“What if you just started your own organization?”
I laughed when my friend mentioned this idea. I graduated in communication with an emphasis in journalism. I took several management classes, but other than that I knew nothing about running a business. I told him that I’d probably have to go back to school for an MBA, and that probably wasn’t something I was ready for.
I started looking more into what it really takes to run my own business. Starting up a business isn’t just a side hobby anyone can pick up. Choosing to run a business isn’t like choosing to learn the cello. It takes a great deal of commitment, wisdom, networking and trial and error.
So of course, the point of this piece isn’t to argue that a college degree is useless when it comes to entrepreneurship. A degree that helps give you experience, networking opportunities and practice will do nothing but help you toward your goals. What I’m saying is it isn’t completely necessary, so you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t have a business degree and you don’t see one in your future.
Looking back at my education, I realized that most of my learning came from real-world experience, not the classroom setting. I learned how to interview people when I travelled outside of my campus and talked to real people and got their stories. I learned how to find freelance jobs when I went out and looked for clients, not just when my professor had us write up a mock freelance application.
I learned how to deal with conflict as a manager when I was the manager of a news organization and ran into the conflict on a daily basis, not just when we role played in my conflict negotiation class.
What a degree gives you is practice. But you don’t need a degree to give you experience in your field. The great thing about an education is it gives you a safe space to fail. When you pursue a business degree, you practice with case studies and simulations. Going straight into the field is like jumping on a bike for the first time with no training wheels. It’s not impossible, just a little scarier.
As you start up a business, you can’t be afraid of failure. Be willing to fail, and always be willing to get back up again. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, either. You’d be surprised how easy networking can be in this day and age if you take the first step in reaching out. And of course, don’t ever take the pursuance of a degree off the table. It will just get you a little closer to your dream.
by: Emily Brady
Emily Brady received her Bachelors at Brigham Young University Idaho where she majored in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism and professional management. She has written for Scroll News and Deseret Digital Media and is currently a freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and swinging in her hammock.