Elon Musk: Who Needs 'Annoying' College?

Tesla CEO says college is 'not for learning,' praises dropouts like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2020 9:11 AM CDT
Elon Musk: Who Needs 'Annoying' College?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition in Washington on Monday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared in a "fireside chat" Monday at the Satellite 2020 space community conference, and during the Q&A portion he was asked about the accessibility of higher learning and how college could be made more affordable for students in need. Musk's answer: that college isn't that important in the first place. "You don't need college to learn stuff," he said, per Business Insider, noting the achievements of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and other Silicon Valley bigwigs who were college dropouts. Instead, he said, he viewed college as a series of "annoying homework assignments" and that he doesn't think those who go to college necessarily have "exceptional ability."

"I think colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores, but they're not for learning," he noted. "In fact, ideally, you dropped out and did something," like Gates and Jobs did. "Did Shakespeare even go to college? Probably not." In December, Musk made it clear in a tweet that he was resolute about college degrees not being needed to work at Tesla. Still, an audience member pointed out to Musk that to work at SpaceX, many jobs require a bachelor's or even a master's degree, per Mashable (CNBC has a link to the list of current job openings). Business Insider notes Musk himself has bachelor's degrees in physics and economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He dropped out of a PhD program at Stanford to co-found the Zip2 software company, which ultimately made him $22 million when he sold it. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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