Benefits of a Graduate Degree for Entrepreneurs

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Becoming a successful entrepreneur can sometimes feel like a game of Russian Roulette. One person may give it a shot and skyrocket to success seemingly overnight.

Another may take the risk and struggle for months or years to get their business idea off the ground. But there is one thing all entrepreneurs have in common in that they all want to better themselves, learn new ways to confront challenges and develop the confidence it takes to make their dreams a reality.

There are plenty of business coaches, skill courses and even free resources to help you build entrepreneurial skills. One of the most valuable tools, however, is a graduate degree.

Committing yourself to professional study at a graduate level can not only grow your business, as it can help you realize your greatest potential and discover new skills and ideas you never imagined.

If you're thinking about returning to school for a master's degree, here are the benefits an entrepreneur can gain through graduate school. Before we hop into the list, let's answer two common questions potential students ask.

Which master's degrees are best for an entrepreneur?

A master's of business administration (MBA) is the top choice among business owners and entrepreneurs, but other disciplines can be equally valuable. A master's degree in marketing can help you learn everything you need to know to build a solid brand behind a business, manage clients and create strong advertising campaigns both on and offline.

Benefits of a Graduate Degree for Entrepreneurs_

A communications degree serves a similar role, and you can choose to specialize in an area of concentration like digital media or advertising. An accounting degree can help you gain complete control over your company's finances and help it grow more quickly through venture capital, cash flow management and financial planning.

Entrepreneurs in tech may decide to pursue a master's in software development or computer science to evolve their products. Someone who wants to take their coaching business to the next level might get their master's in psychology, sociology, education, nutrition or another applicable field related to their niche. 

The sky's the limit, and you should carefully consider how your education can shape your career. Think about where you are, where you'd like to go and what business pursuits really excite you, then work to find programs that align most closely with your ambitions. 

If this interests you, there are plenty of flexible study options for you to consider. For example, UTS allows you to study online psychology courses from the comfort of your home - helping you balance your entrepreneurial lifestyle whilst investing in your education.

Is a graduate degree worth the cost?

While it may be a hefty investment, there are major benefits to balance the cost of a graduate degree. For starters, those with a master's degree or higher level of education tend to earn more in their lifetime than those without. As a founder, you want to build your own source of income and be your own boss. That requires a flexible and expansive skill set that you can develop through a master's degree.

Costs vary by school and program, but they are all feasible with some financial assistance. By having private graduate student loans available, it makes paying for graduate degrees much more affordable. They contain a variety of options, principal balances and low interest rates that allow you to fund your future on a budget.

Is a graduate degree worth the cost

The potential to earn more is always exciting, but there are plenty of other benefits you stand to gain by earning your graduate degree. 

Build a diverse network of professional connections

No matter what degree path you choose, college is a phenomenal place to meet people and discover talent from all sorts of backgrounds. Even online students get to socialize with their peers and meet others through virtual meetups, in-person events and various clubs and discussion boards. Becoming part of an alumni network allows you to converse with different professionals and discover new opportunities.

You may even meet people who have skills your business needs and decide to work with them in the future. Many of the most successful startups today begin with a team that met through college. 

Improve your communication skills

Graduate students must refine their writing abilities and be comfortable giving presentations to groups of people. As a business owner, you have to be able to communicate with everyone from vendors to freelancers to customers.

There are many roles a business owner must fulfill, and each one requires a different communication style. Building strong written and verbal communication skills through your studies will equip you to handle any situation in your work.

Improve your communication skills

Become a better critical thinker

Critical thinking is a term that's often thrown around in job listings and heralded as fundamental, but many people don't even have a clear grasp on what it truly means. Being a critical thinker isn't just about being able to grasp complicated subjects or handle complex issues, though it does help you do both of those things. Critical thinking, at its core, is a person's ability to think abstractly

They can assess a situation, extract relevant details and use facts to engineer unique solutions. Through challenging coursework and various projects, graduate students become excellent critical thinkers. The skills you pick up in the classroom will carry you far beyond. 

Benefits of a graduate degree for entrepreneurs: develop resilience

Being resilient is important as an entrepreneur. There are many unexpected hardships and roadblocks that can cause a person with low resilience to throw in the towel. Business in today's highly visible, ultra-competitive marketplace requires tenacity and a willingness to persevere in the wake of failure. You may lose money, people could quit, a product could flop and you may have to start all over again; more than once.

Psychologists have a term that describes a person's ability to overcome challenges. It's called grit. Grit is more than being able to dust yourself off after a mild setback. Grit is what allows people who come from the most challenging backgrounds to overcome their circumstances. It's how people maintain positivity and remain optimistic in the face of seeming hopelessness. 

You can build grit by challenging yourself, working hard and the fulfillment that comes from achieving long-term goals . Because entrepreneurship is always a bit of a gamble, having such resilience backing your mindset will give you the strength and courage you need to always persist

Build essential soft skills

You may need a specific type of knowledge to deliver your products or services, but owning a business takes more than just technical ability. You also need a variety of soft skills like interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, analysis and creative problem-solving. 

Master's degrees aim to give students more than just a specialized knowledge in their chosen field. They help learners become more well-rounded, competent people who know how to apply their talents in a variety of settings. The self-awareness and motivation you can build during a graduate program can have transformative impacts on your business endeavors. 

Learn how to market your strengths

One of the biggest struggles entrepreneurs face is knowing how to market themselves. When you're in this line of work, being able to sell a product is only a small piece of the puzzle.

Whenever you come up with a business idea, you're learning how to market a part of your own skills by extension. If you don't know how to transform your abilities and ideas into actionable plans, then your business will fail to launch.

Through graduate school, especially programs in business and entrepreneurship, students unlock the formula to building businesses from ideas. They learn how to transform their passions into profitable products or services and assess how viable a venture really is. 

If you have an idea but don't know how to bring it to life, your master's program is the perfect place to build the skills you need. In addition to gaining confidence, you'll graduate knowing exactly what steps to take next in your entrepreneurial journey. 

Build trust with your target audience

The strongest brands today thrive because their audience has faith in them. They believe that their products will be good even before they hit the shelves. It's faith in the quality and company behind the design that have customers camping outside Apple stores for the new iPhone. While you might be a ways off from becoming the next Steve Jobs, the principle of trust still applies.

connecting with your audience

When you're just starting out, people will want to know why your business is the right choice. They won't just go with you on looks alone. Holding such a high credential immediately increases your credibility. It also allows you to create more detailed, relevant content that builds trust with potential consumers.

Ensure you stay in charge of your business

An entrepreneur who doesn't have a firm grasp on the legal, financial and technical operations of a company are more likely to be undermined and exploited. If you manage to secure venture capital but your stakeholders know ten times more than you, you could wind up inadvertently handing over the majority of your profit.

Being a business owner requires in-depth knowledge and cross-over skills. The more you know about marketing, finances and business planning, the less you have to rely on others' input to make the right choices.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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