Nigerian students, do not drop out of school citing Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Bill and Mark did not drop out, they merely dropped in. In a way, they replaced mass-training professors at Harvard University with private Harvard-quality professors called venture capitalists (VCs). Magically, they have “special professors” who actually pay them! Which one is better: a Harvard professor that asks you to pay school fees or the VC that writes you $millions and still coaches you because he wants to ensure his $millions are safe?
In America, they have an institutionalized apprenticeship system. A small segment of that system is the Executive Coach. These are highly experienced and capable men and women who are paid to become like private professors and mentors to busy people.
When I became a TED Fellow, TED gave me a coach. The man spoke with me many times in a week and helped in shaping my ability to get things done. He kept me on track, challenging me to speak better, and pushing me to fix many issues he felt I needed to deal with in order to be a better person in my projects. He did not spare my presentation styles: he worked hard on many nexus of my skills. He might have been paid $250 – $300 per hour by the billionaire who funded it through TED for the Fellows.
It is not everything you read from American media that you should consume without thinking; if you attended the secondary schools Bill and Mark attended, you will not need a university in your life!
I am a TED Fellow, a World Economic Economic Young Global Leader, etc, the kind of immersive experiences in some ecosystems is a testament that using “dropout” does not do justice to what happens to these technical “dropouts”. In TED, I met a guy who did not finish secondary school but MIT admitted him. Yes, MIT admitted someone without a secondary school certificate!
In the first semester, he took a leave from school because some investors gave him $millions to commercialize something exciting. To get him up to speed, they surrounded him with experts and coaches. Simply, he was getting more than MIT professors even though he “dropped” out, and in the process they turned him into a paper millionaire! That is not the typical outcomes of dropouts.
Do not fall into the illusion: stay in school and work hard. Startups and opportunities to create new ones will always be here. The best businesses have not been started. You will have time to do just that, post-graduation. That university education is an internship for something big – make the best out of it.
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