School is not for everyone, and some of the most successful people left school without getting a degree. Some didn’t even make it to upper level-classes. Their ranks include such magnates as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Others made it through to a bachelor’s degree, but it wasn’t necessarily pretty – Mark Cuban and Chris Burch fall more in that category.
Need for More Experiential Learning
Many believe that part of the problem is these high achievers are always looking for the application of principles rather than the simple academic understanding of them. Chris Burch paid his way through college with odd jobs before ultimately beginning his own fashion business and selling it less than 15 years later when it was valued at $60 million. Mark Cuban started selling sets of garbage bags when he was just 12 years old to save for a pair of shoes he wanted. He worked his way through his education and later educated himself while working. But though he’s smart and talented, school is a different way of doing things.
Of course, Richard Branson’s story is a rare but wonderful journey. Branson left school at the age of 16 with problems from dyslexia making school difficult. It wasn’t that his family didn’t have smart and talented people, his mother was a ballet dancer, his father a barrister, and his grandfather a high court judge in England. But as many with dyslexia have before him, he overcame the problem to create a great future for himself. Branson’s imagination roamed free when the letters and numbers didn’t always make sense.
One Area of Specialization
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both left college before graduating and their stories are so iconic they don’t need to be told. They were driven in one direction instead of following the broader requirements of a full education. It isn’t that these guys haven’t shown over the years they could excel at many things, but in their youth they were driven (as was Mark Cuban), to create something the world had not seen before in the computer field.
Since their early years, all of these entrepreneurs have shown their diversity and imagination in a variety of pursuits. As they’ve succeeded, they’ve also given much of their substantial fortunes back to organizations doing good works or helping others in their own areas of specialization.
School may not have come easy to them, but life didn’t hold back on the opportunities as they fought their way over various hurdles to build their empires. Some kept to certain areas and others, like Chris Burch have invested their time, talent, and resources in a wide array of industries, choosing to invest in people they find compelling rather than a business concept.