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Third Degree

We ask if book smarts or street smarts rule in business.

By April Y. Pennington

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the third season of The Apprentice, contestants weredivided into two teams, high school vs. college graduates. In areal-life spin, we asked four entrepreneurs with various levels ofeducation, Are street smarts or book smarts more important inbusiness?

Armed with the gifts of gab and persuasion, Steven Arroyo spenttime around restaurateur clients as an espresso bean salesman andbecame convinced he had the street smarts to excel at therestaurant biz himself. He started what is now Cobras &Matadors in Los Angeles 10 years ago. "I knew that my stylewas as good as anybody's out there," says Arroyo, 36, whonever attended college. "When you have a degree, you paysomeone tuition to tell you what you can and cannot achieve. No onehas ever told me what my capabilities or limitations are."Arroyo now has four restaurants and projects 2005 sales of $7million. "The street will teach honesty, integrity, humilityand how to BS," he says. "Lack of knowledge is sometimesmy best weapon."

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