For entrepreneurs in particular, the debate begs a question: Why would anyone argue against a prospective business owner getting a college degree? On the topic of college degrees and entrepreneurial success, you will hear differing opinions and incongruous data. Some argue that degrees are essential for any job today, let alone entrepreneurship and business ownership. Others insist that obtaining an education might get in the way of advancing your ideas or that you should just hit the ground running without formal education.
But a college degree can benefit anyone especially a degree as valuable as an online bachelor’s degree. There is no demonstrable drawback to bettering your mind and obtaining a credential that shows your education and commitment to achievement.
Celebs Who Skipped College
Some who would bypass college point to celebrities who dropped out or didn’t attend universities. No entrepreneur should be excessively questioning and doubting their own ideas and abilities, but it’s unrealistic to think that thousands of entrepreneurs are all about to become the next Steve Jobs or Richard Branson.
Speaking of Jobs and Branson, those businessmen rose to success in an era when college attendance rates were lower across the board than they are today. Executives and entrepreneurs decades ago were all less likely to attend universities. This is not to say that degrees are merely a new requirement, or some intangible hurdle to jump. It’s a competitive world and job market. Higher education is simply more necessary than ever.
The Case for Bypassing the Classroom
Among the commonly cited reasons against getting a degree — or in favor of starting a business immediately — several intriguing but flawed concepts arise. The first is the idea that the entrepreneur does herself a disservice by “wasting time” in the classroom instead of starting a business. This implies that the classroom does not benefit the entrepreneur, an unlikely proposition. No evidence suggests that someone without an education is just as well prepared. Worst case scenario: a poorly executed venture could easily bankrupt a young, uneducated businessperson.
Furthermore, the impatient mindset implies that a business idea must be enacted immediately. If your business plan is viable right now but will be irrelevant in a few years, are you sure it’s a strong enough idea to be worth ditching college or missing out on an advanced degree?
No One Goes It Alone
Being a successful entrepreneur isn’t as much of a solo or maverick venture as people often make it out to be. Starting a business takes support from others, and the sort of teamwork and leadership an entrepreneur needs is rarely innate. Additionally, the banks, funders and venture capital firms that might support a startup will undoubtedly need to be convinced by credentials and qualifications as much as the strength of an idea.
College offers the traditional benefits of networking, credentials and a well-rounded education. Though entrepreneurs sometimes succeed by doing it all alone, the majority of us require training, growth and the social resources provided by a quality degree program to enact the dream of business ownership.
College Grads More Plentiful
The majority of business owners hold college degrees and the percentage is expected to rise. With today’s markets and technologies, there are many reasons why entrepreneurs feel the need to get a degree or complete graduate studies related to the business leadership, management or a field that directly serves their intended industry.
Entrepreneurship itself comprises an area of study and a skill set that can be learned, improved and developed. For the business mind that wishes to avoid classes in the arts and sciences, there are business degrees and related programs that specifically contribute to the knowledge and skills needed to start and operate a business successfully.