WikiLeaks: British businessmen overeducated, says Branson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LONDON - Virgin group owner Richard Branson, who left school at 15 and ran his own business when others his age were studying, believes that “British entrepreneurs are overeducated”, reveals a US cable that was put out by WikiLeaks.

In January 2008, the multi-billionaire Branson was at a lunch hosted by Chinese businessmen in Beijing, when the Chinese criticised British entrepreneurs as being “overeducated, too conservative, lacking passion for entrepreneurship and too afraid of failure”, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

The US Ambassador Clark Randt reported in the cable that “Richard Branson agreed that British entrepreneurs are overeducated and that schooling does not prepare one for entering the business world”.

In response to a student’s question about the merits of further education, in a column for Livemint website, Branson had earlier said: “Obtaining a diploma is only a first step, and in no way guarantees success.”

“Virgin’s projects and industries are so varied (that) my job provides me with an experience I often compare to an extended university course.

“When I was young, school wasn’t easy. I was not a great student, partly because of my dyslexia (which was not diagnosed until later) and partly because of my restless nature. I found it hard to concentrate in class and spent much of my time in school dreaming up and setting up new businesses.

“However, my story is a very personal one,” he said.

“My strategy will not work for everyone. A diploma can be very useful, since it shows that you have gained the skills and other building blocks required to start your career.”

The media report said that a number of successful entrepreneurs dropped out of education early, including Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

While multi-billionaire Warren Buffett failed to complete his education, Mark Zuckerberg was just 20 when he launched Facebook.

Filed under: Economy

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