Everyone has heard of an entrepreneur who hit it big without a college degree – folks like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, who struck it rich through a combination of hard work, sheer genius, and pure luck.
But such stories are told and retold because of their rarity. The truth is, successful business-owners without a degree are in the minority. Recent statistics from census.gov show that 64% of business owners had at least some college when they started their business, while 23% boast a bachelor’s degree and 17% a graduate degree.
There are plenty of reasons why entrepreneurs should seek a business-management degree before launching a business. Here are just a few:
- Practice makes perfect – While business skills may seem intuitive, repetition has been shown to improve decision making. Solving case studies in the classroom builds critical-thinking skills, and pre-exposure to issues come in handy when real problems arise in your real business.
- Credibility matters – Never underestimate the power of a degree to open doors. Whether going to the bank for a loan, hiring employees, or forming partnerships, those credentials speak volumes about your knowledge, your determination, and your follow-through.
- Well-rounded means well-prepared – Every business-management student is exposed to a wide variety of subjects, some of which may seem unrelated to your own entrepreneurial dreams. However, courses like Introduction to College Writing, Human Resource Management, and Followership provide a solid foundation for the many roles an entrepreneur must play.
- It’s not just what you know, but who you know – Whether online or in a traditional classroom, the connections you make with classmates and instructors will help you tap network of people who’ve “been there, done that.”
- Lifelong learning pays big dividends – This may be the most important reason for pursuing a degree: The most successful entrepreneurs embrace a life of learning. They ask questions, read books, and devour information. These practices start in college, and provide a lifetime of opportunities and growth.
If you’re planning to launch a business, build a solid launch pad with a business management degree – and then get set to soar.
PR Director, College of Professional Studies
Cindy Smith Chambers has 40 years’ experience in public relations and journalism. She serves as PR Director for Bethel University’s College of Professional Studies, and is a fulltime faculty member specializing in college writing and marketing.