You’d be hard pressed to find a university or community college that offered degree programs in entrepreneurship. Most of the courses that help build and reinforce those kinds of skills are scattered among business, engineering, and liberal arts curricula. If you’re an entrepreneur, or dream of being one, do you have an academic plan for finding the most fitting courses and degree programs? Here’s a quick look at what you should be doing is you are thinking about heading back to school to sharpen your entrepreneurial skills. Taking a new company from square one to financial success is about more than just having an idea and a few angel investors. You need the know-how, the hard skills, and solid educational background to make those dreams happen. Here’s how to get started.

Earn an Associates

You don’t need to spend four years laboring away in order to obtain the necessary tools to succeed as an entrepreneur. You can attend a local community college or simply go online and find an associate’s program, or a certificate course of study, that hones in on subjects like accounting, marketing, management, statistics, and more. Many schools will give you credit for classes you’ve already taken elsewhere, even many years prior. If you do opt for this route, attempt to find a subject area in which you currently lack skills. That way, you’ll be complementing your existing skill set and broadening your horizons. One huge advantage of certificate and associate programs is the low cost compared to four-year programs. Weight the advantages and disadvantages for yourself before deciding.

Get a Business, Finance, or Marketing Degree

Sometimes the old reliable techniques are the best way to go. Studying general business subjects while majoring in fields like finance, marketing, accounting, or statistics can do wonders for your overall knowledge of the marketplace. There’s a reason so many students select these kinds of majors; the coursework delivers real-world knowledge and skills that you can put into use the day you graduate. Check into online options as well as local, classroom-based programs that offer night courses so you can run your business on a regular schedule while learning.

Research Your Funding Sources

Many adults who return to school to complete a partially earned college degree, earn one from scratch, or tack an MBA onto one they’ve already obtained turn to student loans. The options include federally backed or private debt. Federal loans are usually easier to get but offer the same interest rate for everyone, regardless of credit. In addition to high chances for approval, federal lenders also routinely allow longish payback periods. But some borrowers gravitate toward private lenders. Two advantages of private student loans are the higher borrowing limits and rewards for having good credit. Whichever way you decide to go with an education loan, try to secure enough funding to cover all your school expenses other than tuition, like the cost of books, various fees, etc. It’s also a must that you read all the fine print on loan contracts before signing. If you don’t understand something, ask the lender.

Get a Degree in Psychology

Often lost in the shuffle and hustle to hone in on business-specific skill sets, a psychology-based education, preferably one as a major area of study, can help you understand how people think, act, buy, sell, and otherwise behave in the world of international commerce. Ask any academic counselor and you’ll find out about the innate value of this field of study. Not only does it make an ideal undergrad major, but serves as perhaps the most fitting prequel to a master’s in business administration.

Earn an MBA Online

An MBA, a master’s in business administration, was once the single most effective way to move ahead in the corporate world. Back in the late 1980’s, serious entrepreneurs were expected to hold an MBA or an equivalent diploma from a brick and mortar school if they hoped to eventually work their way into the upper echelon of commercial society. Since then, things have changed significantly but the degree still carries a lot of weight. The good news is that you can now choose to specialize within your MBA, in a field like finance, law, statistics, entrepreneurship, marketing, and other relevant subjects. The downside is that you’ll need to already hold a college diploma if you want to apply for any of these master’s level programs. But, make no mistake, having those three magic letters after your name can open a lot of doors in terms of attracting financial backers, customers, and employees.

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