Business remains the most popular major in the American college world. When asking yourself, “Should I major in business?” consider that business studies can be divided into specific areas such as finance, accounting, management, and marketing. Many business majors, however, are interdisciplinary, incorporating each of these areas. Entrepreneurial studies is more of the most practical of the business majors; it targets the skills needed to set up and run your own small business. (The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a “small business” as one that employs less than 500 people.)
Most new businesses fail within their first five years of operation. Due to this, promising entrepreneurs need to learn how to widen their chances for success. Learning to write a business plan, identifying ways of funding a business, understanding sales and marketing, comprehending business accounting and establishing strategies to provide leadership for a team are all necessary skills.
What Should Entrepreneurs Major In?
The entrepreneurial studies major must learn to do strategic planning, become proficient in business law and ethics, develop management skills and understand business communication and networking. This is the major of choice for those who want to learn how to perceive and respond to new business opportunities. It’s also an excellent choice if you wish to put your energy and creativity to boost and grow a family-owned business. Strong entrepreneurs need to communicate well and be persuasive as well as organized. You’ll need to assure others that your ideas have merit and that you have a solid plan to attain your goals. The entrepreneurial studies major is perfect for creative, energetic types who want to set their own path, and who are comfortable with taking risks.
Although required courses for business majors will vary from school to school, nearly all colleges require students to first take a core of general business courses. Classes in accounting, finance, economics, and managerial knowledge base. More courses within the major generally focus on developing and writing business plans, financing a business, sales and marketing, taxation and new product development. Elective courses dig deeper by looking at the individual interests of rising entrepreneurs with classes in family business, mergers and acquisitions, franchising, managerial law, organizational effectiveness, solving business problems, and launching a company.
A large difference between entrepreneurial studies at different schools is the variety of courses offered. While the coursework can offer theoretical and practical information needed to begin, operate and manage a small business, the best programs have a robust experiential component, providing students with opportunities to apply what they learned. Some offer courses such a New Venture Planning (Rider University) where students choose a hypothetical business that they are interested in starting, create a business plan containing market research and marketing strategy, and look at business locations as well as staffing issues. Rider even encouraged these students to apply for a $5,000 grant as seed money to help start their new business after they graduated.
Which Business Program is Right for Me?
When considering programs, look for faculty who have robust academic credentials along with real-world experience as entrepreneurs or consultants to small businesses. Your classes should be project-oriented and offer opportunities to collaborate with local companies. The availability of internships that allow students to experience real-world issues is invaluable. Look for other program enhancements such as incubator space to launch your own company, competitions for business plans, access to experts in the industry as well as access to venture capital and seed financing.
Determining which school and which business program is best for you or your child can be a daunting task. Consider working with a professional to help you vet your options and make the best choice. Schedule a free consultation to find out if hiring a college counselor is the right fit for you.