After 4 years in college studying entrepreneurship, you might get the idea that no one will hire you. After all, you studied to start your own company, didn’t you? Even though that is the primary objective, it’s amazing how many growing companies today actually prefer grads with a degree in entrepreneurship. The hardest qualities for employers to find in their applicants is empathy, understanding, and respect for what they are going through. Employers want employees who think like owners. They want employees who are engaged and empowered. They want employees who are resourceful, budget-minded, and sales-oriented – all of which a degree in entrepreneurship will make you painfully aware.
Entrepreneurship Degree Jobs
Business entrepreneurship degree holders have been educated in the four growth cycles of businesses: startup, buildup, buildout, and enterprise. They are schooled in the challenges and various types of solutions required in each phase. They have studied different businesses and learned how they navigated their “entrepreneur-ship” through treacherous waters without sinking, getting blown off course, or running aground. What’s more, they learned the tools and best practices others have used before them to make it safely to port. Now that’s the kind of employees most businesses want today in the positions of management, analysis, sales, and marketing, just to name a few.
Entrepreneurship, as a curriculum leading to a degree, has really become popular only since the Great Recession. It was then that the middle management jobs that the schools of business prepared their students for evaporated. It was then that the business schools took a hit in enrollment. It was then that the idea that, “If you couldn’t teach a curriculum which lead to a job, maybe you could teach a curriculum that created their own job,” surfaced. And it was then that the business schools stepped up to the plate and said, “Why entrepreneurship? It’s just a part of what we teach anyway, so we’ll just focus on that.” That morphed into “business and entrepreneurship” and then “innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Then technopreneurship happened and the engineers began to lead the charge. After all, weren’t most entrepreneurship hopefuls looking at some form of applied technology? And weren’t technology grads in need of entrepreneurship?
But others (like us) held out for more of the liberal arts, pointing out that most successful entrepreneurs had a solid background in the soft skills– essential for employee, vendor, and customer relations. And they were most easily obtained through the Humanities Studies.
Still, others argued that fund-raising was the key, most notably by the VC’s who wanted to fund startups. They wanted entrepreneurial grads to know the elevator pitch, the business plan, and the business models.
The argument goes on and there’s still no consensus on what a degree in entrepreneurship should include or stress.
Besides, it’s not as if, right after you receive your degree, you have to go out and start a business right off. We have spoken professionally at more than 60 schools that teach entrepreneurship. Our business model, practices, and philosophies are often used as case studies in those schools. We are frequently asked, “What should I do when I graduate with my degree in entrepreneurship?” Our answer may surprise you. Our advice? “Go to work for another entrepreneur and witness firsthand what they are up against. Take your theoretical education and see how it applies in the real world. Take notes, lots and lots of notes. They will bode you well when you finally do start your own business.”
Online Entrepreneurship Degree
We prefer the physical classroom experience for several reasons. One is that your colleagues will be lifelong network partners. You will also have them as a sounding board for your ideas. If you are fortunate enough, you will see your colleagues actually start new businesses right before your eyes.
But if you decide to get your entrepreneurial degree online, we recommend that you sign up for a program that is associated with a real bricks-and-mortar institution. It adds a level of credibility and permanence. And they are less likely to take your money just because entrepreneurial degrees are trending now.
Further, whether you attend a university, or sign up for an online program, look for classes lead by experienced and successful entrepreneurs, not just business professors.
Sure, there’s a solid argument for getting started right away. Some successful entrepreneurs will tell you schooling is not required at all. Some are successful after dropping out of college and simply going it on their own. There’s evidence to support the argument that experience is education. But an education in entrepreneurship will give you a superior overview of business and provide you with invaluable tools to save you time and money! We advise folks, “Get your education, get your hands-on experience (working for an entrepreneur), then get your own company!