Being a recruiter for colleges up and down the country in the USA, I often get asked the question: "Do I really need a college degree to succeed in business and life?"
At first, I was taken aback by the question; My business depends on kids wanting to get an education, but how could I argue with the success of guys who didn't attend college, yet went onto become billionaires? Then I came across this very question on Quora. The answer from James Altucher, stuck with me: "Yes: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and blah blah blah didn’t go to college and are now billionaires.They are outliers. They are geniuses and would have succeeded no matter what."
This particular answer is the perfect response to kids who question whether they need an education or not. It is also worth noting that all three actually attended college, but decided to drop out, thus starting their individual journeys through the process of college. However, millennials tend to believe in creating start ups right out of high school, and whilst some will go on to become incredibly successful, they are part of a very small percentage. College is where you mould your ideas, you test your theories and you make your mistakes. The mistakes don't define you, they build you, they craft you, and they allow you to grow. It is in college where you find friends for life, and create relationships that last a lifetime. Memories emblazoned in your life, that will make you chuckle every time you reminisce about them. Games you scored the winning penalty, or made the perfect assist, or that game stopping tackle to lift the championship trophy, will dominate the discussion over a bottle of bud in the years to come.
The experience of college, and in particular studying for a degree and being an athlete simultaneously is as every bit as rewarding as it sounds. Getting your education paid for, due to an athletic scholarship, leaving yourself debt-free post-college, is something that is very underrated amongst this generation. Creating the next big start-up business whilst learning about life in college is just one avenue a bachelors degree can take you. The umpteen amount of connections you make, increasing your network is invaluable. From college alone, I now have friends, some of whom are now business associates, in South America, North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
I always tell all our players, get your education and if you want to try to play professionally post-college, great, we'll help you, but make sure you have the education to 'fall back on'. Injuries are just a by-product of the game, and nobody knows when they will occur. Players these days tend to think they are invincible. Look at Hull City's Ryan Mason as an example of freak injuries; He fractured his skull in an innocuous collision with Gary Cahill, flipping his world upside down. Whilst he is very fortunate to be not permanently injured, many are not so lucky. Having a bachelors degree, or taking the extra step and obtaining a masters degree from a college will be so beneficial out in the "real world".
My message to kids, go out there and get your experiences, enjoy life, educate yourselves and become the best version of yourself you can be. Be the hardest worker in the room, and make those million dollar ideas from your college dorm room.
I'll leave a little message from Steve Jobs to close...
In a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University Steve Jobs said, "If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts." - John Naughton (October 8, 2011). "Steve Jobs: Stanford commencement address, June 2005". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012.
Later this week we'll have an update from the first quarter of 2017, as things are happening all the time. Everything will be revealed later this week. Have a great week guys!