You could launch a business without a college degree. There are more than a few famous and influential entrepreneurs who barely graduated high school.
However, entrepreneurship in the 21st century is greatly aided by a credential from higher education; banks, investors, business partners, and even employees usually prefer to see that the owner of the company has engaged in some kind of formal training in building a successful business.
So, as a preliminary step before you begin on your entrepreneurship path, you may want to consider pursuing one of the following degrees that are popular amongst business owners today:
It should hardly be surprising that business is a valuable degree for entrepreneurs. Most business degrees focus on business administration, which offers an overview of essential business processes and systems as well as training in management skills.
Highly flexible, business majors can excel in almost any business field and almost any industry, from healthcare to retail. The deep understanding of business that this degree offers is what puts it at the top of the list of most valuable college programs for entrepreneurs.
More and more entrepreneurs are interested in launching startups in the tech sector, which makes sense considering the high opportunity for innovation and disruption — and therefore lucrative growth — through tech.
Though tech expertise is not always a prerequisite for entrepreneurs in this field, a fundamental understanding of computer technology can be beneficial in inspiring business ideas and guiding business practices effectively.
Therefore, many entrepreneurs are pursuing computer technology degrees to help them prepare to launch the promising tech startups of their dreams.
Another degree option for entrepreneurs interested in tech or other types of new product development is engineering. Engineers are trained to solve problems within specific fields, like chemistry, mechanics, or electronics.
Many engineering programs also offer courses in engineering entrepreneurship, to help engineering students prepare to leverage their knowledge and abilities as business owners and leaders. Engineering is not an easy degree to earn, but it can be incredibly rewarding for entrepreneurs who want to build a new product to solve a perceived problem.
Another traditional degree for entrepreneurs is finance, which trains students to understand, produce and make better decisions based on financial data.
Finance programs often overlap with accounting programs, and entrepreneurs will need to understand both to utilize their business funding efficiently, especially in their earliest days after launch.
More than 80 percent of business failures are due to cash flow problems, which is why so many entrepreneurs choose to pursue finance degrees before building any type of business.
Business competition is steep in almost every industry, which means that marketing is more important than ever for business survival. A business leader who understands the mechanics of marketing knows how to sell their business idea to their target audience, ensuring that their company gains visibility and engagement faster and thus competes more effectively in their marketplace from the jump.
Entrepreneurs with marketing expertise may also understand how to cut marketing costs without compromising on the quality of their campaigns. Most marketing degree programs available today will focus on digital marketing, which is undoubtedly the most effective way to get in touch with audiences in the Digital Age.
Communication is undeniably the most valuable professional skill in any career field, but for entrepreneurs, effective communication could mean the difference between immediate success or lifelong failure.
Communications degree programs focus on all the different means and methods people use to exchange information, so entrepreneurs can get plenty of formal practice before they need to engage customers, employees, suppliers, investors, partners, and more. It never hurts to be a little better at communication, and a communications degree could transform an entrepreneur into a communication master.
Arguably the most unconventional degree option on this list, psychology is nevertheless a valuable field for an entrepreneur to understand. Regardless of the industry or field of business an entrepreneur pursues, they will need to interact with people, so understanding psychology can help entrepreneurs influence people in specific ways to achieve different goals. Because, entrepreneurs often only have a single chance to make a good impression on a customer or investor, the value in abilities like reading behavior and tailoring communication appropriately cannot be understated.
You would be wise to get at least a bachelor’s degree before launching your first business, and you would be even wiser to pursue a degree in one of the above fields. With advanced knowledge and skill, you are more likely to succeed in your entrepreneurial dreams.