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Do You Need Formal Business Education to Succeed as an Entrepreneur?


If you’re thinking about starting a business one day you might be wondering if you’ve really got what it takes. One of the common questions that come up is: do you need an educational background in business to make it a success? The simple answer is no. There are certainly examples of people who leave school with few qualifications and end up as millionaires.

Here we’ll go into the benefits of traditional education for a future in business and the benefits of skipping university and heading straight towards it.

Benefits of business education

Whether it’s a simple business admin course or an MBA, there are plenty of benefits to learning about the business world before taking the plunge into it yourself.

Expands your network

While on a business course, one of the benefits is that you’re meeting like-minded people. This is a great opportunity to learn from others or even meet your future business partner.

Learn what others do from mistakes

In business, you’re going to make mistakes. However, learning about business plans, marketing strategy and financial management will hopefully mean you’ll make fewer than newbie entrepreneurs will make. Those who are self-taught might be at a disadvantage.

Get into the habit of learning

If you’ve already got a solid foundation of education behind you, you might be more inclined to try out new courses to develop your skills further. This could then benefit your business by improving your skills. On the other hand, some might feel that their business course or MBA is enough and be less likely to feel they need more training. So this could work either way.

Benefits to jumping straight into business

While education can certainly help, some entrepreneurs swear by real world experience over qualifications.

Get ahead

One of the benefits of going straight into the world of work and business is that you’re learning and experiencing things quicker than people who are sitting at desks. Getting real world experience can teach like nothing else as you have to learn to solve problems and mistakes with real consequences and risk. This gives you a head start and more time to work on developing your business.

Invest in a business rather than a qualification

Education is expensive business, especially if you go into post-graduate education for an MBA. MBAs can end up costing £10,000 – £15,000 plus any other university education you get before that. Many people find that their money is best placed in starting a business rather than learning about one and funding a student lifestyle too.

Either option may be right for you and will depend on your own strengths and circumstances. There are pros and cons to both. What’s most important in both cases is drive and a desire to put the work in to succeed.


Would you recommend formal business education? Or do you believe in experience over education? Let us know what you think.

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