Should You Give Up Education for Business?

 

My issue is something completely different. Because I’m not interested in, if I can give up, and attitudes don’t care where I shape them. And I’ve seen people who give up their academics because there was a business they can jump into. I’m very happy. I’m very happy that as a country, we are going through a period when at 18 and 19 and 20 and 21 and 22, all of you are talking about being an entrepreneur.

It’s a fabulous period that we are going through. The challenge here is that business also is not going to be all the time interesting, sometimes it is boring. Every day you have to call and follow up for payment and they will not pick up the phone. It is boring. You will recruit ten people and six will resign and go, again you’ll have to sit and conduct interviews, and sometimes conducting interviews can be the most boring… initially it is a very ego fulfilling thing. I am conducting interview. But once you conduct few interviews, there’s nothing more boring than that.

Because I remember asking somebody who had passed his CA inter, and I asked this question, “What is the difference between a cheque and a draft? And without batting an eyelid, he said, “Cheque is green in colour, draft is pink in colour.” Okay. Even if he had told, “I don’t know the answer.” I would have selected him. But this was… And you get such people who come for an interview and in fact, entire day when you conduct interviews, by the end of the day you become as bad as the worst person you’ve met in the day. You feel so tired when you go back, it’s boring.

You’ll have to negotiate every day. Doesn’t matter what your price is, the market’s first thing to tell you is going to be that, “Don’t you think you are very expensive.” First thing. Whatever price you quote. Even if you tell them I’ll give it free, they’ll say, “Is it not very costly? Can you give us some money to do it?” Okay. And you’ve to again and again negotiate, and these are all things you’ve to do on a daily basis.

My point is because it’s boring if I will start giving up, I think you’ll start giving up on relationships. You’ll start giving up on businesses. You’ll start giving up on a lot of things later in life, and sometimes the question is not whether it’s boring or not. The question you have to ask yourself is, is it right or not? B.com may not be a great education for you, but one day, and look around and you’ll find everywhere, people have scaled their business from zero to ten crores, zero to twenty crores, and they don’t know how to take it from here to the next level.

One day you would want to go and be part of owners MBA in Harvard, and that time, if you have been a twelfth standard drop out, you will not be able to go there. You will not be able to network with those people. Tomorrow, you would want to be part of a YPO association and mingle with the other entrepreneurs and find out how did they build thousand crore companies, how did they bring two thousand companies to get their ideas, and you will not know how to interact with all of them.

So rather than seeing going to the college for academics, use going to the college to develop leadership skills, take some responsibility, take a project. In fact, learn at that age itself, can you lead your fellow classmates? Take leadership roles and see what all you can do. In an Indian education system, the demand on your time is only five to six hours in a day, five days a week, and just two days before the exam you have to study, and you will pass. It’s not asking for too much. You can still explore your business possibilities.

So somewhere, don’t look at these three years as a temporary transition, I know it is hopeless, but beyond these three years, tomorrow you’ll have to go and do some entrepreneurial MBA somewhere else. Purely out of experience, you cannot get this. You need education. So, see this as an uncomfortable transition, but pursue beyond that and you’ll be very glad. I really believe the difference between a lot of people who started business in Kasi Chetty Street, Govindappa Street, Mint Street and all these people, for all the business acumen they have and they have not become world class brands, which they should have become, and the dividing line is missing education. If only they had educated themselves, they would have been in a different level altogether. I think education makes an enormous amount of difference.

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