What Would Have Bill Gates’ Majored In If He Were To Graduate Now

Published on 22 May 2017 . 4 min read

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Microsoft co-founder, billionaire philanthropist, richest man in the world, Bill Gates congratulated the Class of 2017 in his speech, for accomplishing something he never could – earning a college degree.

20-year-olds, sit up and take notice because Gates reveals what he’d major in, if he were to enter college now:-

One is artificial intelligence. We have only begun to tap into all the ways it will make people’s lives more productive and creative. The second is energy, because making it clean, affordable and reliable will be essential for fighting poverty and climate change. The third is biosciences, which are ripe with opportunities to help people live longer, healthier lives.”

However, there are certain things that remain true irrespective of the career path one chooses, things Gates wishes he’d known earlier.

Intelligence comes in all forms, shapes and sizes

Firstly, understanding that intelligence takes many different forms. A person who writes great code, for instance, might not be the best at managing people or running a marketing team.

There are many different kinds of intelligence and they are all just as imperative to the running of an organization.

Intelligence doesn’t come with a definite checklist and the sooner one learns to recognize and appreciate people’s different talents, the richer one’s life will be.

Inequity and the importance of giving back

Another thing he regrets not knowing earlier is what true inequity looks like. He had the chance of witnessing it only when he turned 30, and was on a trip to Africa with wife, Melinda Gates.

“It blew our minds that millions of children there were dying from diseases that no one in rich countries even worried about. We thought it was the most unjust thing in the world.” he said.

He couldn’t wait to get involved and start giving back to the community that made him. The ones with more means must step forward to help uplift the ones with fewer, only then can we grow as a society.

The youth today knows more than he did at their age, they are empowered by the amount of information technology allows them access to. Gates urges them to start fighting inequity sooner, be it in their own communities or in a country halfway across the world.

Surround yourself with people who push you to be the best version of yourself

He then went on to deliver some words that will probably stay with us and continue to inspire us for years to come.

“Meanwhile, I encourage you to surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you and push you to be your best self. Melinda does that for me, and I am a better person for it.”

Each of us needs one such person in our lives who constantly motivates us to be the best version of ourselves so we never get complacent. Like Warren Buffett, Gates too measures his happiness by whether people close to him are happy and love him, and by the difference he makes in other people's lives.

Graduation gift

As a graduation present, he offered the book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’ by Steven Pinker, calling it the most inspiring book he’d ever read.

He says that if you were to tell people the world is improving, they often look at you like you're either naive or crazy. But it's true. And once you understand it, you start to see the world differently.

If you think things are getting better, then you want to know what’s working so you can accelerate the progress and spread it to more people and places. It doesn’t mean you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means you believe they can be solved, and you’re moved to act on that belief.

“It’s an amazing time to be alive,” he said, in parting. “I hope you make the most of it.”

Read the entire Twitter thread here.


Palak Kapadia

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