Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oph Topik: Grad School vs. Entrepreneurship

Each Saturday the Echo Boom Bomb features a post impertinent to Echo Boomers.

One common question I receive from people of all ages is: is grad school worth it? The question is impossible to answer since it lacks something as a comparison. For instance, is grad school better than just working might be a question one could look at by evaluating the benefits to each. That being said, entrepreneurship provides many advantages that grad school does not. So, which of these is the best choice?

Grad School advantages
1. Demarcate yourself with an upper level degree.
2. Network with other educated individuals and future professionals.
3. Increase your social capital.
4. Learn something interesting.

Grad School disadvantages
1. High cost in both time and money.
2. No future guarantee of a job.
3. Loss of several years in income.

Entrepreneurship advantages
1. Learn-by-doing.
2. Network with other professionals and entrepreneurs.
3. Face a significant amount of adversity and uncertainty.
4. Work at your own pace and strengths.

Entrepreneurship disavantages
1. High probability of failure.
2. Possibility of no money from a significant investment of time.
3. Seldom looks good on a resume.

I guarantee that a thousand people can read the above and come to different conclusions about which path offers the best options. However, it should be of note, and some undergraduate profesors may seldom state, that entrepreneurship is its own form of graduate school - if you succeed.

But as a general rule, keep in mind that no path in life is a guaranteed route to success. When you think about the options you have, try to compare them to other options and focus on your strengths.