I’ve resisted writing this piece for quite a few years now, but given the times we are in, I consider myself one of the few whom has both the authority and experience to change a few minds on this subject.
And the subject being — The True Value of a Higher Education
I grew up in a poor Mexican-American family out of East Los Angeles, with parents whom both were very strict in our upbringing and valued education. At age 13, my father suddenly passed away from a stroke leaving my family to survive on a combination of Social Security benefits and my two older sister’s income working minimum wage retail jobs. This afforded me the opportunity to focus on my studies, despite the tragedy that my family endured.
Long story short, I performed well throughout high school and was accepted into the most prestigious scientific and engineering institution in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
I was fortunate that I qualified for quite a few “need based” scholarships and loan programs, which all but game me a “full ride” at MIT. I graduated with $10,000 in school loans, which by today’s standards is nothing. However, many of my school mates finished their MIT education with $150,000 in school debt or more, because they weren’t deemed to need the financial aid. (Many of them will be paying these loans back for the rest of their lives.)
While at MIT, I studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, but truth be told, I did not enjoy it at all. In fact, I attended less than 10% of my classes, did a half-ass job at completing my assignments and crammed for all of my exams 2 days before I was to take them. Fortunately, I still managed to graduate with a B- GPA. I had trained my mind to absorb and learn things quickly. (A skill I’m grateful to still possess in a quickly evolving online business world).
The truth is, I did not enjoy engineering or science, but at the time I wasn’t mature enough to realize that and did the minimum to scrape by to pass my classes and graduate from MIT, rather than pursuing a field I actually cared for… (not that I would have know what to study at the time).
After graduation while working at a Defense Contractor for the US government, I had to admit to myself that I actually did not like being an engineer at all and I started to desperately look for a “way out”.
My mission in life became to figure out a way to quit my job as an aerospace engineer yet keep my close to six-figure engineering income which my family depended on. (I had relieved my sisters and contributed back to the family, so they could pursue their dreams).
After many years, which have been documented in many of my blog stories and posts on BetterNetworker.com, I was introduced into network marketing and eventually internet marketing.
While not without struggle, my salvation and financial freedom came as a result of my experience and NEW education from my mentors in both the network marketing world and internet marketing world.
Over the first few years of learning, implementation and innovation as an internet entrepreneur, my business partner and I invested over $150,000 in personal savings and credit card debt to gain access to the courses, live events, trainers, coaches and personal consultations which provided us the education to build successful internet businesses. (Today, that investment numbers is at about $300,000 as we continue to grow.)
Thankfully, over the past 3 years as internet entrepreneurs, Raymond and I have generated over $2 million dollars in revenue for ourselves and created the lifestyle we both dreamed about when we were in college (he attended Harvey Mudd College, while I attended MIT).
Interesting enough, “the dream” was sold to me at MIT – about never having to worry about my financial security and that the world would be my oyster upon graduating from this great institution. The reality, was that I became a corporate pawn, being told to work on mundane brainless tasks, forgetting the technical expertise I garnered at MIT (a true waste) and after taxes, making a mediocre income while working full-time and often overtime, doing something I loathed.
Now I don’t mean to be a snob, but the truth is, after doing as well as I did in school as a kid and graduating from the premier technical institution in the world, I expected some truly awesome things – which did NOT happen.
All in all, my MIT education cost a total of $150,000 over 4 years for my financial aid sponsors. (I’m grateful that I didn’t have to be responsible for the majority of my education like many of my school mates did.)
My education as a network marketer and internet marketer over 2 years from 2006 – 2008, between myself and Raymond, was $150,000 as well.
The difference is that my MIT education got me a job and if I had to pay the $150,000 back, it would have taken me my entire lifetime on the salary from my job.
My education as a networker and internet marketer was paid for within our 1st year as a successful online business owner and has been paying massive dividends ever since.
However, my job story is not unique in that there are plenty others who invested in a traditional education and came no where near close to re-couping their investment nor achieving the financial freedom promised to them.
The value of a formal education has severely being diminished in place of real expertise and a true passion for performing a craft. In fact, our marketing clients have never once asked me for a marketing degree before they paid us six-figures to work on their behalf.
Now the whole point of this story is that even at the highest levels, a traditional education more and more, fails to deliver on the promises of a college education. Many of my MIT school mates whom I considered to be brilliant at the least and geniuses at the upper levels, have not achieved any significant level of financial independence since graduating.
In fact, many of them I would respectfully label as “broke”, living paycheck-to-paycheck, no closer to the greatness that was promised to them when first coming to MIT. (A few have done extremely well for themselves, but those people I can count on 2 fingers… the majority of these elite minds continue to struggle.)
My hope is that people read this article and reflect on the things they believe or have been taught to believe will provide them with true financial security, because as far as I’m concerned, in this new economy, there is no financial security other than what we make for ourselves as entrepreneurs.
My only regret is that unfortunately, there are many brilliant people who remain trapped in the old way of thinking and are too proud to admit that the path they are on will only lead to struggle and frustration — especially for those that know deep down that their talents and brilliance, far exceeds what they will be compensated throughout their lives.
I remain grateful for my opportunity to attend MIT and be surrounded by geniuses and brilliant people on a daily basis. But I am under no delusion that the financial independence I enjoy today came as a result of my MIT education. However, it does make me a stronger advocate for true education reform in our lives and in this country.
About the Author:
You may learn more about Ferny Ceballos by visting his website at www.FernyCeballos.com
I also highly recommend you watch this film titled, College Conspiracy: