The Grand Plan…

A lot of people ask me about university – if my kids get their A-levels done early do they go straight to university (where they would be social misfits as they’d be too young) or wait 5 years (in which case what do they do for those 5 years?).

People make the assumption they’re going to university when they probably won’t.

The thing is, my kids are already passionate about business, which isn’t surprising given they are influenced by me, and they will also have many advantages in business. The following list of people have all had incredible success in their respective fields because they leveraged off their parents’ careers or passions – Andre Agassi, George Bush Jnr, Tiger Woods, Benazir Bhutto, Michael Douglas, Indara Ghadhi, Serena and Venus Williams, Jahangir Khan, J.F. Kennedy, Jaden Smith, Alec Stewart – the list goes on and on. It would be wise for my kids to emulate.

My kids have been watching me run my businesses since they were born, I can help them both financially and in terms of mentoring, and my company LaunchPad works with smart young people with no business experience to launch new tech businesses – so they would be a natural fit there. And the elder two, Maryam and Danyal, are already fascinated by business, how it allows them to just think of an idea and make their own journey. They really want to go for it. In fact one of the reasons they study hard is because I’ve told them only once they get 5 A*s in their IGCSE’s and 4A*s in their A-levels they can then do what they want – i.e. business (or spend the rest of their lives smoking ganja, if that’s their thing).

Further, they are dead set on not getting jobs. They see the freedom their parents have, and have already had a lot of freedom in their own lives, and so it’s natural they want to keep it.

The best way to learn business is by doing business. A university degree could help, but not nearly as much as 3 years of trying business (whether succeeding or failing).

So hopefully Maryam will start running a business late next year, once she has gained a few months’ work experience, and the others would also follow after they’re done with their A-levels.

If they do develop chips on their shoulders, they could do an executive degree later on in life. They’d get a great brand on their resume, they typically only take a few months to complete, and the connections one makes can be many times more valuable than in your average undergrad programme. Also they’d pay for it, not me!

By the time the kids are 21, they could have 8 years of running businesses, managing people, dealing with failure, managing a company’s finances, leading teams, taking responsibility for their own lives, backed up by some hopefully great grades 5+ years ahead of their time, together with an ability to speak 5 or 6 languages, and possibly lots of cash in their bank account that they might have made from their ventures.

Not that I’d expect them to go for a job, but if they do, possibly because I’ve gone bankrupt and so have they, I think that with that kind of CV, they’d comfortably be ahead of your typical Oxbridge grad in terms of employability – they’d be the purple cow – the ones that stand out. Cutting-edge employers including top investment banks, management consultancies, tech companies would love someone with their kind of CV – the person making the decision would be patting himself or herself on the back for being willing to take the risk, the company would use it to show how their graduate programme challenges conventions.

It is worth noting that ‘business’ might sound narrow, but it’s just as diverse as employment, which is what conventional education sets kids up for. Business could mean tech, education, retail, green tech, F&B, farming, microbiology, property, medicine, or running a vet clinic (both my girls love animals) etc… and it could be very passive or intense depending on one’s ambition.

If the kids, at any point, feel business is not for them, they’ve got plenty of time to change direction and go to university.

As for me, I would have saved about US$400k per child, or US$1.2m for all 3 children in education costs. That’s US$220k per child up to A-levels (a top private education in Malaysia less homeschool costs), and the annual cost of educating someone at a top UK university as a foreign student, including living expenses, works out to be around US$60k per annum, which is US$180k over a 3 year course. So I won’t be complaining!

Author: Asim Qureshi

Passionate about tech startups, home schooling, barefoot running and squash.

12 thoughts on “The Grand Plan…”

  1. Asim I have been a big fan of your “risky” move right from the start and when I read your blogs it makes me even more certain that you are simply an early adopter in what is most assuredly the answer to the failing education system that we are saddled with. Kudos to all of you for making the right call and I know without a shadow of a doubt that your kids will succeed at whatever they desire.

    1. Ismet baji, thanks for your kind comments!

      I see home school as something for the few that can make it work, unfortunately.

      For the vast majority school is the best option – many times better than the next option – no education at all.

      I agree with you about a failing education system. I find the resistance to change within education establishments the main issue.

  2. Hey Asim,

    I love the grand plan! I think it takes brave parents to go down the home schooling route, but without a shadow of doubt I believe it is the right one, if you have the right set-up. Having just completed GCSE with my girls I can see what a poor ROI you get with the amount of money invested. It seems you can achieve the same results in a fraction of the time with a more personalised approach.

    I also agree a degree is far from necessary if you want to go into business. It seems to be a rather expensive tick in the box these days for the corporate world. Considering a majority of graduates do not work in their field of study and the most of them want to run their own business at the end, it makes perfect sense that you would support your kids to jump straight to the end game. As you say they can always opt to do a degree later, and the chances are it will be something they really want to do.

    As Ismet says, your kids will do well in whatever they choose, especially with the support of Isabelle and yourself to lick their woulds and set them off on their path again, inshallah.

    Rafiq

    1. Rafiq, couldn’t agree with your comment more.

      I’d suggest you at least consider sending your daughters on a 3 month online programming bootcamp course after which they’d probably get very good jobs at top tech companies. Of course, that’s assuming they like programming and are mathematically inclined. I can tell you that good techies with good communication skills are in huge demand and command high salaries, and many work from home. And they don’t have to be programmers all their lives – it’s just a great skill to have.

      3 years and possibly $100k saved, and they will probably end up being more employable.

      They could do other things to actively boost their skills – e.g. go to China for a year and learn Chinese, which would probably impress employers far more than a good degree.

  3. Hello, it’s the first blog of ours I’m reading and it has already thinking me like WOW.

    I wish my parents would have thought that way. I’ve completed my high school as a 18 year old, and now, as the others go, I’m thinking of going for university education. But, as a 18 year old I haven’t been given guidance at all. I’m all by myself to choose what I should be doing.

    I hope reading your blogs will help me choose what I really want to do.

    Thanks!

  4. I wish I would have grown up with parents like you! Blessed children. I just discovered your blog and look forward to learning more 🙂

  5. Dear Asim,

    After reading your blog, I have made it my mission to get my younger siblings to use a similar strategy to get through their IGCSEs. Looking back at my high-school days I distinctly remember asking my Math teacher why did he waste our time by not telling us about the “past-paper” strategy earlier. I managed to raise all my grades from B’s and C’s to A*’s just by using past-papers.

    I hope more of the world can get a chance to read your blog.

    Regards,

    Taha

Leave a Reply