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Mark Cuban: ‘Be Superstitious About Titles’

March 30, 2013

This one is for those who consider college schooling superstitious. Please don’t kill yourself for not being able to continue with your taxpayer-subsidized indoctrination. Education is not a right.

That’s just part of my agenda in posting this blog, which is actually about billionaire and Dallas Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

The following are some interesting facts about the outspoken billionaire.

  1. Of course he’s Jewish!
  2. At the age of 12, he sold sets of garbage bags to save up for a pair of shoes he liked.
  3. He skipped his senior year and went directly to college at University of Pittsburgh.
  4. But he nixed UP for Indiana’s Kelley School of Business because “it had the least expensive tuition of all the business schools on the top 10 list.”
  5. Cuban attended stamp collecting conventions as a teenager, often spotting good deals and selling them quickly for profit. Interestingly his favorite author (AYN RAND) was a passionate stamps collector.
  6. During college, he had various business ventures, including a pub, disco lessons, and a chain letter. His bar was eventually shut down for underage drinking (he suspected his competitor as the culprit).
  7. He’s “superstitious about titles”. That’s probably the reason why college was NO big deal to him. He’s NO diploma-toting tycoon.
  8. His business mentor: His former boss named Michael. (Read the link below to find out why.
  9. He was fired by his boss for being too competent.
  10. His favorite novel of all time: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. He said: “It was incredibly motivating to me. It encouraged me to think as an individual, take risks to reach my goals, and responsibility for my successes and failures. I loved it. I don’t know how many times I have read it, but it got to the point where I had to stop because I would get too fired up.”

He describes his former boss in the following manner: “He wore the right suits. But he had a huge flaw: He never did the work.”

From Andrew Stockton (a minor character of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged): “Any man who’s afraid of hiring the best ability he can find, is a cheat who’s in a business where he doesn’t belong. To me – the foulest man on earth, more contemptible than a criminal, is the employer who reject men for being too good.”

Here’s an excerpt of his Forbes article titled At Age 25 Mark Cuban Learned Lessons About Leadership That Changed His Life:

“About nine months in, I got an opportunity to make a $15,000 sale to a guy named Kevin. I was going to make a $1,500 commission, which was enormous. It would have allowed me to move out of the apartment and maybe have a bed.

“I asked a co-worker to cover me at the office. I called my boss, the CEO, whose name was Michael, and told him I was going to pick up the check. I thought he’d be thrilled. He wasn’t. He told me not to do it. I thought: ‘Are you kidding me?’ I decided to do it anyway. I thought when I showed up with a $15,000 check, he’d be cool with it.

“Instead, when I came back to the office, he fired me on the spot. I had disobeyed him. He was one of those CEOs who is all pomp and circumstance, one of those guys who seems to scream: ‘Don’t you know who I am? What I do?’ He tried hard to look and act the part of the CEO. He wore the right suits. But he had a huge flaw: He never did the work. He never demonstrated the initiative to go out to sell. I had realized by that time that ‘sales cures all.’ That’s a phrase I still use to this day. He was my mentor, but not in the way you’d expect. Even now I think back to things he did, and I do the opposite.”

He also writes, Will Your College Go Out of Business Before you Graduate? 

The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that the college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate…. Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.

The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enable you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.

Then, with your freshman and sophomore classes out of the way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to, or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and, miracle of miracles, no debt.

For the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of $1 TRILLION as I write this) are gone. Going to a four-year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.

Which in turn means that four-year schools that refuse to LOWER their tuition are going to see their enrollment numbers decline. It just doesn’t make sense to pay top dollar for Introduction to Accounting , Psychology 101, etc.

… So back to the economics of four-year schools. Before you go to college, or send your child to a four-year school you better check their balance sheet. How much debt does the school have? How many administrators making more than $200,000 do they have? How much are they spending on building new buildings — none of which add value to your child’s education, but as enrollments decline will force the school to increase their tuition and nail you with other costs. They just create a debtor university that risks going out of business.

There will be colleges and universities that fail, declare bankruptcy or have to re-capitalize much like the newspaper industry has and long before the class of 2018 graduates.

The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it. Your future depends on your ability to assemble an educational plan that gets you on your path of knowledge and discovery without putting you at risk of attending a school that is doomed to fail , and/or saddling you with a debt heavy balance sheet that prevents you from taking the chances, searching for the opportunities or just being a screw up up for a while. We each take our own path, but nothing shortcuts the dreams of a 22 year old more than owing a shitload of money.

Now is the time to figure it out and avoid the mess schools are creating for themselves and for those who take the old school way to college graduation.

It’s very unlikely for Philippine universities and colleges to lower tuition because the country’s education sector is protected against outside competition.

One Comment leave one →
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