Do you have an idea for a new business that you’re passionate about? That inspiration is a necessary first step to becoming an entrepreneur. However, in order to launch a business and make it successful, you also need the know-how to make it work. That’s where a business and management degree fits into your career trajectory.
The best degree programs for entrepreneurs are those that provide a thorough grounding in what it takes to develop an idea into a business, create a structure for the company and operate the business on a daily basis. Keep reading to explore some of the best degrees to prepare you to start your own business.
Best Degrees for Entrepreneurs: An Overview
The optimal degree programs for entrepreneurs challenge them to look at the world from different perspectives. What you learn in class and from your peers may inspire you to refine your idea in unanticipated ways. Through your business degree program, you will develop the following crucial skills for entrepreneurial success:
- Critical thinking
- Analytical reasoning
- Ethical decision-making
- Servant leadership
- Global perspective
Your degree program will also teach you the fundamentals of business operations, accounting, marketing and more. Further, you’ll develop and hone your written and oral communication skills. These skills are vital for all entrepreneurs, regardless of industry.
The Best Degrees for Starting Your Business
For undergraduate students, there are many options available. These include degrees designed specifically for aspiring entrepreneurs, such as a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial studies or applied entrepreneurship.
These entrepreneur-specific degrees will teach you to analyze a business idea critically, develop a business plan and model, seek venture funding and run the day-to-day affairs of your business. You’re also likely to learn about the following:
- Organizational behavior and management
- Project management
- Accounting and business finance
- Microeconomics and macroeconomics
- Ethical and legal issues relevant to business owners
As you progress through your studies for an entrepreneur-specific degree, you are likely to tackle assignments with real-life applications. For instance, you might be asked to develop a comprehensive business plan for your business idea. You will need to conduct market research, develop advertising strategies and consider modern challenges in business and management.
These exercises can prepare you to tackle these issues in the real world when you graduate with your degree. Consider using your own business idea, if you have one, and applying your classroom exercises to it. You’ll get actionable feedback from your instructors and peers on matters such as your business plan and market research.
By the time you graduate, you’ll have a thorough understanding of what it truly takes to make a company succeed.
Alternative Choices for an Entrepreneur Degree
Not all entrepreneurs have a degree in entrepreneurial studies or applied entrepreneurship. It’s entirely possible to develop and launch a successful company with a different sort of academic credential.
For instance, one closely related degree is a BS in Accounting. This degree is certainly appropriate for aspiring certified public accountants (CPAs) who wish to own their own CPA business. However, it can also be useful for future entrepreneurs who would like to enter any other industry. After all, an accounting degree will teach you how to keep your business’ books and manage its finances — critical skills for any entrepreneur.
Another excellent degree for entrepreneurs is a BS in Marketing and Advertising. Your future marketing campaigns will be the lifeblood of your company. Campaigns promote your products or services and increase brand awareness. While earning a marketing degree, you’ll explore the fundamentals of consumer behavior, best practices in developing advertising campaigns and the process of conducting market research.
As your company grows, you may later hire a dedicated marketer or outsource your marketing needs to a marketing agency. In the beginning, however, many entrepreneurs who launch small businesses handle their own marketing.
Depending on your business goals, you may also wish to consider a less traditional degree option. For instance, suppose you aspire to open your own sports management agency. In this case, it might make the most sense to earn a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management.
Similarly, for someone who intends to start and run a public relations firm, a degree in communications may be the best choice. Of course, if you are not yet sure what kind of business you will launch, a degree in entrepreneurial studies or applied entrepreneurship is a strategic choice, offering skills applicable to all industries.
Do You Need an MBA to Become an Entrepreneur?
A Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree isn’t strictly necessary for launching your own company. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, for example, never earned MBAs. However, for every entrepreneur without a degree whose business succeeds, there are countless more whose businesses fail.
This is because it takes much more than a good idea to make a business succeed. An MBA program will not only teach you how to launch your business — it will also teach you how to sustain it far into the future. It’s not easy to navigate the transitions from idea to start-up and from start-up to established business, which is why the skills you’ll learn in an MBA program are so vital.
Consider the following benefits of enrolling in an MBA program:
- Idea incubator: When you test out business ideas in the real world, you’re putting real money on the line. If an idea fails, you may end up in serious financial trouble. An MBA program acts as an incubator for your best business ideas, allowing you to test them out, refine them and take risks without having to suffer the real-world consequences of failure. Further, you’ll benefit from others’ perspectives on your ideas. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t before you implement your best idea in the real world.
- Unparalleled networking opportunities: If you ask any MBA graduate what the most valuable part of business school was, there is a good chance the answer will be the networking opportunities. An MBA program allows you to connect with classmates and instructors from all walks of life and areas of expertise. While you’re working through the curriculum, you just might meet your future business partner or perhaps the venture capitalist who will fund one of your major projects later down the road.
There is also a wide range of MBA specializations that allow you to gain experience that can help you develop your business. Your choice of specialization will depend on what kind of business you want to build. Some available MBA degree emphases include:
- Strategic Human Resource Management
- Health Systems Management
- Sports Business
- Project Management
If you intend to launch your own business, you can build a solid academic foundation for your future success by earning an entrepreneur-oriented degree at Grand Canyon University. The Colangelo College of Business offers numerous degree options for eager learners, including the Bachelor of Science in Applied Entrepreneurship and the Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies. Those who already hold an undergraduate degree may consider applying to one of our MBA programs, such as the Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Strategic Human Resource Management.
Click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen to explore further the best degrees for starting your own business.
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.