Daymond John: Here's how much college matters for success

"Shark Tank" investor Daymond John: This mental exercise will make you more...

Daymond John has seen great success: He's the CEO and founder of clothing brand Fubu, an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank" and he recently launched a co-working space business called Blueprint + Co.

But for John, college wasn't a part of the equation.

"I didn't have enough money to go to college, so I had to get a job as a waiter," he tells CNN of his days working at Red Lobster.

What he did have was grit and determination. For John, those traits have proved vastly more lucrative than a traditional education.

"Hunger is the key," John tells CNBC Make It. "I don't believe [college is] necessary for success."

Daymond John
David A. Grogan | CNBC

With Americans holding nearly $1.38 trillion in student loan debt at the end of 2017, many young people are re-thinking whether college is a necessary expense.

But John doesn't nix the idea completely. Something to consider, he says, are the doors it can open for professional networking.

"Most of my employees have come from college," John says, "because as an intern, you can come into my company and get credit [for] college. Those people then out-work the people that are already working there, and I hired most of the interns.

"You wouldn't have that opportunity if you didn't go to college," he adds.

So people who skip college should hustle to take advantage of other opportunities around them, he says.

"If you don't have the resources go to college, well then you better be on the Internet. You better be at that library. You better be wherever you can acquire the knowledge," John says.

And whether in school or at work, it is important to find mentors. "The number one reason why people are successful is access to mentors," he explains. At school, "those [mentors] are professors, those are other students in college around you."

When it comes down to it, John puts it this way: "Should you go to college? Absolutely if you can. Is it necessary? No."

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."