I had started a few businesses before I had my college degree. My college degree was an afterthought and something I earned while I was working full time at the United Nations.
The question of whether getting a college degree will guarantee success in the business world has been a topic of discussion for years. Many successful business owners do not have formal education, while some swear by their degree. So, if you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner considering obtaining a college degree, does it really make a difference?
Let’s explore the pros and cons of having a college degree and whether or not it can help you in the world of business.
A Discipline of Study
A college degree is often seen as a mark of intellectual development and discipline. Going through a college program and obtaining a degree shows that you have gone through a rigorous process of study and had the persistence and discipline required to complete the required coursework. These are all valuable skills in entrepreneurship and business ownership. Learning how to study and stay focused can help you develop better daily habits that you can apply to your work. The benefits of mastering discipline and persistence extend far beyond your college years.
Network of Professionals
College is an excellent opportunity to build a network of people who may be relevant to your future business ventures. Business school graduates or those who have completed degrees in fields within a professional interest may become a valuable part of the professional circle that you use to launch your business. College can also offer access to internships where you can gain experience and exposure to industries and people who might otherwise be difficult to connect with.
Structure or Template
College teaches students the structure and methodology of problem-solving. Depending on your course of study, you may have to understand complex systems and frameworks, many of which are relevant to the business world. Business owners must be strategic and calculative in their decision-making and the template provided by college experience or a degree can help sharpen such skills.
Asset for Future Partnerships
Having a college degree can be an additional level of credibility and source of trust in the business world. It may be seen as a necessary foundation for entering into a partnership or an agreement- which can be a useful addition when formal contracts come into play. The college degree and related experiences you gained from this will effectively bridge gaps and open doors for future partnerships.
Success Is Not Tied To A Degree
While a college degree can be beneficial in some ways, having a degree is not necessary for success. Many business owners do not have a degree and have achieved significant success regardless. Starting a business from scratch requires passion, dedication, and a lot of hard work- qualities that aren’t specific to having a college degree. It is important to acknowledge that just because someone has a degree doesn’t make them a better business owner than someone who does not have.
Whether having a college degree is helpful or not for success in business is a complex question. While a degree can equip people with the discipline of study, access to a larger network of professionals and provide templates, it does not guarantee success in the industry. It is essential to know that what makes a business successful, in comparison to other businesses, is rooted in multiple and various factors beyond education. It ultimately comes down to your passion for your business, the ability to adapt to uncertain challenges and resilience.
Here are just a few entrepreneurs who have no college degree
1. Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg didn’t finish his degree at Harvard, dropping out after just two years to focus on growing Facebook. He is now one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world with a net worth of more than $53 billion.
2. Steve Jobs: The late Apple visionary Steve Jobs dropped out of college after just one semester, yet he revolutionized the tech world and built a multibillion-dollar company.
3. Bill Gates: Microsoft founder Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to pursue his business ambitions. He is currently worth more than $107 billion and is considered one of the most successful entrepreneurs in history.
4. Richard Branson: Billionaire Richard Branson dropped out of school at age 16 to start his own magazine, and has since gone on to create the successful Virgin Group. He currently has a net worth of approximately $5 billion.