The 5 Things in Business that College Can’t Teach : Under30CEO The 5 Things in Business that College Can’t Teach : Under30CEO
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The 5 Things in Business that College Can’t Teach

| October 14, 2011 | 8 Comments

business lessonsHaving a college education does not guarantee business success!

“What?  You’re saying that I just wasted four years of my life? Possibly more? “

No, the time in college is not a waste.  After all, there are many aspects of earning a degree in a business administration program that are necessary for success.

For example:

  • Time Management
  • The networking that college provides
  • Self-Responsibility
  • Connecting with people of different backgrounds
  • Presentation Skills
  • Organization

Notice I didn’t mention anything about actual business information?  That is because memorizing all the business terms is useless information.  That’s what Google does!

Here are The 5 Things in Business that College Can’t Teach:

  1. The ability to adjust.

If you can’t adjust the original plans, you won’t succeed!  Things will go wrong in the start-up process.  There could be trouble with suppliers, coworkers, or developers.  Maybe the whole company itself will need adjusted.  There is one thing that life as an entrepreneur can guarantee: there is something new every day.  Unless an adjustment is made to help the business, nothing will get done.

  1. The ability to persevere.

As I mentioned above, things will go wrong.  The successful entrepreneur has the ability to persevere through the “valleys”.  Did you expect running your own business to be easy?  Did you expect for everyone to believe in your company?  Did you expect for every decision to be right?  You shouldn’t.  That is why it is important to learn from the mistakes and move on!  Don’t ever give up! There is no use in hoping for great opportunities to happen.  Make them happen.

  1. The ability to have “blinders”.

As an entrepreneur, you live life in a small percentage.  Most people are not entrepreneurs.  This means that many will not approve of the “risk” you’re taking.  They will not think the way that entrepreneurs do.  “Why would you work so hard for no guarantee?” “You’re not smart enough to build a company.” Ignore them!  There will be a bunch of million dollar companies built in the next 5 years.  You might as well own one of them! Erase all the negativity out of your life.  Find friends that support your dreams.

  1. The desire to keep learning.

Learning did not stop after graduation.  To become successful, it takes much more.  In many ways, the learning just started!  There should be a scheduled part of the day that is focused on getting better.  Not only improving your business, but yourself.  What is the easiest way to do this?  Find mentors from different industries.  As I mentioned earlier, they all don’t need to have a great education.  Find someone who is successful in business.  Have you ever met someone who’s had 5 different businesses that have all been successful? They seem to make everything work?  That is the person that you need to find!  They know what it takes become successful.

Go online and find the most popular books about business success.  Instead of picking up a book that explains our economy, pick up a book written by a successful entrepreneur.   Here are a few that I’ve read and would suggest:

You Call the Shots by Cameron Johnson

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump

  1. The ability to stay hungry.

What if the product sells out in one week?  Just going to relax and celebrate?  No, push to sell more in week two!  As entrepreneur, it is necessary to stay hungry and motivated.  There is always competition.  If no competition exists right now, it is coming!

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are a great example of staying “hungry”.  Even though his company’s traffic and net worth are astronomical, Zuckerberg is always trying to improve Facebook.

The business world can be brutal at times.  Why? Because money and reputations are on the line!  Unless there is the determination to continually get better, the success won’t last.  Don’t get too satisfied!


There are definitely benefits of having a business degree.  Although, as mentioned above, there are abilities and qualities that college can’t teach.  Thankfully, there are resources out there that will help you apply these qualities in business and life.  There is a lot of truth to be said about “Ideas don’t make a great business; great people do!”

Michael Fear is the Founder and CEO of Get Better Today &  Join @GetBetterTday and #TeamGetBetterToday by becoming part of a lifestyle that is far greater than “just” a company! 

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Category: Startup Advice

  • Frank Crystal

    At least in the  “Internet entrepreneurial world”, the degree it’s just a time/money expensive piece of paper.

    If you know how to do the job and/or have studied as “self-taught” with programming books, there are no limits.

  • Wilderness49

    Very motivating, especially in these hard economic times.

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  • LindaInPhoenix

    I would argue that colleges *can* teach all of these skills by providing an environment in which students are encouraged to try new ideas and fail at them, by providing experiential learning opportunities where students learn the value of ongoing learning, by providing mentorship and coaching that encourages students to persevere.  See  for an example.

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  • Aaron Wright

    I absolutely agree with you on this point. Personally, I love programming as a hobby. But it also makes good business sense to learn programming if you want to get into the tech field. I built my own site from the ground up, one line of code at at time, all by myself. It took much longer than paying someone to do it, but now I know the code inside out and upside down. I understand every line of code and how it works, giving me the power to make rapid changes as the need arises. And in the future, when I do have the funding to hire programmers, my knowledge of programming will at least allow me to understand what big ideas are possible, even if I personally don’t know how to do it. Lastly, building the site would have been the largest startup cost. By doing it myself, I got the site off the ground for hardly any cost at all. It’s still in the testing phase, but it works, and I’m proud of what I have built.