Do You Need a Business Degree to be an Entrepreneur?

Our experience might be helpful to you

First, don’t think you have to buy and own a business right away to think like an entrepreneur. Working for someone else first, as we did, can be very enlightening. Because we have been in business for more than 15 years as an entrepreneur, we believe that we can recognize the most crucial abilities and attributes necessary for success.

We came across the following question on a discussion board: “Is having a degree required for someone who wants to start their own business?” people met the message with an immediate response of several hundred comments. The popular consensus chose that a college degree is not a requirement. There are those who believe that it is not harmful, or that it is helpful but in no way essential. A college degree is quite beneficial in a number of different elements of running a business.

We hear this same question a lot:

“Marcus, my son, has an interest in the culinary arts; what do you think he should do?

It is his goal to launch his own eatery.

What would you suggest we do?”

Our example

To begin, a person’s level of education is not a factor in whether or not they choose to eat at my restaurant. We have a degree in culinary arts and have completed a significant amount of coursework toward a business degree. We were interested in business, so we decided to further our education by taking some classes. No one has ever patronized our eatery because of the amount of our previous educational pursuits. There are benefits to having a degree, but there are also potential drawbacks. 

If you want to earn a good return on your investment in a college degree, you should be careful about whatever school you choose to attend. Many of our close friends have attended highly regarded cooking schools that came with hefty tuition bills. After a customer has enjoyed an outstanding meal at our restaurant, they may occasionally inquire as to whether or not we attended one of these illustrious educational institutions. However, this only occurs after they have experienced our culinary creations. Our response to the question posed by these individuals is as follows: “Yes, we have been to that cooking school… once for lunch, and it was pretty excellent!” Everyone in the room roars with laughter at this.

The two-year degree at these culinary schools cost my friends between $50,000 and $80,000, and they were there for two years. When we found ourselves in a position where we needed to make a decision, we questioned, “What is our return on investment?” After completing our schooling, we were all going to be working jobs that paid the same income of $8 an hour. This was the fact.

Without a doubt, these renowned cooking schools have access to superior facilities. However, having access to more resources does not always result in improved academic performance or culinary skills, nor does it guarantee greater career success. 

Some Careers

In some careers, obtaining a degree is necessary. There is a requirement for a degree to practice some professions, such as law or medicine, for instance. A university degree is not always necessary to succeed in the business world. The same may be said for the field of culinary arts. In point of fact, the most successful restaurateurs in the world do not have degrees in either culinary arts or business, but they have picked up the necessary abilities elsewhere along the road. 

When we started working our way up through the ranks, we were given instructions that we still use today. The advice given us by our first mentor in culinary arts was, “If you go and work at a five-star hotel or restaurant and acquire a recommendation letter from the chef, that will be more useful than any degree.” That was our business plan. That piece of advice proved helpful, so we implemented it. We ended up working at a Michelin three-star restaurant in Europe as well as two incredible properties in the United States. After the fact, every person we questioned was blown away by the fact that we had worked in these operations. They initially showed very little interest in our activities while we were there. The mere fact of having a connection to the property and observing a letter of recommendation were enough to seal the deal.

Our training in the culinary arts was never taken into consideration at any point. In point of fact, after graduation, there was never even a copy of the diploma provided. And not a single potential employer ever inquired about it. 

Do you really need all that student debt?

In the United States, student loans constitute a massive industry. Loan providers are in the business of making a profit. Therefore, it is necessary for them to generate demand for their goods. The marketing prowess of colleges and universities is unparalleled. They have manufactured a demand for their product, which is a degree, because certain professions necessitate holding that level of education. When you go to see several institutions, it is similar to going to a dealership to purchase a vehicle. Certain characteristics, such as the campus, the future job market, demography, and so on, are being marketed to you as selling points. If a person is able to sell their product more effectively, they will be able to charge you a higher price and argue that their degree is more useful. Therefore, bear that in mind.

We want you to know that we’re not suggesting that you avoid getting an education in any way.

What we are trying to imply is that getting a formal education might not be the most important factor in your success. And for other people, having to repay the debt might cause years of anxiety about their finances. Many factors produce a successful entrepreneur. For us, the best course of action was to pursue an education that wouldn’t put a strain on our family’s or our own financial situation. Then we supplemented that knowledge with actual work experience. Do what’s best for you, but keep an open mind about the other choices you have.