There are many different paths entrepreneurs take when it comes to education. Some entrepreneurs have received formal education through undergraduate and graduate school; some have entered business ownership without any related education at all, gathering experience in the trenches. Despite the common cultural perception that academia tends to be out-of-step with entrepreneurial innovation, there really isn’t a right or wrong path. Instead it’s a matter of what is best for your individual situation.
For those entrepreneurs who have chosen the formal education route, why are they doing it, and would going back to school help you to further your own business prospects? Consider these four common reasons entrepreneurs go back to school as you make your decision about what level of education best fits your entrepreneurial endeavors.
4 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Go Back to School
Staying Current with Industry Changes
Business administration, marketing, and other entrepreneurial education programs must stay on top of the latest technology and industry-related happenings in order to provide a successful and well-rounded program. This is why enrolling in a program at an accredited educational institution can help you stay current with news and trends. Most quality programs include hands-on exercises and programs that can help you experience industry landscape changes firsthand, making the knowledge immediately transferable to your business.
Adding a New Dimension to Your Experience
Most entrepreneurs have skills in a wide range of areas because they are often accustomed to wearing many hats and taking care of business tasks on their own. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have gaps in your knowledge and experience, though. Going back to school allows you to fill any voids in knowledge, experience, and skills that may be holding you back from reaching your goals.
Providing a Chance to Pivot in Your Career
The more you know, the more options you will have available to you; this is true in any type of career. As an entrepreneur, having a broad range of skills and experience can give you an “in” when you’re looking to enter a new market, can help you successfully pitch ideas to partners and investors, and can even give you the option to change paths entirely if you ever decide to close your doors and go back to working for someone else.
Accessing New Networking Opportunities
Furthering your education can also further your list of connections, and having a large contact list is invaluable for entrepreneurs. Networking with classmates, professors, university staff, guest speakers, and others involved in the program can provide out-of-class learning opportunities that opens up the possibility for future partnerships and collaboration.
Keep in mind that going back to school doesn’t necessarily have to mean enrolling in a two- to four-year higher education program. You can get some of the same value from participating in more targeted online courses from sites like Coursera, enrolling in a one-off course in a relevant area being offered at a local university, or taking a courses provided by the Small Business Administration.