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Richard Branson To Class Of 2013: Create Your Own Opportunities

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RICHARD BRANSON CLASS OF 2013
Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, told members of the Class of 2013 to "be ambitious." (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) | AP

If you're a member of the Class of 2013 and want to some day be rich enough to own your own island, you may want to pay attention to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson's advice.

"Be ambitious. There probably won't be another time in your life when you have such freedom of opportunity. Grasp it with both hands," Branson wrote. "If you can't find an opening that fits what you want to do, why not try to create one yourself?"

Branson was writing on LinkedIn as a part of the website's series of columns offering advice for newly minted college graduates. Branson wrote that he's never had a boss, and started a magazine when he was a teenager. Today, Branson's empire includes companies in the music industry, airlines, limousine services and hotels.

Much of Branson's advice centered on traveling, and he probably wouldn't mind if you flew Virgin Atlantic and stayed in one of his hotels.

"You may decide to take a break and consider your options. I would urge you to travel, take on new experiences and draw upon those when it comes to making the decisions that will shape your future," Branson wrote. "The amount of business ideas that people pick up from travelling the world is enormous."

Branson said traveling could be more beneficial than college.

"Gap years don't only have to happen before you go to college. Actually, a good option is to travel instead of going to university," Branson said. "You can work and still have a lot of fun along the way: you won't create as much debt, you'll learn an awful lot and may come back with some great ideas."

Other entrepreneurs, including Peter Thiel and Penelope Trunk, have advocated against college. Billionaire tech pioneers, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, fuel the debate about whether a degree is needed for success.

Branson quit school when he was 16.

"Education doesn't take place in stuffy classrooms and university buildings," Branson wrote. "It can happen everywhere, every day to every person."

Earlier on HuffPost:

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