Who needs a uni degree? Not these entrepreneurs

A university degree is not particularly useful for entrepreneurs, according to survey results published today by The Entourage.

The Entourage bills itself as Australia’s largest community of entrepreneurs under 40 and its survey of over 600 entrepreneurs online found the respondents rated the effectiveness of their university experience as 3.4 out of 10.

Only 15% of business owners said they required employees to have degrees, and when asked separately whether a degree or a desire for ongoing learning was a higher priority for employers, 88% said the latter.

The survey conducted this month also found 60% of survey participants did not leave university feeling like they were career or business ready; and 63% of graduates said they learnt more from their time in work experience than they did in the classroom.

Of those surveyed, 45% said their graduate salary was not what they expected after often taking on considerable debt just to get through university.

Jack Delosa, managing director of The Entourage, told SmartCompany universities struggled to keep up with the fast pace of change in the business world.

“I think uni teaches the way things have always been done. To be an entrepreneur you need to dream of things that never were,” he says.

“I’ve been in business now for 10 years and not once have I been asked if I have a university qualification, I believe your qualification in the business world is how much value you can deliver to customers, how you can enrich the lives of your staff.”

Delosa is one of the entrepreneurs who didn’t go to university. He started but dropped out of his commerce/law degree at Deakin at the age of 18 to buy into his first business.

The business-to-business call centre in Melbourne closed after two years, but then Delosa started MBE Education, which achieved over $1 million turnover in revenue “very quickly”, according to Delosa.

MBE Education was named as one of SmartCompany’s top start-ups in 2009.

From there, Delosa started The Entourage four years ago, a business which now has a turnover of more than $4 million a year running conferences such as the ‘Entrepreneurs Unconvention’.

Delosa is not apologetic for his early failure.

“Any highly successful entrepreneur will have a string of failures behind them, and that is not only okay, that is their education as it prepares them for the business world in the way a university cannot,” he says. 

“Education needs to be self-motivated and self-driven and will pay much greater dividends than going through an institution.”

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