Entrepreneurship is a unique field of study. The major, which is often, but not always, offered as part of a business school or department, teaches students the skills they need to launch, run and grow their own businesses. Studying entrepreneurship doesn’t so much directly prepare students to find a job as it does equip them with the knowledge and resources to forge their own path. Courses in general business and throughout a wide range of academic disciplines combine to achieve these practical learning outcomes that help aspiring innovators and business founders reach success.
The Purpose of Studying Entrepreneurship
Unlike many other academic fields, entrepreneurship as a program of study has little to do with attaining specific academic or professional credentials. While physicians need medical degrees and attorneys need law degrees to become licensed to practice in their field, you don’t need a particular education to be qualified as an entrepreneur. The most important qualities for a future entrepreneur include self-confidence, creativity, persistence, passion and willingness to learn and to take risks.
Rather than merely checking off a list of requirements to attain the job they want, cultivating relevant skills is the primary reason students enroll in an entrepreneurship degree program. Most entrepreneurship programs emphasize developing practical skills that will help them transform a business idea into a real, functional and profitable organization. Other reasons to study entrepreneurship include networking opportunities and the chance to learn from other business founders’ mistakes through reviewing case studies.
While you don’t need educational or professional credentials to be an entrepreneur, you may need them to pursue certain business ideas. If you plan to open an architectural firm, medical facility or law firm, for example, you must meet government requirements.
Core Business Classes for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
While your ultimate goal as an entrepreneurship student might be to start your own company rather than joining an existing company, it is essential that you understand how conventional businesses operate. For one thing, you will need to know how to run and structure your business. You will need the skills to oversee your company’s finance, accounting, management and marketing efforts or to hire capable employees who can manage aspects of your company’s business operations for you. It is also important for aspiring entrepreneurs to understand how the manufacturers and vendors from whom you get your supplies, as well as any competitors with whom you share the market, operate.
Most undergraduate degree programs in entrepreneurship include a core of required business classes. Introductory courses in business and finance principles often kick off an entrepreneurship major’s business education. Classes in financial and managerial accounting, marketing and management strategy offer a solid foundation in the theories and practices of these business fields. Students gain valuable writing and speaking skills through a course in business communication and analytical skills through classes like business statistics and quantitative business analysis. As technology continues to evolve, some schools are including coursework in computer information systems and practical computer applications as part of the business core. Classes in business laws and ethics are also common.
Most business schools also require entrepreneurship students to take at least one course in economics, either as part of the business core or to fulfill a general education requirement. Classes in both macroeconomics and microeconomics are common and valuable.
Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Curricula
The skills you need to flesh out a business idea, secure funding for a big launch, plan for growth and manage a startup company’s finances come from all different fields of study. Entrepreneurship is what is known as an interdisciplinary field, because it draws from plenty of academic disciplines outside of business. In fact, at some schools, liberal arts classes can make up as much as 50 percent of an undergraduate degree program in entrepreneurship.
Many of the classes you take may be specialized entrepreneurship courses, but they still combine elements of different subjects of study. Courses in social entrepreneurship, for example, combine service-learning experience and studies of social problems with a focus on developing businesses that address social issues. In a course on venture finance and analysis, you apply your financial analysis skills to the matter of acquiring venture funding for a business. A class in creative problem solving employs the philosophy of approaching problems as opportunities to create and innovate.
Other specialized entrepreneurship courses might include entrepreneurial promotions, family and generational entrepreneurship, new technology ventures, fashion entrepreneurship, starting a digital media business and crowdfunding practices.