Quora Question: “What role do universities play in making people successful?”

Very little and a lot

I know so many people who have succeeded without a university degree. My current non-degree holding business partner has made more money and had more success than me in the past ten years and I have two university degrees!

I have a Batchelor of Commerce as well as a Post Graduate from a Business School. As a wannabe entrepreneur, I spent five years wanting to quit university in order to run my own business. I hated almost every day of my tertiary education.

Unless you’re a Doctor, Lawyer or Accountant you’ll learn very little about the real world in University. You’ll be learning from a textbook and through a professor who possibly hasn’t experienced the corporate life in many years. You’re also tested in a highly academic way. For example in an undergraduate you are required not to have your own opinions and all the essays you do has to be based on previous research. Only be the time you get to doctorate level do you have the opportunity to produce new information. In my mind that’s ridiculous and elitist.

The same can be said for my Business School experience: we did so many different courses that the depth of knowledge was as shallow as a puddle. We didn’t learn anything substantial, rather focussing on a lot of different topics.

The million dollar question (which is close to the cost for University/College in the US) is “whether one should go to University to become successful?”

My answer is simple: Don’t go for the knowledge. You will use very little of the information you use and you can probably find a course on sites such as Udemy for the useful skills like reading financial statements.

The real benefit of a tertiary education is that it’s really hard. You’re going to be doing work that is often boring and overwhelming, similar to the tough days of entrepreneurship and chasing success. University teaches you to soldier on regardless of how challenging something is. It teaches you to work harder than you ever have before and it will make you more capable and therefore able to attract success into your life.

(Originally posted here)

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