Do You Need a Business Degree to Run Your Own Business?

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Does a business degree and business ownership go hand-in-hand? Is a college degree necessary to run a business? Many would-be entrepreneurs have asked this question in one form or another. An online search results in several articles dedicated to the subject, and each one answers the question differently.

Many notable entrepreneurs never earned a college degree. Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln are two historical examples, but they lived in different times with different career options. David Geffen, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg – who respectively co-founded DreamWorks, Apple and Facebook – are three modern examples.

Are Self-Made Business Owners the Norm?

According to a “Forbes” magazine report, the statistics reveal these men as savants. Self-made businessmen without a college degree are not the norm among business owners today. Most have at least some college education.

In fact, a survey of business owners showed that 64 percent had at least some college when they started their businesses. Nearly one-quarter of them had a bachelor’s degree, and 17 percent had a master’s degree or greater. Less than one in four entrepreneurs reported their highest level of education as a high school diploma.

Despite the statistics, most people know at least one successful entrepreneur who did not combine a business degree and business ownership. For such people, a degree was not a prerequisite for business success. However, having a degree can make business owners more successful in the long run, even if starting their business did not require one.

Reasons to Start a Business Without a Degree

Most entrepreneurs who start a business without a degree cite several reasons for doing so. Expensive college costs are usually at the top of the list. Time is another common reason. Some business owners cite the formal educational structure and other negatives, such as the impractical courses required in many degree programs.

These are valid reasons, and many entrepreneurs have success without a degree. For this reason, it is hard to argue that a business degree and business ownership are interdependent. However, there are many good reasons to pursue a college degree and bolster business success.

Reasons to Pursue a Business Degree

A career change is a good reason to pursue a college degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Many students in executive MBA (EMBA) programs are full-time professionals who are switching careers. College courses teach knowledge and skills that can help professionals transition into a new career. They also give entrepreneurs another business prospective.

Credibility is an important benefit of a business degree, and it can be particularly helpful when business owners hire employees, form partnerships or ask investors for money. Connections are another benefit; college connections can be a vital part of an entrepreneur’s professional and social networks.

Closing Thoughts on College Degrees

To answer the initial question, a college degree is not a requirement for business ownership. However, entrepreneurship is generally easier with a degree. College promotes a pattern of lifelong learning that benefits business in numerous ways. For most people, pairing a business degree and business ownership is a formula for success.

For more information, check out “THE 20 MOST COMMON BUSINESS STARTUP QUESTIONS“.
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