Do I Need a Business Degree?

business degree

Do I need a business degree to be successful in business?

The short answer is no, you don’t.

Some people simply have the right experience and the right relationships to build a great foundation for a successful enterprise.

However, everyone does not fall into that category.  As a matter of fact, Forbes Magazine contributing writer, Eric Wagner writes “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.  A whopping 80% crash and burn”.

Simply put, having great connections and good experience doesn’t guarantee you a six-figure income next tax season.  So while you may not need a business degree to be successful, you can certainly get a lot further with one.

Why is a business degree so important if it doesn’t guarantee business success?

I’m glad you asked.

First, a business degree combines formal academia with practicality.  In short, theory is proven by experience.  Some people are naturally talented with experience but lack the ability to articulate the tools they used to produce consistent results.  With a business degree, you would not only know how to best utilize a tool but also understand the wealth of tools you have at your disposal to be successful.

Do you know how to modify your conversation to influence immediate action versus present data for a long-term decision?  What are the factors influencing successful marketing to a Hispanic population with the age demographics of 25-34 versus marketing to African Americans with the same metrics?

Your education helps you identify various techniques.  Your experience validates what works.  Combine both and you find yourself being a very useful person in the room.

Secondly, pursuing a business degree immediately places you in a network of like minds.  Everyone in a small group project, your class, and your program is potentially a vital relationship in your network.

President and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Madeline Bell expresses…

You will likely get a job through who you know rather than through your education or work experience. These days, it’s not enough to keep your head down and produce A-plus work. You need to connect with others…

This statement is coming from a woman who manages 13,000 employees for a $2 billion health system.  Networking matters and pursuing your business degree surrounds you with plenty of individuals who could benefit from knowing you and vice versa.

Moreover, there is the added value of your instructors.  They are teaching you the concepts, measuring your results, and challenging you to be better.  Who is better to network with than your instructor?

They know the market.  They know the trends.  They know you.  They know where you excel and where you fall short.  They are personally and professionally invested in your success.  Where else do you get such a rich environment of networking than in a business degree program?

Again, you don’t need a business degree to be successful.  However, you increase your chances of success with one.  With a business degree, you combine theory and experience to show what works.  After all, everyone has an opinion but not everyone’s opinion is trusted.

So be one of the people in the room whose opinion is trusted.