What Degree Should I Get if I Want to Start My Own Business?

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Do you want to start your own business but aren’t sure where to begin? Getting a degree is a great first step. While there isn't only one path to helping you pursue your dreams, a degree will teach you the hard and soft skills necessary to set yourself up to be a successful entrepreneur. 

How Will an Undergraduate Degree Help You?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50% of business owners have a bachelor’s degree. Attending university will help you network with educators and students, practice critical-thinking skills, and become familiar with how businesses operate. You’ll also acquire the following skills:

  • Time management
  • Public speaking
  • Research
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Organization

A bachelor’s degree can also help you earn higher wages. According to the 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bachelor’s degree holders earned a median weekly income of $1,334. Associate degree holders earned $963, and high school diploma holders earned $809. The unemployment rate also decreases significantly with higher levels of education.

How Will an Undergraduate Degree Help Your Business?

Per the BLS, approximately 20% of new businesses fail during their first year, and about 50% fail in their fifth year. However, the skills and knowledge obtained in an undergraduate degree can help ensure more stability in your business. While pursuing an undergraduate degree, you’ll learn how to plan strategically, make financially wise decisions, and evaluate internal and external factors, all of which are highly applicable in day-to-day life and the business world.

While various degrees provide business insight, a bachelor’s degree in business administration best equips future entrepreneurs to start a business.

What Do You Get From A Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, business was the most common bachelor’s degree in the U.S. in 2019-20. Many students choose to major in business because its content can be applied to almost every field. Most importantly, entrepreneurs can benefit from this bachelor’s program’s informative courses and networking opportunities.

Business-Oriented Courses

Students participate in courses ranging from finance and accounting to management, economics, marketing, and everything in between. These courses teach how to hire, manage, and lead employees efficiently. Students also learn how to manage a company’s properties and finances and business ethics, as well as the importance of information technology.

Networking Opportunities

From law and human resources to graphic design, students are able to network with experts across various fields. These connections are provided by the university’s business school, which bridges communication between students and faculty, alumni, and local companies. Students will have a supportive and driven network by the time they graduate, preparing them for their first entrepreneurial steps.

But what if you already have a bachelor’s degree? A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is your next step.

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What Do You Get From A Master of Business Administration?

A bachelor’s degree in business administration is not a prerequisite for an MBA, as anyone with any bachelor’s degree can enter an MBA program. This graduate degree provides students with advanced knowledge of business operations including accounting, economics, supply chain management, and leadership skills. Students also engage in application exercises, field experience, and projects.

An MBA offers graduates more job opportunities, stronger professional networks, and higher salaries. Master’s degree holders earned a median weekly income of $1,574 (compared to bachelor’s degree holders who earned a median weekly income of $1,334). Additionally, a survey conducted by Relish reported that 11,000 MBA graduates saw a salary jump of $36,742 from 2009 to 2018.

In 2021, the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council surveyed 4,658 graduate business school alumni. About 90% said that their graduate degree improved their personal, professional, and financial situations. Around 63% of survey respondents also reported their graduate degree increased their job security.

California is home to 41 schools with accredited MBA programs. Learn how an MBA will aid your entrepreneurial goals here.

What Types of MBA Programs are Available?

Whether you’ve recently graduated from college or are an experienced business professional, there’s an MBA program for you. Universities offer different MBA programs tailored to the various schedules and goals of students. Below are four popular MBA program options.

Two-Year, Full-Time MBA

The most common MBA program is a two-year, full-time MBA. In this program, students complete general core requirements their first year, followed by a summer internship; students typically connect with this employer through their university’s business school. In their second year, students focus on elective courses and business-oriented disciplines.

According to MBA.com, “[60%] of global applicants to two-year programs have three or more years [of] work experience.” However, when students enter this full-time program, they’re advised to focus solely on their MBA. This can be challenging to balance if they’re already in the workforce and don’t want to pause their career.

This program is for entrepreneurs who:

  • Want hands-on experience in other businesses before starting their own.
  • Yearn for a full MBA curriculum.
  • Thrive in the classroom setting.
  • Can be financially supported while pursuing this two-year degree.

One-Year, Full-Time MBA

Students with more professional experience enter one-year, full-time MBA programs more often than two-year programs. According to Fortune Education, the average one-year MBA student at the University of Pittsburgh entered the program with six to eight years of work experience. Students who enter this program are usually looking to strengthen their present leadership skills and learn more about a certain concentration.

Notably, a one-year, full-time MBA requires fewer semesters’ worth of tuition. Instead of taking a full two-year curriculum, students can skip some core courses and the internship to dive into business-oriented disciplines for a year. After graduating from this program, it’s common for students to return to their own businesses, rather than enter somewhere new.

This program is for entrepreneurs who:

  • Have already started a business, want to further its success, and can temporarily step away from it.
  • Are familiar with the workforce but want to learn more about certain business-oriented disciplines.
  • Thrive in the classroom setting.
  • Can be financially supported during this one-year degree.

Part-Time MBA

If you want to learn more about business but don’t want to put your career on hold, consider applying for a part-time program. This year-round program schedules classes outside of business hours and lets students choose how many classes they take each semester. Similar to full-time MBA programs, part-time MBA program classrooms provide ample networking opportunities where students collaborate with other business professionals: their classmates.

While this program offers more flexibility, it may take more time to complete. The average part-time MBA student finishes their program in about two-and-a-half to three years. A part-time program can also be more expensive than a full-time program because students tend to pay per credit.

This program is for entrepreneurs who:

  • Want to learn while simultaneously growing their business.
  • Want flexibility with their curriculum and academic timeline.
  • Are self-disciplined.

Online MBA

An online MBA program is a part-time program that can be taken from nearly any location.  No matter where you may want to start a business, you’ll have access to recorded lectures, assignments, and exams. Many online MBA programs can take three to four years to complete, while some institutions offer accelerated one- and two-year online programs. Core courses, electives, and concentrations that are offered in person can be found in online MBA programs.

This program is for entrepreneurs who:

  • Want to learn while simultaneously growing their business.
  • Want flexibility with their curriculum and academic timeline.
  • Want to attend a program other than where they live.
  • Are self-disciplined.
  • Have access to reliable technology.

Get Your Degree at PLNU

If you plan to start your own business, take a look at Point Loma Nazarene University’s Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program or our Bachelor of Business Administration program

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration can also select a concentration in entrepreneurship. Tailored for future business starters, this San Diego business school equips students with the necessary tools and connections to make their first entrepreneurial steps.

Already have a bachelor’s degree? This San Diego-based university also offers Daytime MBA and Evening MBA programs!

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