Ambition: If Your Kid Has Fire In Belly, Forget Ivy Leagues?

Can that old-fashioned quality ambition or fire in the belly make an Ivy League education a waste of money?

At $200,000 a pop for the Ivy League educational experience, more experts, parents, Generation Y'ers, and even graduates are questioning the return on investment. And, after all, Time Man of the Year Mark Zuckerberg didn't hang around Harvard to pick up his sheepskin. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that researchers have no definitive answer about the the value of an Ivy League education. The closest they could come to saying was: It all depends.

One variable that isn't usually factored in when choosing a college is your child's ambition. If the drive is there, then just about any institution of higher learning would be a fine choice. However, if the person is that ambitious, then perhaps it would be worth investing in the possible added value that could come from an enhanced network or the doors more easily opened by association with a brand name like Harvard or Yale.

On the other hand, an Ivy League education might be beneficial for those who aren't ambitious. They might need those perks just to to get their foot in the door professionally. Members of this group may be the best candidates from preparation through coaching in order to ace standardized tests and receive tutoring to get top grades in high school. And those may be the ones to push along that linear track of Ivy undergraduate, Ivy law/business school, and white-shoe workplace.

The fact that members of Generation Y have been embracing entrepreneurship in a big way, adds anothet dimension to this analysis. According to The Economist, lots of those in the know believe that entrepreneurship can't be taught. One argument suggest that much of entrepreneurial success is in the genes. A recent study by King's College in London supports the argument entrepreneurship is at least partly influenced by genetics.

Like most human behaviors, entrepreneurial success is probably determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, combined with a dose of free will. Regardless fr its source, moderate levels of ambition are unlikely to hurt a young adult, either in their academic or early professional careers.

Mid January, AOL Jobs is presenting a special feature on some of the seminal issues surrounding ambition.

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