Do You Need a Degree to Start a Business?

businessman studying some papers

There are examples of individuals starting successful business ventures without a degree, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Rachel Ray. While it may be possible to launch a company without a business degree, it may not be advisable. Individuals who are successful on this path are the exception, not the rule. There are many reasons why it is important to earn a degree before starting your own business. Higher education instills important skills and knowledge, and it also confers respectability and credibility to your professional brand.

Developing Business and Management Knowledge

One of the primary reasons why it is best to earn a business degree before launching your own company is that you will learn key skills and strategies that will support the success of your venture. Depending on the specific degree program you choose, you may develop in-depth knowledge in advertising and marketing, business plan creation, customer persona development, legal compliance, best practices in management and human resources skills. You will also benefit from the diverse perspectives of your instructors and fellow students. Acquiring knowledge in an area is about more than just memorizing facts and strategies. It is also about understanding how to look at an issue from multiple angles before making a decision—and this is essential for those who want to run a successful business with solid, long-term growth prospects.

Acquiring Critical Soft Skills

In addition to learning about business and management strategies, you will acquire crucial soft skills when you earn a business degree. These skills are essential for succeeding in any type of business and, furthermore, on any path in life. For example, you will learn how to best communicate with all types of people and how to be a good active listener. You will also gain hands-on experience with time management, accountability, collaboration and prioritization. In addition, college often cultivates emotional maturity and a sense of social responsibility—two characteristics that are essential to successful entrepreneurs.

Gaining Credibility and Authority in Your Field

If you take a look at any online job board, you will see that the vast majority of job postings require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. A college degree provides much more than just knowledge and soft skills; it also confers respect. As a degree holder, you will have far more credibility in your field. A degree enables you to acquire professional authority and build your personal brand. Regardless of the type of business you want to build, it is recommended that you earn a degree first. This is particularly true if you need to acquire funding from lenders or investors before launching your company.

Taking Advantage of Professional Networking Opportunities

College is an invaluable experience that will continue to reward you for many years to come. Long after you graduate, you can utilize the connections you forged at school. Regardless of whether you become an online or on-campus student, there will be plenty of opportunities to network. Consider, for example, forming a study group with fellow students or joining clubs on campus. Make a point of talking with your professors during office hours; they will remember you if you need to request a letter of recommendation.

Remember to keep in touch with your connections after graduation. They will go on to work at various companies that might become vendors for your business. You may even decide to form a business partnership with one of your fellow students. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

Exploring the Possibilities With Internship Positions

Another great perk of earning your degree is that you will have the opportunity to apply for internships. Often students see internships as a way of impressing a potential future employer. However, an internship is also valuable for an aspiring entrepreneur. You will gain real world experience that you can use when starting your own company and will benefit from the guidance of your internship supervisor.

Exploring Your Business Degree Options

Now that you understand the true value of a college degree for aspiring entrepreneurs, it is time to take a look at your options. Some business colleges offer degrees specifically designed for those who plan to launch their own companies. A Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies or applied entrepreneurship will teach important skills in the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • New venture financing
  • Organizational behavior and management
  • Business law
  • Human resources

These degrees are both good options for future entrepreneurs. However, depending on your interests, there are other possibilities. If you want to launch your own software firm, for example, consider majoring in computer science. If you would like to open your own accounting firm, you could pursue a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Consider speaking with an admissions representative to discuss how to further your career goals with a degree.

When you’re ready to earn your business degree, the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University is here to help you achieve your goals. Choose from a wide range of business and management programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Applied Entrepreneurship degree and the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies program. Begin exploring your future possibilities at GCU by clicking on Request Info at the top of your screen.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.