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Today in my LinkedIn email updates, I got sent this lovely clickbaity article:

Illustration for article titled Hootsuite CEO: Drop out of college and grad school, youll be fine

It's a blog post by Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes. His actual title is much less clickbaity, and the post basically say that MBAs might not really be worth the investment. Okay, as someone who went to professional school, I would say that's an accurate statement. But in his recommendations, he focuses on the more direct benefits of a professional program, without really looking into why people have been driven to get more and more advanced degrees. I felt forced to go to grad school because my job prospects with a Bachelor's degree were remarkably low, never mind that I had 2 internships under my belt (one of which was international) and spoke 3 languages. Many of my cohort that graduated during the recession experienced this as well. But okay, he's a CEO, not an academic, so I guess his less nuanced view is expected.


The part that really struck a chord with me was right in the beginning and at the end (where he summarizes his reasoning and advice):

In my early 20s, I dropped out of college to start a pizza shop. It wasn't an easy decision at the time. The prospect of being a "college dropout" was scary. I quickly got used to hearing "You're making a mistake" from my friends and counselors at the time. But eventually, I followed my gut and left school.

Today, I'm the CEO of a company with 11 million users, including some of the biggest Fortune 100 companies. We count more than 700 employees in a half-dozen offices around the world. Each day I get to work with some of the most talented engineers, designers, and marketing minds in the tech world.

There is no transition between when he dropped out in 1997 and his hugely successful company over 10 years later. I'm sure that starting multiple companies required a lot of hard work, a well-tuned entrepreneurial instinct, and many sleepless nights. But this bit just makes it seem like it was a breeze. And later he adds:

But the new business landscape — thanks in part to the Internet and social media — grants innovative, entrepreneurial and ambitious people all sorts of new opportunities, without the degrees. It might be worth saving yourself two years — and a few hundred thousand dollars — and going after your dream now.

You'll be in good company, from first-year Harvard dropout Bill Gates to Richard Branson and the late Steve Jobs, who dropped out of Reed College after just six months because of the financial strain it was putting on his parents.


Yeah, just drop out of college and you'll be the next Bill Gates! Look, I'll be the first to admit that a college degree doesn't guarantee you any sort of career path anymore. But it is disingenuous to say that anyone who follows his path (or Bill Gates's or Steve Jobs's paths) can be that successful, or that dropping out of college is the one factor that led any of these examples to that success.

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