts to handle complex business issues from marketing to human resources to financial matters. Quite often, many business people make mistakes because they don’t know any better. Huge sums can be lost while they learn from experience.

Such mistakes could be avoided altogether with a proper grounding in business fundamentals. That is not to say that someone should not break rules and stifle innovation. But quite often, the business person does not even know the rules or why he or she is breaking them. Many employees may also get frustrated working under such a leader or manager and leave — again a loss of opportunity.

There are situations where a person has to drop out because of economic constraints or family demands. In those cases, the person becomes really busy in their line of work and never gets back to completing their studies. This is a pity, because there are so many different options like online and part-time courses. Even at a less-than-stellar college, people can learn a lot if they really come for self-improvement.

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