Investing in your education

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It is generally accepted that education is an investment in human capital. Statistics also show that there is a high correlation between education level and average earnings. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a commercial on television or the radio proclaiming that a college degree is needed in order to make a decent amount of money and have a successful career. I tend to agree, for the most part. After all, I’m in an MBA program right now in an accredited institution.

When it comes to a professional career, an education is indeed necessary. Would you trust a scientist, engineer, or medical doctor on their recommendations and diagnoses if they did not have a formal education from a reputable university? My guess would be no. I would probably get a second opinion myself.

Education Pays...

That said, what about the value of an education when it comes to entrepreneurship or investing? The only real answer I can give you is: it depends. I know it sounds like a cop-out answer, but it really does depend on the individual.

I spoke with Reno entrepreneur Chris Howard of NorthStar Investors Inc., and I think he put it best, and I am paraphrasing, that there are some people that have been successful in business without a degree, and there have been some that could have benefitted from information learned from a formal education.

So what am I trying to say here? When it comes to entrepreneurship and investing, a formal education is not the end all solution. It certainly helps, but is not as necessary as others will lead you to believe. This is especially true if you own your own business or independently fund your own investments. In those situations you only have yourself to answer to. Many of the important business and investing concepts can also be learned on your own and through experience.

I know, I have to disclose that I am getting a formal education with my MBA, and the reason I am doing it is because my background is in software. I never had any real extensive experience in business. I wanted to have the exposure to business concepts that were very foreign to me. Looking back, I can easily say that what I learned most from were not from fancy theories or formulas. I learned most from the stories and experiences shared by guest speakers and instructors that had real-world experience. That material simply cannot be taught from a book.

If I could go back in time would I still get my MBA? Yes, I would. There is still value in it. It is just not as necessary as everyone says it is.

If you don’t have a formal education you can still be successful in entrepreneurship or investing. You just have to put a little more effort and work a little bit harder than others, but success is still very attainable. Remember, many of the factors for success simply cannot be taught.

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