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College Degree Required?

Newsletter • volume 2 • number 1

These days, most job descriptions - even the most entry-level - call for a college degree. This makes complete sense from a screening standpoint since strict educational requirements can efficiently shrink a large applicant pool to a more manageable size. The risk, however, is that the pool may grow too small for some really big fish. Consider the following:

- Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft, dropped out of college after two years.

- Neither Michael Dell, the founder and chairman of Dell Computer, nor Larry Ellison, the founder and chairman of Oracle, finished college.

- Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and the founder of NeXT, dropped out of college.

- James Cannavino, who until recently was the Director of Strategy at IBM, never attended college.

- Rob Gaynor, who developed and manages Schwablink at Charles Schwab & Co., attended four colleges but never graduated.

Certainly, there are fields in which a degree is de rigueur. But many companies, particularly those involved with computer technology, may be losing some top prospects when they take a hard line about a college degree.