The discussion of what formal education is worth comes up often in my entrepreneur academy and even after people read my best-selling book Third Circle Theory. The debate often has support from both sides and is no different than the formal versus self-education debates that have bombarded social media as memes, articles, and status updates. Even funnier is the fact that my very own Lamborghini’s license plate says “NO DGREE,” and while people will say I didn’t know how to spell, I will argue that the DMV said all other versions were taken. You may think, based on my license plate and the fact that I reached a much higher level of success than the average business owner, that I would be completely against school or higher education; but you couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to stay on point, let’s focus this conversation on the idea of higher education such as a master’s degree or going to graduate school instead of just formal education.
Education as a whole is important and is the key to financial success in life, but the argument we need to be discussing isn’t whether or not a higher level of education is worthwhile or not; but whether education without purpose holds any weight in the world of success.
The problem with a higher level or even a normal level of formal education isn’t if the information is good or not, rather if it is relevant to the person’s long-term goals. Many people come to me often asking if they should go back to school, and I ask why they think going back to school will help them get closer to their goals. Their answers often have nothing to with their goals other than the belief that having a master’s degree will earn them a higher salary. But will that be the case of the next employer or the business you will be building on your own later?
Is a Master’s Degree Really Necessary In Order to Succeed In Life?
The short answer is NO, as there are many people who have succeeded not only without master’s degrees, but also without even having completed high school. Therefore, obtaining a master’s degree is not necessary to become successful, but that doesn’t mean the degree is useless. It is only useful if there is a need for the degree where you are employed.
The information learned from an MBA program or Master’s Program could be found online completely free, so the education value of going to school to learn business is obsolete in many ways. Yet certain jobs still require it as a means of advancement within the company. This need may or may not be an absolute necessity based on where you work, but it is still for a few companies that insist on this higher level of education. While science degrees may be required since you cannot become a practicing doctor without one, or an engineer who builds some of today’s best bridges without having one; the reality is that times have changed so much that there are only two main reasons why not having a master’s degree can prevent you from being successful. The reasons are if your job requires you to have one, or the law requires it in order to practice in your profession.
There is no information that cannot be found on the web these days, and even if it’s not free, it will still be much cheaper than taking an entire two-year curriculum at an average ranked university. The concept is to allow your mind to understand that its limitation is never based or built off of a simple piece of paper, even when it seems like it is the only way forward.
I will leave you with an actionable example about the power of creativity when it comes to success. Let’s say you want to become a doctor and are required to have a master’s degree before you can get into medical school. The entire path from the day you start college to when you graduate medical school is 12 years. Most people might think that without the education, they can never be in that field. They are wrong. You can be in an entirely different field, make enough money, buy a piece of commercial real estate, and setup a lab and six offices for doctors. Now you are the manager and owner of a medical facility making money from six doctors and all the work they do, yet you haven’t spent a single day as a doctor or in school studying medicine.
There is never one path to greatness, but only one path to discovery. How you use the information you find will determine how far you get.
Read More: A Millennials Guide to Grad School.