If you want to be the boss and call the shots, entrepreneurship could be the right career path for you. When it comes to preparing to start and run your own business, there is no one ideal process for getting there. Many aspiring business founders choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship. However, because an entrepreneurship degree is not a requirement for success as an entrepreneur, students can explore a number of different academic paths. Some startup leaders go to graduate school for entrepreneurship, while others have an associate’s degree in business or even a degree from a trade school or vocational school.
Why Entrepreneurs Should Go to College
A college education is not mandatory for entrepreneurs. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there are self-employed workers at every level of education, from those who never finished high school to those with a doctorate or other terminal degree. However, new business leaders with some level of college education are at a distinct advantage compared to those without any college studies.
Even if you think up a brilliant and unique idea for a product or service during high school, it is unlikely that you already have the full range of skills needed to bring that idea to fruition. You will probably need more technical knowledge to build a prototype of your product or greater professional expertise, not to mention qualifications, to begin branding your service. Part of your college studies in entrepreneurship or another major should include cultivating this knowledge.
While innovation is integral to your success as an entrepreneur, an understanding of business principles and management strategies is just as important. Without properly planning and managing your business operations, your company is likely to fail no matter how great your idea is. The foundational business knowledge you learn in an entrepreneurship degree program or even a basic associate’s degree program in business can help you develop the basic business skills you need to get your organization started.
Even if you don’t major in business, the liberal arts and science courses you take to fulfill general education requirements in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program can help you develop the soft skills entrepreneurs need, like communication and critical thinking.
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Bachelor’s Degrees in Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship has become a popular major for both undergraduate and graduate students, according to Forbes. For undergraduates, the degree of choice is a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship, which is usually offered as part of a university’s business school. The focus of a bachelor’s degree program in entrepreneurship is to develop the skills and resources need to build, manage and grow a business successfully.
Some bachelor’s degrees in the field are Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship degrees, while others are Bachelor of Business Administration degrees with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Intended to take four years of full-time study, a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship typically combines core business coursework and general education requirements with specialized and interdisciplinary studies that develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
If you started out your career through training at a technical or vocational school, you might pursue a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship to help you learn about the principles and practices of business operations.
Graduate School for Entrepreneurs
In some career paths, going to graduate school means that you can advance to higher-level positions, see a pay increase in your current job or attain professional certification. For entrepreneurs, that is usually not the case. Instead of advancing your education to gain the external benefits that accompany a master’s degree, entrepreneurs who go to graduate school do so for the advanced knowledge and specialized skills that they develop. Often, graduate entrepreneurship students have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to their business idea but did not study business at the undergraduate level. They have the professional or technical expertise to make their business idea happen but not the skills to develop business strategy, plan for growth and manage company finances and marketing campaigns.
Called a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Master of Entrepreneurship (MsE) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in entrepreneurship degree, these programs consist of graduate-level coursework that revolves around learning to launch a business venture or other organization and plan for growth. One distinction between different types of graduate programs in entrepreneurship is the length of time these degrees take to complete. A traditional MBA degree is a broader program requires two years of full-time study, while specialized Master of Entrepreneurship programs may take just 12 months to complete.
There are also less comprehensive entrepreneurship graduate certificate programs that can take as little as six months.