Going to business school might sound like a great idea. But, depending on what you want to do, it could be a colossal mistake.
In fact, I made that mistake myself. I thought I’d learn what I’d needed to know to start a business, but it didn’t. Plus, the required core classes usually aren’t needed in any company!
Most business schools don’t teach the valuable lessons that aspiring entrepreneurs need to know.
If you don’t think it’s possible to succeed without getting a college degree, allow me to prove it to you.
Ultra-successful people that didn’t get a business school degree (or any degree):
- Mark Zuckerberg: Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook
- Steve Jobs: Former Founder and CEO of Apple
- Bill Gates: Former Founder and CEO of Microsoft
Those are just a few of the many ultra-successful people with no degree. There are many more, and you could be one of them! They hit the ground running instead of wasting time and money sitting in a classroom. Besides, you need to learn so many imperative lessons that they left out in business school.
Here are some critical things you won’t learn in business school:
1. Business school doesn’t teach you that failing is necessary
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
— Bill Gates
Failures are priceless lessons that will move you forward; they aren’t a sign that you’re not cut out for this.
We’re taught that failing means you’re not trying hard or not smart enough. Students get punished for failing and quickly learn to fear failure. That’s why so few people try to break the mold and make it on their own. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, and it’s almost certain that you won’t meet all your expectations. But that’s the name of the game.
Failure is a sign that something needs to change. Whether that would be how you’re doing things if you need more practice, or changing directions.
If you can learn from the failure, dust yourself off, and get back to it repeatedly, you’ll succeed eventually.
2. Business school doesn’t tell you how to create a website
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
— Walt Disney
Having a website is one of the most used ways to market a business. Companies that have a blog gain on average 67% more leads than those without one. Basically, you’ll need a blog or website for your business. Unfortunately, colleges don’t tell you how to do any of these things.
- Web development
- Troubleshooting issues
- Branding and Graphic Design
- Social Media Marketing
You’ll have to learn these things on your own over time. But, they’re valuable skills to have under your belt. Look them up and you’ll find a ton of websites and videos to learn from. Take your time and study them everyday and you’ll get there.
3. Business school won’t teach you product or service creation
“Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”
― Arthur Koestler
Even though some business schools will discuss manufacturing and distribution, these are usually relevant only for enormous companies. So, it doesn’t help an entrepreneur who has no idea how to create a product. If you have nothing to sell, how can your company make money? Google and try different methods to bring your idea into reality.
4. Nor will business school show you how to sell your products or services
“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
― Isaac Asimov
While you learn some marketing in business school, it’s not as valuable as actually doing it. Furthermore, they tell you basic things like product placement and packaging. These aren’t as vital as actually trying to sell it to people.
They also don’t tell you about creating advertisements online. Facebook, Google, and Pinterest ads are where the money’s at. You’ll need to find out how to set these up and how to track them with pixels or tags.
5. When to change directions
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
— Steve Martin
If you start a business and do not see progress, you need to fix something or change directions. Some people continue to do the same thing for years, despite never making progress. Business school doesn’t tell you that sometimes you need to step back and find out what isn’t working. Nor do they tell you how to fix it. In reality, you must do this yourself.
6. How to deal with “surprises”
“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” — Tom Bodett
As an entrepreneur, there are many fires to put out at random. You might not realize there was a problem until you stumble upon it. Then it’s a massive issue that needs to be fixed ASAP.
Businesses don’t follow the textbooks; each one is unique with varying problems. Furthermore, you probably won’t know instantly know how to solve them. I recommend you get comfortable with Googling these things till you find the answer.
7. How to prioritize your time
“What is not started will never get finished”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
While you’ll probably take a “Time Management” class, that doesn’t show you what tasks will give you the most ROI (return on investment.) So, you might be wasting most of your time on things that don’t even help you move your business up in the world. Find out what tasks are most important and do those first.
8. How to promote yourself and company
“Knowledge without action is meaningless”
— Abu Bakr
I hate self-promoting. But I’m going to have to get over it, and so will you. People won’t psychically know how incredible you or your company is; you have to tell them. It’ll feel like you’re bragging, but how else will anyone know about what you’re creating?
9. How long it takes to become profitable
“To win without risk is to triumph without glory.”
People think that business school is the golden ticket to instant success. Well, those people are wrong. Being an entrepreneur won’t immediately turn you into an Elon Musk or Oprah. It takes a ton of dedication and perseverance to have a profitable business. Not to mention, more time than you’d imagine. But, if that doesn’t bother you and you have a way to pay the bills in the meantime, then go for it. The time will pass anyway. Why not use it to create something amazing?
10. How to research competition and trends
Business school doesn’t show you how to analyze the market you want to be in or how to find what products or niches are trending. You have to do your research. Google trends is a good place to start, and it’s free!
11. How to not let fear hold you back
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
— Leonardo da Vinci
I’ve met many people with a Masters of Business Administration degree who were servers at restaurants. It seems they don’t know quite what to do with their knowledge so, they procrastinate. While I’ll admit, it is scary to start a business; it’s worth it to startup despite the fear.
Also, don’t quit your job to start your business. It takes time to build up a company and gain trust from enough people to become profitable. But if you stick with it, I assure you it’ll be worth it.
12. That learning doesn’t end after graduation
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
— Jim Rohn
A business degree doesn’t mean you’ve done your time, so now you’re done with studying. Nope! Technology and methods of running companies are always changing. Therefore you have to change along with it.
You have to keep up with everything. By the time you get a degree, you’re already far, far behind in the business world.
In short, going to business school might seem like a good idea, but it’s a huge mistake for many people. After you graduate, you’ll have to start at the bottom of the company, anyway. Or, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you’ll be far behind the rest. Everything you need to learn is online for free. Don’t dig yourself into debt before you even get started in life.
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