There are always different opinions when it comes to this question: Is a business degree really necessary to run a business?

I think many people can agree that individuals do create and run successful businesses without a business degree (I’m one of them!) However, I’ve often wondered if a business degree would have made me even more successful or more ready to take on the responsibilities of running a business. If you’ve wondered the same thing, here are some points to consider.

The Expense

It’s no secret that getting an MBA can be incredibly expensive. So, if you’re not independently wealthy and need to take out loans to start your business, this is a cost many people have to consider. You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide if there are specific classes, professors, or connections that will enable you to earn more or start your business even       faster or with better direction.

For many entrepreneurs, this will not be a necessary expense to start a business on their own, but what if you want to join an already established business? If that’s the case, you might need to consider an MBA.

What Employers Want                     

Of course, not everyone who has an interest in business wants to actually be their own boss (gasp!) Some people act as entrepreneurs within larger companies, creating ideas and strategic partnerships that can catapult their companies to the next level.

So, for those people who are looking to enter the higher executive levels of already established companies and eventually run them someday, it will be challenging to enter those higher levels without a business degree unless you have a specific level of experience or the right connections to get you there.

Niche Skills

Sometimes, you can learn business practices on the job. Other times, if you want to start a business or join a business that requires niche skills, you’ll need specific training in that area.

So, for example, if you want to be an accountant, you’ll need some specific finance training. If you want to be a certified financial planner, you need to pass an exam and get hours of qualifying experiences. These are the types of careers or businesses where you might want to consider getting a business degree to make sure you’re aware of all the intricacies of that business and have all of the certifications required to do your job well.

Ultimately, the decision whether or not to get a business degree is up to the individual and really depends on their goals, their carrier track, and what they hope to achieve. For many people who want to start their own businesses and be entrepreneurs, you will just need a certain amount of common sense, motivation, and grit to create a thriving business.

For other people who want to join larger companies or be in a niche filed, a business degree may be required. Either way, if you’re trying to decide whether or not to go to business school, carefully consider the return on investment and what your goals are in the future. This will help you decide which path to choose.


Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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