Business Education: Is College Worth it?
Is college worth it for an entrepreneur? In the age of information, there’s a mixed review about higher education and its impact on someone’s career. Let’s hear about it from the entrepreneur’s perspective. Read on.
When asked the question, “Is college worth it?”, most entrepreneurs would say yes with reservations. The consensus is that college is extremely useful in building foundational knowledge. However, it doesn’t guarantee success in the business field or career for that matter.
Entrepreneurship, in particular, is an unconventional career. The type of education you need will depend on the industry you’re selling in. And of course, the goals you have as an entrepreneur should be considered.
As Hernan Sias, founder of Business Bros, would put it, “When you realize what you want in life and you have that goal in you, that’s when education becomes powerful.”
But what type of education should you invest in as an entrepreneur? And how do you set the goals? Let’s learn from the stories of the Startup Hustle cast. Is college worth it for them?
Why go to college?
People go to college for different reasons. Some go because it’s what is expected of them, while some because it’s part of their dreams.
Kyle Steppe of KC Hemp Co. went the traditional college route, getting his Psychology degree from Kansas State University. “I was a fourth-generation Wildcat. My family was rooted in K State, that’s why I went,” he said.
Mixtape founder Joel Johnson also got his degrees in Architecture and Graphic Design. While Marknology CEO Andrew Morgan took a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. They went on to pursue careers related to their finished degrees before becoming full-time entrepreneurs.
But on to the less conventional stories. Heather Steppe of KC Hemp Co. took a different path from what she studied in college.
“I originally went to school for Cosmetology. My entire life goal was to do hair. I worked in the industry since I was 16. I knew that’s how I wanted to proceed, to express my artistic passion and desires. That’s what I saw myself doing. When the opportunity came to us to do cannabis, that calling was pretty strong,” shared Heather. She now pursues a passion for the Hemp industry, with the desire to educate each person about the alternative use of CBD.
Matt DeCoursey, founder of Full Scale and Startup Hustle, famously went and dropped out of five colleges. However, he’s pretty much earned a doctorate in the school of hard knocks. The business world became his biggest teacher in the entrepreneurship journey.
Education and Entrepreneurship
To a certain degree, higher education matters in career building. It provides the foundation to reach your goals. However, you must be strategic about it to fully maximize its benefits.
Nowadays, higher education has become less and less appealing to the masses. With students drowning in student loan debt even before they graduate, it’s no longer the most “practical” option.
The average American debt tops $37,500. And It’s not unheard of that a fresh graduate spends their first few years in the job market paying off debt instead of earning.
Employers value higher education. The Association of American Colleges and Universities reports employers are especially fond of Liberal Arts. And as an entrepreneur, you often have to apply for jobs to build up capital. That’s where education comes in handy.
Useful College Courses
From an entrepreneur’s point of view, most of the skills needed for business are learned from the daily grind. Experience is the best teacher. It’s invaluable that it teaches you how the business game is played and helps you discover how you can win in it.
“75% of my classes—though they were part of my formal education and were required to get a degree, they had no application in my day-to-day life as a designer,” said Joel.
Matt also shares the same sentiments, “[In] Economics classes, I did so many things with Greek symbols like Mu and Sigma. I’ve owned businesses and generated millions of dollars through those businesses in the last decade and never once have I used those Greek symbols.”
It’s safe to say that the school of hard knocks provides more than enough skills to survive the dog-eat-dog world of entrepreneurship.
“Most of what you need could probably end about 8th grade. [You’d have] the core things you need to know to function in the world,” says Hernan.
However, these points don’t necessarily dismiss the value education has to offer. Andrew considers his technical learnings to be helpful as a business owner.
“In my Technical Writing class, I learned to write manuals. I’m not using that level of tech writing but it’s hard not to see that it helped in some ways,” he shares.
So, is college worth it?
For the most part, yes. You just have to be smart about it. Go beyond the curriculum and supplement your studies with experience and other learning sources. Today, there are plenty of learning materials available.
You can opt for Trade schools, certificate programs, or the ever-so-popular Youtube University. Startup Hustle has tons of videos about how to become a better CEO.
Matt explains, “There’s a lot of business courses and classes that bit by bit gives you the foundational elements you need to have to be an entrepreneur. But when it comes to entrepreneurship, so much of it is getting on the horse and riding it, and seeing how long you can stay on top of it.”
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