True Education Requires No Degree

I recently read The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won't Learn in College About How to Be Successful by Michael Ellsberg, which we discussed at my book club.

Michael's premise, as his title suggests, is that a traditional education will not teach you anything useful and will not help you succeed. He brings examples of many millionaires who did not get a college degree (or for those who did, that did not go on for an advanced degree). He also lists the practical skills that he believes are necessary for success, which include sales and marketing.

As he explains, most people believe that it's enough to be good at their craft and if you go for an advanced degree/more schooling, you'll be even better at your craft and on your way to success. What they do not realize, nor are taught, is that everyone needs to know how to sell and market their business/skills/themselves to get anywhere. 

Although I personally have both a Bachelor's and a Master's, I have to agree with most of what Michael says. I have learned a lot more practical skills from on the job trial and error, experience, and observation, coupled with all my business book reading, than I did in my formal education. I'm not saying they were useless, but with the exception of a handful of classes, they were all too theoretical and not at all practical.

I've actually wondered whether I would have been at a different (a.k.a. more advanced and better) place in my career had I gone for an MBA instead of an MS in Publishing. I even applied for an online EMBA program recently and then deferred it. Although it's relatively cheap compared to most MBA programs, and is all online, it's still time and money. Everything has that opportunity cost and I'm not sure the ROI is there. 

For those of you with advanced degrees, do you think it's worth it? If you had the opportunity to do it over, would you?


Karina is VP of Operations and HR at 24/7 Teach.

A version of this was originally posted on Business Common Sense blog.

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