What to learn in order to succeed? My Advice to a College Student

Ben Franklin, the founder of The University of Pennsylvania (my alma mater), said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Recently I was asked: “what is the best major to study in college in order to become rich?” The answer is the usual “it depends”. One does not need a college degree to generate tons of wealth. Yes, the founders of Google were Ph.D. students. However, Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) and Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) didn’t finish college and they did alright. I really don’t believe that what you study in college makes a big difference in your career. What makes a big difference are the skills that you learn.

The key to a successful productive career is to acquire skills that you will use in any job or career. Most people change jobs and/or careers several times in their lifetime. In my case, I studied Computer Science as an undergraduate and Computer Engineering in graduate school. Believe me, I haven´t written a single computer program for money in the past 15 years. However, the set of skills I learned in college helped me become successful.

I’ve done many different jobs throughout my professional life. I have changed jobs functions over a dozen times in the first 25 years of my career. I’ll probably have a couple more career changes in the following 15 to 25 years of productive time left. The path to success is usually never straight. There are a lot of turns along the way.

So, here is my top 10 list of skills to be acquired in college in order to succeed at anything:

1) Speed Reading

2) Time Management Skills

3) Listening and Communication Skills

4) Logical Thinking

5) Leadership and teamwork skills

6) Sales and persuasion skills

7) Ability to learn / become autodidactic

8) Be able to Self-evaluate / reflect

9) Work in different scopes (be able to see the big picture while paying attention to details)

10) Grit (more of a personality trait than a skill)

I’ll be reviewing each of the 10 skills on the list in future blog posts.

By the way, I want to send a shout out to my nephew, Carlos, who is in the process of applying to college. Hope this post is useful.

Thanks for reading. I encourage you to post any questions to the comment section.

Happy investing!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.