A handful of uber-successful individuals have helped establish a narrative that dropping out of college is the key to entrepreneurial success. However, for most aspiring entrepreneurs this could not be more wrong.
Entrepreneurship education is improving every year
Universities all across the nation have added entrepreneurship as a major or minor degree option, as well as hired experienced entrepreneurs as clinical professors to teach the craft. You can get a great head start on many of the learned skills and behaviors that others might have to learn through “failing forward.” Entrepreneurship education will put you a step ahead of others by helping you better understand the journey, and provide you with tangible experiences to learn by doing without many of the risks associated with starting your own business.
Aside from entrepreneurship-specific education, skills you build in STEM, Computer Science, or Humanitarian studies will have an invaluable impact on the way you think about solving problems. Entrepreneurship in and of itself is just the ability to solve a problem more effectively than what the market provides. The discipline you choose to study can provide an excellent foundation for discovering intriguing problems to solve.
A community of support
When you’re a student entrepreneur, everyone wants to see you succeed. Universities have many different student e-ship clubs, think tanks, startup competitions, mentorship programs, and startup accelerators. Ultimately, this large network of driven peers and resources who are interested in supporting one another in their startup endeavors will make sure you don’t feel alone in your pursuit.
Your network will grow exponentially
“It’s not about the grades you make, but about the hands you shake.” This age-old quote reigns too true in entrepreneurship. You have no idea where one connection can lead to – whether it’s a potential client, a valuable advisor, or even an interested investor down the road. College provides you with an invaluable platform to network with prestigious professionals. Whether it’s a professor, a friend, an alumni, or even someone you meet on a night out, the network effect is always more powerful than you’d imagine.
Heck, I randomly met one of my most valuable mentors who single-handedly changed the trajectory of my life at 2:00 in the morning during my freshman year at Benny’s Pizza (Thanks for offering to share some advice with a young, confused Baaqir, David).
A college degree shows commitment to potential clients and investors
While I’ll acknowledge that most skills can absolutely be learned on the Internet in today’s digital landscape, many of your potential clients, investors, mentors, or future partners see a lot of value in the work ethic and commitment it takes to graduate college. A college degree holds a lot of weight in outsiders’ perception and increases your validity as a skilled professional of your craft.
The rigor associated with a university education not only prepares you for the hardships of growing as an entrepreneur, but also shows the world that you have the ability to overcome challenging obstacles, be resilient through failure, and take steps to accomplish goals you set out for yourself.
It can be a complex decision when deciding whether to continue your education or drop out of school relative to your entrepreneurial pursuit. Be sure to do your research on what a university experience can provide you relative to your goals. It could impact you in magnitudes you wouldn’t even be able to imagine.
It sure did for me.