An entrepreneurship degree allows graduates to work in multiple sectors. Students who want to work as entrepreneurs must possess a balanced mix of ingenuity, creativity, leadership, and a willingness to make risky decisions. Some individuals know what type of business they want to start and do so directly after completing a degree; others want to study under successful business leaders before launching an initiative of their own.
Skills Gained in an Entrepreneurship Program
While being an entrepreneur can be a risky proposition, entrepreneurship degrees help students prepare for what's to come by providing insightful coursework taught by experienced faculty. As they progress, students build skills and competencies in the areas of business, finance, marketing, sales, and strategic planning that directly help them in the real world. Some programs also allow learners to intern under a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs must come up with great business ideas, but need to possess leadership skills to hire employees or freelancers to get their idea off the ground. They must know how to articulate their vision, hire appropriately experienced staff, and communicate the work that needs to be done.
To take a step into the unknown — even with a great business plan — is not for the faint of heart, which is why the majority of people do not own their own businesses. They must be able to understand their market, complete research, and make an educated guess about their chances of success.
When just starting out, a lot of entrepreneurs work in less-than-glamorous situations. Whether working out of a home office or garage, they often must possess the creativity needed to build a business with little capital at their disposal.
- Work Ethic
Getting a business off the ground doesn't just require risk: It also requires someone willing to work incredibly long and hard hours.
Entrepreneurs communicate with a variety of people, including investors, stakeholders, clients, employees, and freelancers. In one moment they may act as a salesperson for the business when wooing potential customers, while the next they might be calling an investor to update projected growth.
Why Pursue a Career in Entrepreneurship?
Pursuing career opportunities in entrepreneurship, while at times risky and stressful, also can provide incredible payoffs for individuals who create a successful business. Aside from setting their own hours and working in an industry they find interesting and enjoyable, entrepreneurs also hold the power the ability to grow their companies and their incomes. They can look at expanding their business into different areas of their chosen industry if they want to diversify options. They also hold the power to sell their business or start a new one.
Entrepreneurship careers also appeal to degree seekers who enjoy the process of lifelong learning. Because entrepreneurs must understand every function of their business in order to find success, opportunities to participate in continuing education are plentiful.
How Much Do Entrepreneurship Majors Make?
Income for entrepreneurs varies based on a number of factors. In addition to the industry in which they choose to work, experience and job title also play key roles. Location also matters, as individuals in cities like San Francisco may make more than someone in Birmingham, but their cost of living will be substantially higher. Level of degree should also receive consideration, as studies continually show that those with advanced degrees earn more than their counterparts with four or fewer years of higher education. Check out the table below to get a sense of salaries for a few sample careers.
|Job Title||Entry Level (0-12 Months)||Early Career (1-4 Years)||Midcareer (5-9 Years)||Experienced (10-19 Years)|
|Chief Executive Officer (CEO)||$101,000||$114,000||$140,000||$165,000|
How to Succeed in Entrepreneurship
Because entrepreneurship exists as a largely self-propelled industry, educational requirements tend to vary by industry . Some may need only an associate degree, while others may be best served by a doctoral education. Related jobs, such as financial analyst and business manager, have their own educational requirements, so individuals looking to gain experience and knowledge in a company setting before creating their own business must meet them. Best Colleges's pages on associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in entrepreneurship feature additional information about each.
Entrepreneurship careers exist as parts of other industries rather than a field unto itself, which means experience requirements vary by the type of business an individual is entering. For instance, someone starting a writing business may not need an English degree to open the company, but clients in that industry will expect certain expertise and experience to forge a business relationship with that company. In the same way, a client will want to see that anyone they hire possesses relevant experience. This can be gained through internships, apprenticeships, or working for others before striking out on your own.
Licensure and Certification
As discussed previously, individuals who want to call themselves entrepreneurs do not need licensure or certification, but their industry may require such a credential. Whether required or not, completing a certification can signal to potential clients your deep understanding of the discipline and commitment to continuing education.
Certified Management Consultant (CMC)
The Institute of Management Consultants provides three levels of certification: basic, experienced, and management. Individuals must possess 3-20 years of managerial consulting experience, depending on the certification. They must participate in client evaluations and a peer-reviewed oral examination.
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Held by more than 150,000 financial professionals across the globe, the CFA Institute's CFA certificate offers a self-study program that includes three levels of examinations. Applicants must possess at least four years of full-time work experience within the investment decision-making arena.
Concentrations Available to Entrepreneurship Majors
Entrepreneurship majors, unspecific in discipline by nature, are principally focused on giving students the business management and innovation skills required in any startup. That being said, some programs offer concentrations for students hoping to work in particular industries. The concentrations highlighted in this section represent just a glimpse of availability; students should check with individual schools to learn about specific offerings. Learners at institutions without concentrations may consider minoring in the relevant industry/field that most closely relates to the type of business they hope to start.
- Small Businesses: Students in this specialization know they want to join the millions of other small businesses that help define this country. They learn about bootstrapping, scaling the business, due diligence, understanding their primary market, and creating a sustainable business plan.
- Retail: This niche concentration focuses on giving students specialized knowledge necessary for manufacturing, marketing, and distributing goods to retailers. Individuals gain skills in areas of supply chain management, understanding client needs, accounting, and managing international trade.
- Hospitality: A great fit for learners seeking to start their own restaurant, bed and breakfast, or other public space for hosting, this concentration teaches skills in investor management, leadership, operations, understanding real estate, looking to take their business ideas across the U.S. border. Degree seekers gain skills in areas of global business, corporate finance, cross-cultural team building, global competition, and distribution and channel management.
What Can You Do With an Entrepreneurship Degree?
By completing an entrepreneurship degree, graduates open themselves up to career opportunities. Those who plan to open a business within a specific industry should follow the educational requirements of that particular discipline. For instance, someone wanting to open a financial analysis firm does not require a specific credential, but to gain work experience at a financial management firm, you must hold at minimum a bachelor's degree. Fortunately, entrepreneurship degrees exist at every level to ensure students can gain the education required to complete for any job to which they aspire.
Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship
Completing an entrepreneurship degree at the associate level allows students to get an inkling of what the field entails. In combination with general education courses, learners cover foundational topics such as financial management and business principles. This path offers a great fit for students who think they want to pursue this career but want to be sure before committing to a four-year program. Those who want to gain professional experience before starting their own venture can apply to support and assistant roles after graduating. Associate degrees in entrepreneurship require two years of full-time study and cover approximately 60 credits. Check out Best Colleges's guides on associate in entrepreneurship programs and top online associate in entrepreneurship programs.
- Real Estate Broker
Real estate brokers and sales agents work with clients to help them buy or sell residential, commercial, and industrial spaces. They consult on market prices, stay up to date on market conditions, host open houses, negotiate prices, and present offers between buyers and sellers.
- Sales Representative
Working specifically for manufacturers or wholesale companies, these professionals sell their clients' products to other businesses and clients. They identify customers, create sales materials, highlight product features, answer questions, negotiate bulk sales prices, create contracts, and arrange shipping.
- Advertising Agent
These individuals spend their days selling advertising space to clients in newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television shows, movies, and other forms of media that use advertising. They provide estimates, create contracts, and set advertisement run dates.
Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship
Bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship serve as the perfect academic vehicle to a number of entry-level roles in business, finance, marketing, sales, and human resources. They also provide the entrepreneurial skills needed to start a company, provided you possess enough knowledge about the field in which you want to start the business. Bachelor's degrees provide more opportunities for the in-depth study of a wider spectrum of topics. Students spend four years in these programs, completing approximately 120 credits. Best Colleges offers insightful guides on the ins and outs of entrepreneurship degree programs as well as a ranking of the top online entrepreneurship degree programs.
- Financial Analyst
Financial analysts work with individuals and companies looking to make sound financial plans. They create portfolios of investment recommendations, study past and current financial information, understand business and market trends, and create reports about their findings.
- Financial Manager
These professionals monitor and manage the financial health of organizations. They create financial activity reports, develop income forecasts, manage other employees in the department, look for ways of reducing costs and maximizing income, keep up with market trends, and provide relevant information to company decision makers.
- Personal Financial Advisor
Whether working for a financial advising company or on their own with a portfolio of clients, these individuals help customers make better financial decisions for the present and future. They discuss financial goals, teach clients about investing, recommend portfolios, monitor account changes, and help with specific savings plans.
- Marketing Manager
Marketing managers help companies raise their profile and compete within the market. They create promotional and advertising campaigns, oversee branding initiatives, develop and monitor budgets, lead others in the department, negotiate contracts and spending terms, develop marketing guidelines, and consult with senior-level staff about strategic goals.
- Public Relations and Fundraising Manager
Professionals in these roles help enhance the persona of their company and raise money for specific initiatives. They create press releases and liaise with the media, develop and execute events, act as spokespeople, teach senior staff how to interact with reporters, design promotional campaigns, and oversee other departmental staff.
Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship
Earning a master's degree in entrepreneurship qualifies graduates to work as experts in the field. Some individuals may decide to work as consultants, offering advice and guidance to fledgling entrepreneurs as they create their businesses. Others may find that they want to take the helm of a startup and create a new business in their portfolio. Regardless, these programs offer the opportunity to gain nuanced skills in particular areas of the entrepreneurship discipline. Most programs last between one and three years. In addition to general entrepreneurship programs, some schools also offer MBAs with an entrepreneurial focus. Students interested in learning more can review master's in entrepreneurship degree programs and MBA in entrepreneurship programs pages from Best Colleges.
- Postsecondary Education Administrator
A great fit for individuals who want to work within higher education settings but do not possess a doctoral degree. Responsibilities include overseeing admissions, faculty, academics, and/or students services, managing other staff members, and setting budgets.
Accountants assist in preparing tax returns, ensuring proper accounting, maintaining financial records, setting best practices, finding ways of reducing costs, and creating new streams of revenue for the companies or clients they work for.
- Management Analyst
Also known as management consultants, these professionals work to improve efficiency and effectiveness for their clients. They study company culture, interview staff, analyze organizational data, make recommendations, and present their findings to relevant stakeholders.
- Survey Researcher
Survey researchers seek answers to questions that companies may have about brand, products, or other aspects of the business for their clients, designing surveys, conducting tests, collating information, and presenting findings.
- Budget Analyst
Budget analysts work with corporations, governments, and nonprofits to help improve financial management. They create budgets, review budget proposals, make requests about spending and revenue, and monitor spending throughout the financial calendar year.
Doctoral Degree in Entrepreneurship
Students who pursue a doctoral degree in entrepreneurship know they want to work at the top level of the field and earn the best wages possible. Entrepreneurship degrees at this level take between three and six years, depending on whether learners enroll on a full- or part-time basis and how long they spend researching and writing a dissertation. These programs give students advanced skills and tools needed to work as expert researchers, teachers, or business leaders.
Individuals who pursue this degree may possess skills needed to successfully own and run a business; they desire these credentials to help them stand out and differentiate themselves from others in similar roles. Best Colleges provides rankings and guides on the best doctorate in human resources programs and the top online doctorate in human resources programs for degree seekers who want to learn more about a similar subject area.
- Entrepreneurship Professor
Entrepreneurship professors work at colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of business owners. They provide classroom lectures, set assignments and exams, counsel students on their plans of study, provide letters of recommendation, and present findings at academic conferences.
Researchers conduct interviews, collect and analyze data, liaise with other thought leaders in the field, and present their findings to stakeholders, clients, and other researchers at symposiums.
- Chief Executive Officer
These individuals lead companies from the top, providing strategic planning, management, and oversight of other employers. They consult with staff on matters of marketing, sales, client generation, finance, human resources, and accounting. They may also work with a board of directors.
What Industries Can You Work in With an Entrepreneurship Degree?
Given that entrepreneurs can exist in nearly every industry imaginable, it stands to reason that options for meaningful work are endless. Regardless of the type of business an entrepreneur wants to start, resources and customers exist to help their dreams come to reality. The following section takes a look at a few common industries, but is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
Individuals in these industries sit at the helm of their companies, providing the executive leadership required of CEOs and other senior-level staff.
- Management Consulting
Management consultants work alongside companies to improve managerial capacity and teach leaders how to help the company thrive during times of growth and change.
- Financial Services
Common roles in this industry for graduates of entrepreneurship programs include financial planner, financial consultant, and financial analyst. They may also work in retirement planning or investments.
- Computer and Information Technology
Entrepreneurs working in the tech industry possess a great opportunity to make their mark in this ever evolving and ever growing space. They frequently create start-ups.
- Scientific Research and Development
Those with an eye towards academia and/or research often gravitate towards this industry, which focuses on ways of progressing the discipline forward through new findings.
How Do You Find a Job as an Entrepreneurship Graduate?
Even though entrepreneurship degrees qualify graduates to take on positions in many different fields, they still need to adequately prepare for the job market. Even while still in school, learners should work on building their interview skills and perfecting their resume by taking advantage of career services programs offered at their school. They may also decide to specialize their knowledge by pursuing a specialization.
Students about to graduate should also start networking in preparation for their job search. In addition to local resources, graduates can check out the Entrepreneurs' Organization, Young Entrepreneur Council, and the Social Enterprise Alliance for opportunities.
In terms of which industries to seek employment in, the majority of graduates work in areas of finance, sales, business leadership, marketing, and public relations.
Professional Resources for Entrepreneurship Majors
SG supports more than two million entrepreneurs in 125 countries by providing global conferences, tons of events, online and in-person community groups, startup resources, city-wide and university chapters, women's events, a jobs board, and in-house publications.
Created in 1985, this nonprofit organization seeks to support businesses that no longer qualify as startups but have yet to reach maturity. The group provides several initiatives, including leader retreats, CEO roundtables, the System for Integrated Growth (SIG), and a program known as economic gardening.
In business for more than 60 years, Vistage serves approximately 23,000 members by providing a robust peer community that provides impartial advice, experience, executive coaching, sounding boards, subject matter expertise, and a global network of C-Suite leaders providing valuable business tools.
YPO exists to help young entrepreneurs and business leaders gain the skills, confidence, and knowledge needed to step into these multifaceted roles. Featuring regional groups and chapters, the group provides leadership training, events, networking opportunities, and a regularly updated blog.
USASBE serves entrepreneurs all over the country by providing industry research, continuing education programs, the Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy Journal, an annual conference, a job board for finding employees, a podcast, and the USASBE Teaching and Learning Scholars Program.
With a focus on social entrepreneurship, ASHOKA looks to support and advocate for change makers across the globe. The group provides a community of 250 organizations, events throughout the U.S. and the world, enterprise resources, and stories of individuals making a real difference in their communities.
TEC serves members by providing pitch presentations, annual conferences, visiting investors, blogs, corporate members and partners, opportunities for collaboration and networking, and a regularly updated blog.
This piece on Forbes gives individuals considering this path an insider's look at what a typical day may entail. Remember that no two entrepreneurs have the exact same days, but it can help get students into the mindset.
This article provides actionable, practical tips for students who want to get their business ideas off the ground in between classes. It also gives students some questions to think about before taking the leap.
Information provided in this insightful Entrepreneurship.com article helps ground students and recent graduates as they start out on their entrepreneurial journey and provides inspiring insight for those who stay the course.