Is A Degree In Entrepreneurship Worth It?

Mark Talmage-Rostron
January 24, 2024 · 14 min read

Is a degree in entrepreneurship worth it? Learn about the skills, advantages, and potential careers with an entrepreneurship degree.

Mention the word entrepreneurship, and nine times out of ten you'll hear people talking about wanting to start a new business like one of the famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates. Who wouldn't be? There's fame, fortune, and notoriety, but building a startup is tough, and there's no guarantee you will succeed. About 90% of startups fail, and of those, 10% fail within the first year. But why? According to Forbes, VC funding fell by 35% from 2022 to 2023. Some entrepreneurs created a product or service that didn’t meet a real, definitive need in the market, and many made the same mistakes as failed businesses before them.

Sure, nobody has a crystal ball, and hindsight is an exact science, but Forbes also says that there are ways that founders can give their fledgling companies every chance of succeeding the first time around. They talk about developing fundraising skills, managing time better, and improving speed to market for the new product or service. But they also talk about the benefits of getting a college degree in entrepreneurship, as they maintain that such a degree from colleges and universities can provide the skills and knowledge to help founders broaden and deepen their business skill set and learn strategies to grow and manage their businesses.

That said, is a degree in entrepreneurship with a core curriculum focused on success worth it to start your own business? Many experts say yes, citing that an entrepreneurship program will teach learners the things every founder wishes they had known from day one in their business venture. As a first-time founder, there is so much to learn about business, and the price of learning on-the-job can often be too high. So basically, it is better to learn from others mistakes than your own. By obtaining a degree in entrepreneurship such as that offered by an accredited U.S. university like Nexford, founders can maximize their success by gaining the tools, skills, and networking to thrive, plus taking advantage of the environment for lifelong relationships, essential knowledge, and strategies to drive their startup’s growth and success.

Entrepreneurship degree vs. business degree: What's the difference?

While both entrepreneurship and business degrees cover fundamental business concepts, getting a degree in entrepreneurship is more specialized than a general business degree and geared toward individuals interested in starting and managing their own businesses. Business degrees, on the other hand, provide a broader foundation applicable to a variety of roles within different types of organizations. The choice between the two depends on your career goals and whether you're more interested in launching your own venture or working within established business structures.

What Does a Degree in Entrepreneurship Cover?

Throughout most entrepreneurship programs, learners will learn all about the tools and skills that are necessary to launch and grow a startup. This includes aspects such as idea generation, business planning, and the early stages of launching a venture. Entrepreneurship programs also often highlight the importance of innovation, creativity, and problem-solving so as to equip learners with the mindset and skills needed to identify opportunities and develop unique solutions.

Entrepreneurship is a risky business, which is why most programs will teach learners various ways to navigate uncertainty and make strategic decisions in dynamic environments. The curriculum may delve into the challenges and opportunities specific to small businesses by focusing on topics that could include managing resources efficiently, adapting to market changes, and scaling a business.

Last but not least, some entrepreneurship programs may emphasize experiential learning, encouraging students to work on real projects, engage with mentors, and potentially start their own ventures during their studies.

What Entrepreneurship Degree Options Exist?

Entrepreneurship degree options vary, and you can find programs at different academic levels, from undergraduate to graduate, but there are some common entrepreneurship degree options that will help with business development and growth. There's a bachelor's in entrepreneurship, which is a four-year undergraduate program that provides a foundation in entrepreneurship and covers topics such as business planning, innovation, marketing, finance, and small business management. Some universities offer a BBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship, which combines a broad business education with specialized courses in entrepreneurship.

Other high-profile universities offer a Master's in Entrepreneurship, which is typically a one- to two-year program designed for individuals who want to deepen their knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and includes coursework on venture capital, business modeling, and advanced entrepreneurial strategies.

A variation of that is the Master of Business Administration with Entrepreneurship Focus, which provides a comprehensive business education with a specific focus on entrepreneurial principles. The pinnacle is a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship, which is an advanced degree that involves in-depth research in the field. It prepares individuals for academic positions and contributes to the development of entrepreneurship theory.

A Bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA) and a Master's degree in business or entrepreneurship serve as excellent pathways to a well-rounded education, offering a comprehensive blend of theoretical knowledge, management skills, and practical experiences.

A BBA provides a solid foundation in core business disciplines, including finance, marketing, and operations, fostering a holistic understanding of the corporate landscape, while a Master's degree builds upon this foundation, delving deeper into advanced management theories and strategic approaches. Specialized coursework in entrepreneurship enhances practicality by focusing on real-world challenges, business modeling, and innovative strategies.

The combination of theoretical insights and managerial competencies acquired through these degrees can equip you to navigate the complexities of the business world, fostering adaptability and leadership qualities essential for success in diverse professional environments.

Is A Bachelors Degree In Entrepreneurship Worth It?

Forbes says yes, as they denote that a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship from an accredited university might be a natural fit if people already own a small business or are interested in starting one. The reason being that this type of degree can help budding entrepreneurs broaden and deepen their business skill set, learn strategies to grow and manage their startups, and avoid the challenges facing most founders.

A formal education in entrepreneurship can provide a structured curriculum covering key business concepts, including business planning, marketing, finance, and small business management; provide networking opportunities with fellow students, professors, and industry professionals; and some entrepreneurship programs include experiential learning components, such as internships, co-op programs, or real-world projects. Practical experience is crucial in entrepreneurship, and a degree that incorporates hands-on opportunities can be particularly valuable.

A Nexford BBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship is worth it and is a bachelor's degree worth pursuing in terms of cost and content. This degree is worth investing in as it is designed for highly motivated professionals ready to kick-start their work lives and build a business from the ground up. Whether they’re jumpstarting their career or launching a startup idea, learners who do the program, born from the analysis of 30 million jobs and surveyed industry leaders, including those from Microsoft, Citibank, and Unilever, will discover how to succeed in modern, global business.

The BBA aimed at a business owner or manager can be completed in an average of 48 months or shorter, and the faster learners finish, the more money they’ll save. Learners only have to dedicate approximately 15-20 hours per week, which fits into their work schedules, so they can earn while they learn. And, when compared to traditional universities offering the same business degree programs, it is extremely affordable at only $320 per month.

Is A Masters Degree In Entrepreneurship Worth It?

According to Forbes, although a college education may not be a prerequisite for starting a business and getting a new business idea off the ground, attending an entrepreneurship degree program and obtaining a master's degree in entrepreneurship from colleges in the U.S. or like business schools can enhance your skill set and provide valuable insights to navigate the challenges of planning and running a startup.

The increasing prevalence of online education has made these degree programs more accessible than ever for distance learners, offering flexibility and the opportunity to acquire specialized knowledge in entrepreneurship. That said, the worth of a Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship depends on various factors, and the decision to pursue such a degree should be based on individual goals, preferences, and circumstances. It's worth it if you are seeking a deeper understanding of entrepreneurial concepts and strategies, you are looking to access resources such as incubators, accelerators, and funding opportunities, or you're looking for credibility and recognition. In certain industries or contexts, having a master's degree in entrepreneurship may enhance your credibility. It can signal to potential investors, partners, and employers that you have invested time and effort in acquiring advanced expertise in the field.

Enter Nexford's Master of Science in Entrepreneurship degree, which helps budding or existing entrepreneurs acquire the tools, skills, and networking to thrive, gain lifelong relationships, essential knowledge, and strategies to drive their startup’s growth and success. 

The program will increase the chances of success and teach learners the things every founder wishes they'd known on day one. Those enrolled will be able to build their venture and develop leadership skills while learning and collaborating with like-minded peers. Throughout the MSc in Entrepreneurship business program, learners will create the tools necessary to launch and grow a startup. In short, it's an immersive, project-based experience for those ready to build a successful business. 

As part of the stages of the program, learners will develop a strategic plan aligned to their startup’s financial forecast, create a product roadmap that connects development to business strategy, build a funding strategy and an investor pitch that justifies their business model, and learn from the best case studies from Nike, Space X, and Netflix.

For those looking for a master's degree centered on entrepreneurship and who want to learn all about what it takes to start and build a successful startup, Nexford's MSc in Entrepreneurship will provide the grounding to do so. Whether you are currently a startup founder or looking to become one within the next 12 months, this program was built for you. As an aspiring or recent startup founder, you'll get the necessary skills and support to set your business up for success, and the degree can be completed in an average of 18 months or shorter. And the faster you finish, the more money you’ll save.

Entrepreneurship Degree FAQs

What Is the Value of a Degree in Entrepreneurship?

The value of a degree in entrepreneurship depends on various factors, and its significance can vary from person to person. That said, there are some aspects to consider when evaluating the value of a degree in entrepreneurship. A degree in entrepreneurship provides a structured curriculum that covers essential business concepts, including business planning, marketing, finance, and management, which can serve as a strong foundation for those looking to start and manage their own businesses. Some entrepreneurship programs incorporate practical experiences, such as internships, real-world projects, or opportunities to work with startup initiatives. This hands-on experience can be invaluable in applying theoretical knowledge to real business challenges.

University programs often offer networking opportunities with fellow students, professors, and professionals in the field. Building a network can lead to mentorship, partnerships, and exposure to potential investors and collaborators. Many entrepreneurship programs provide access to resources like incubators, accelerators, and funding opportunities. These resources can be essential for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop and launch their ventures.

In certain contexts, having a degree in entrepreneurship can enhance credibility. It may signal to investors, partners, and stakeholders that you have undergone formal education in the field and possess a foundational understanding of business principles. Entrepreneurship programs often aim to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, emphasizing creativity, innovation, and adaptability, and this mindset can be valuable not only for starting businesses but also for problem-solving in various professional contexts.

Ultimately, the value of a degree in entrepreneurship depends on individual goals, learning preferences, and the specific context of one's entrepreneurial journey. Some individuals may find that a degree provides a solid foundation, while others may prefer alternative paths like self-directed learning, apprenticeships, or real-world experience.

Do you have the skills to be a successful entrepreneur?

Take our free quiz to measure your entrepreneurial skills and see if you have what it takes to run your own successful business.

Your results will help you identify key skill gaps you may have! Up for the challenge?

Take the quiz to get started now!

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Entrepreneurship Degree

Although the decision to pursue an entrepreneurship degree should be based on individual goals, learning preferences, and career aspirations, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of an entrepreneurship degree while considering alternative paths to entrepreneurship, such as gaining practical experience, mentorship, and self-directed learning.

Pros

An entrepreneurship graduate degree that's online and not on-campus is worth it as it provides a structured curriculum and helps founders learn essential business concepts. This knowledge serves as a foundation for understanding the various aspects of starting and running a business and being able to succeed as an entrepreneur. Some programs incorporate practical experiences, such as internships and real-world projects, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in real business scenarios and make effective business decisions.

University programs offer networking opportunities with fellow students, professors, and professionals in the field, fostering connections that can be valuable for future collaborations, mentorships, and partnerships. Entrepreneurship programs often provide access to resources like incubators, accelerators, and funding opportunities, supporting the development and growth of entrepreneurial ventures.

Entrepreneurship programs also aim to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, emphasizing creativity, innovation, and adaptability. This mindset is valuable for problem-solving and navigating the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. And many entrepreneurship programs are taught by experienced entrepreneurs or industry professionals, providing students with insights and perspectives from those who have been successful in the field.

Cons

Pursuing a degree involves significant financial and time commitments. Some may argue that the resources spent on formal education could be invested directly in starting and running a business. While some programs incorporate practical experiences, the level of real-world exposure can vary; hence, some individuals may find that hands-on experience is more valuable than classroom learning.

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic field, and the business landscape evolves quickly, so some may argue that traditional education might struggle to keep pace with the latest trends and technologies. Also, having a degree does not guarantee success in entrepreneurship. Success often depends on a combination of factors, including practical skills, adaptability, resilience, and market conditions.

Some successful entrepreneurs have achieved success without formal degrees. The emphasis on hands-on experience, self-directed learning, and mentorship might be more relevant for certain individuals. And, in some cases, academic programs may focus more on theoretical concepts than practical application. This can be a drawback in a field where hands-on experience is highly valued.

What can you do with an entrepreneurship degree?

People who are interested in an entrepreneurship degree can rest assured that they will come out with a diverse skill set that can be applied in various professional settings, leading to several career paths and opportunities that individuals with an entrepreneurship degree may pursue.

Many entrepreneurship graduates who need an entrepreneurship foundation and choose to start their own businesses will seek out a degree, as it provides the knowledge and skills needed to plan, launch, and manage a successful venture, and graduates may establish and operate small businesses in various sectors, such as retail, services, or consulting.

Some organizations value individuals with entrepreneurial skills to drive innovation within the corporate environment. These professionals work on creating new products, services, or business models within established companies. Entrepreneurship graduates may work as consultants, providing advice to businesses on strategy, growth, and innovation. 

Some individuals with an entrepreneurial background move into the finance sector, working in venture capital or private equity firms that invest in and support startup companies. In addition, entrepreneurship graduates may pursue careers in sales and marketing, utilizing their understanding of business strategies to promote products and services effectively. And, with the rise of online businesses, entrepreneurship graduates may specialize in e-commerce or digital marketing roles, leveraging their skills in the online marketplace.

Do I need a degree to become an entrepreneur?

No, a degree is not a strict requirement to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a field where practical experience, skills, creativity, and a willingness to take calculated risks often play a crucial role. Many successful entrepreneurs have achieved their goals without formal degrees. Factors such as hands-on experience, networking, mentorship, and adaptability can be equally or even more important than formal education in entrepreneurship. 

Successful entrepreneurs have often gotten their venture over the line by obtaining hands-on experience through starting their own venture, working for a startup, or gaining relevant experience in a specific industry. Further to that, building a strong network of contacts and seeking mentorship outside of a degree with experienced entrepreneurs can provide insights, guidance, and opportunities that may not be gained through formal education alone. 

Also, depending on the industry, specific skills and expertise may be more critical than a general entrepreneurship degree. Deep knowledge of the market, technology, or customer needs can be just as valuable.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the worth of a degree in entrepreneurship in a formal university setting or online program hinges on individual circumstances, goals, and learning preferences. While such a degree can offer a structured education, theoretical knowledge, valuable networking opportunities, and the chance to learn to become a business manager, it may not be the sole determinant to help you succeed as an entrepreneur.

Practical experience, adaptability, and the ability to navigate real-world challenges are equally crucial in the entrepreneurial journey. Prospective entrepreneurs should carefully weigh the advantages, including access to resources, credibility, and a well-rounded education, against the potential drawbacks, such as the cost and time investment. Ultimately, the decision to pursue a degree in entrepreneurship should align with one's personal aspirations and be complemented by practical experiences, networking, and continuous learning to thrive in the dynamic and competitive world of entrepreneurship.

For those looking for a master's degree centered on entrepreneurship and who want to learn all about what it takes to start and build a successful startup, Nexford's MSc in Entrepreneurship will provide the grounding to do so. Whether you are currently a startup founder or looking to become one within the next 12 months, this program was built for you. As an aspiring or recent startup founder, you'll get the necessary skills and support to set your business up for success, and the degree can be completed in an average of 18 months or shorter. And the faster you finish, the more money you’ll save.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

Join our newsletter and be the first to receive news about our programs, events and articles.