While visiting his alma mater, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Apple CEO Time Cook was asked by a student, “When should we listen to our professors, and when is it OK to break the rules?”

Cook responded, “I think you should rarely follow the rules. I think you should write the rules.”

Cook further elaborated, “I think if you do follow things in a formulaic matter, you will wind up at best being the same as everybody else.”

He added, “If you want to excel you can’t do that. I’ve watched a lot of companies do that. I think that’s a rotten strategy.”

Watch Tim Cook and his full response to the Duke University students in the video above.