Is it worth dropping out of college

This dropout prevailed with an unusual application

A 32-year-old American won against 1,500 applicants despite missing a college degree.

The US entrepreneur decided to drop out of college due to high tuition fees.

In his application, he focused on his personal experience and instinct.

$ 14,000 per semester? For Andy Didorosi, 32 years old, this sum seemed surreal. A little later, the American dropped out of his engineering degree at Lawrence Technology University in the US state of Michigan. Today he earns a six-figure annual salary. The story of a young man who swims against the current.

Didorosi had been studying for nearly two years when he decided his $ 14,000 per semester tuition just wasn't worth it. He had amassed debt, missed a number of courses, and was about to embark on a career path he wasn't going to enjoy. So the American decided to drop out of college.

Didorosi was one of 45 million Americans who cumulatively owe more than $ 1.5 trillion in student loans, according to a statistic from the U.S. Department of Education. There is no improvement in sight. College tuition fees are getting higher and higher, and have increased 538 percent since 1985, according to Bloomberg. The US population is wondering whether the debts that arise from a four-year degree are really worth it.

More than half of US workers without a college degree

In fact, a recent report that analyzed the labor market found that approximately 60 percent of today's US workforce did not have a college degree. Employers are more open to employing people without a university degree.
Didorosi's career shows that young people can be successful even without a university degree.

In September 2019, the college dropout prevailed against almost 1,500 applicants and got a job as head of marketing at "Basecamp". A company that has been developing digital workflow management tools for 20 years. The starting salary for a position as Head of Marketing at Basecamp is around $ 180,000. Didorosi did not disclose the exact amount of his compensation to Business Insider.

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Unlike hundreds of other applicants, Didorosi did not have a college degree. Instead, the 32-year-old entrepreneur relied on the experience he gained in his unusual professional career.

Didorosi developed his first business idea at the age of 16 when he converted cars bought at auctions and resold them at higher prices. He started four small businesses before founding Detroit Bus Co., a city tour and public transportation company, in 2011. It was Didorosi's first idea that paid off financially. In addition to his work at Basecamp, he is still the head of his startup.

"Not once in my working life so far have I had the feeling that the degree plays a role," Didorosi told Business Insider. “There is no qualification for leadership positions. In order to take on responsibility, you have to deal intensively with the topic, have clear goals and be convinced that they will be realized. "

The 32-year-old prevailed against 1,500 other applicants:

Didorosi used the form of narrative storytelling for his application. This modern narrative form allowed him to highlight his nontraditional background and experience. Here is a look at the cover letter from the American:

In his letter of motivation Didorosi points out, among other things, that he met the boss and co-founder of "Basecamp", Jason Fried, at an earlier event. Fried told Business Insider that Didorosi's motivation and willingness to take risks won him over to found the Detroit Bus Co. even though he had no experience in the transportation industry.

"The thing is - a lot of people have good ideas," Fried said. “Everyone has ideas, but for most of them it sticks to those thoughts. We often think too much and talk things over ourselves. But Andy had an idea and he took action. He just did it. "

Didorosi did not initially impersonate the person Fried had in mind for the leadership role in his company "Basecamp". He was looking for someone with a more traditional background.

Didorosi ignores all common ideals in his application

Didorosi's application differed greatly from generally accepted ideals. He did not submit a single-page bullet-point document that was common in the United States and highlighted training and experience. The 32-year-old said it was difficult for him to summarize his experiences in a document, so he decided to make a narrative about his life instead.

Didorosi's letter of motivation was four pages long. He chose the font on the “Basecamps” website. Even if, as a candidate, he may not be able to meet all the requirements for the job, he did his best and made some unconventional considerations, said the US entrepreneur. So he wanted to show that he had carried out extensive research.

Fried said the company received thousands of applications. Many of these applicants have already held positions at the top of a company's hierarchy. However, when the personnel experts selected 20 candidates and ultimately only four remained, Didorosi held its own against his colleagues.

Entrepreneurs rely on instinct in job interviews

In an interview with Business Insider, Didorosi made it clear that he was relying on instinct even among the last four applicants. Finalists were asked to create a marketing plan for a company with a $ 1 million budget. "I thought I can either write what I think they want me to do - or I can do what I would for my bus company," he said.

While the competing applicants came up with formalized and campaign-like plans, Didorosi took an unusual route, Fried said. Among other things, he wanted to contact new companies in a creative way. Overall, it was a very direct suggestion, according to the head of "Basecamp".

Still, Fried wanted to see how Didorosi would react if he questioned the strategy. "You said my idea didn't have a really great new value - that there wasn't a big idea behind it," Didorosi told Business Insider. “I made a few changes, but I made it clear that I didn't want to change a lot.” Two hours after his response, Didorosi received a job offer from Basecamp.

The 32-year-old could well have drawn up an expensive marketing plan, but rather relied on his experience. He took a small business approach in a global company and gained a leadership position. Instead of concentrating on what “Basecamp” seemed to be looking for, the entrepreneur won over with a completely different idea.

"There is no single right path to success"

Didorosi believes his strength lies in his ability to overcome previous business failures. “You focus far too much on prerequisites, because that's what we've been drummed into all of our lives,” Didorosi told Business Insider. “There is no single right path to success. I was on the usual path towards security and structure. But this way contradicted my ideas. "

The US entrepreneur adds that each of his previous business ideas taught him to find a niche. He took the power to take his career entirely into his own hands. “A lot of people won't agree with me, and that's a good thing,” Didorosi told Business Insider. "I definitely chose an unusual path."

Didorosi is aimed at budding business people with specific advice: Always try to put your idea into practice yourself first. As soon as you see successes, you can get help. Ultimately, the entrepreneur's practical attitude paid off. His experience strengthened his resilience and resulted in him now receiving a six-figure salary.

Despite the 20-year history of "Basecamp", Didorosi is the first head of marketing. Fried said the hiring process wasn't easy because he had created a new position and had no one to compare applicants with. At first he thought he wanted someone with classic marketing experience.

Company boss compares personnel decisions with betting stakes

While three of the finalists worked in the marketing departments of other large companies, only Didorosi was entrepreneurial. The personnel experts finally recognized that Didorosi's commitment was best reconciled with the “Basecamp” corporate attitude.

"Whenever someone is hired, they end up placing only one bet," Fried told Business Insider. "The other three finalists were great, but we felt that Andy was the bet with the highest chance of success for us."

This article was published by Business Insider in February 2020. It has now been reviewed and updated.