Is There Any Right Education to be a Successful Startup Founder?

When talking about education, what pops-up in your mind? Education in formal institution such as school or university courses, or other kind of informal education such as learning from someone else’s experience? Or possibly both?

Whichever your answer is, all of them are right. Education is not merely a practice of writing, reading, and counting in a classroom setting such as when you go to school. It goes beyond that, as education also covers every aspects and experience of individual’s life. According to Britannica, education concerns with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments as opposed to various non-formal and informal means of socialisation. It is something that is needed for individuals in order to survive in our social life.

See also: Why Only the “Chosen” People Can be Entrepreneur?

However, what does it take to be a startup founder? Do you need higher education, or experience alone is enough to bring success?

According to an article from Think Progress, there are only 46 percent college student actually finishing their degrees in the United States, while Japan led the list with 89 percent college dropouts. Other countries such as Slovakia and Poland are also listed as country with the highest dropouts with more than half of its citizens did not finish their university degree.

In an open discussion forum in Quora, many agree that formal education will not necessarily determine someone’s success. Bill Gates, for example, entered Harvard University only to dropout two years later in order to create Microsoft. And now, many called him as Harvard’s most successful dropouts. From him, we can learn that sometimes, being entrepreneur or startup founder does not need to have college degree or higher degree. Not convinced yet? Let’s take a look of these successful founders:

Evan Williams, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, attended university of Nebraska for a year and a half before leaving school to pursue a freelance career. He did work for Hewlett-Packard before he and his partner launched blogging platform Blogger which was then acquired by Google. Then, he built podcast company and hired Biz Stone and Jack Dorsey. Later, these four men who did not hold college degree founded micro-blogging platform Twitter in 2006.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, never attend college. He was also a high school dropout. When he was 19 years old, Sir Richard started a mail-order record shop named Virgin. After succeeding, Sir Richard launched recording studio, Virgin records. Today, Virgin Group has more than 200 companies in 30 countries.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, was a drop out student. He quitted his sophomore year in order to build Dell Computers. In 1992, Dell was named the younger CEO on Fortune 500 list of the top corporations. Today, Dell Computers is one of world’s largest PC makers.

Then, coming back the question, “Is there any right education for being a successful startup founder?”

To help with the answer, you can consider that college education is not always a necessary to-do list. The most important part of success is by learning from your own or someone’s else experience. Experiencing all hurdle is part of successful career. While formal education can provide resources and professional coaches, you can never have enough knowledge until you experience it yourself.  

To be a successful business owner, you need to get Educated. And that’s totally different. You need to get educated about money. You need to get educated about human psychology. And you need to learn about marketing. They do not teach that in Business School. My opinion.” – Alex Draghicescu, founder of

Read also: Is It Difficult to be On Top? 17 Inspirational Startup Quotes to Refuel Your Energy