Should I Go to University Before Starting a Business?


We’ve all heard the stories of entrepreneurs becoming billionaires by quitting education and starting a business from their garage, but that isn’t the reality for most people.

Plenty of people have “made it” without a university education. Some may have a lot of luck, an excellent financial headstart, or connections in the industry.

Some simply have a quality that can’t be taught. Some don’t have the option to attend university. But, unless you have superpowers, you’re probably going to get further faster if you go to university and really learn your stuff.

There are many reasons for budding entrepreneurs to study at a university. No matter how great your business idea is, or how motivated you are, there is always value in expanding your knowledge.

This can be done outside of the university- but Forbes believes that a college education can prepare you for running your own business.

If you’re determined to own a business but don’t know if you’re totally ready, an MBA might be the perfect solution to your dilemma.

Get to know the technical side of running a business

You may know all there is to know about your chosen field, but do you know about everything that comes with running a business?

Marketing, accounting, data analytics, ethics, management, technology, plus all the legal stuff. Your business is more likely to succeed if you have a broad knowledge of what happens behind-the-scenes.

University teaches life skills

Before jumping into running a business, it’s good to have life skills that go beyond high school. University opens you up to a whole new world of experiences and valuable knowledge.

It also builds confidence while teaching teamwork skills, communication skills, resilience, discipline, and hands-on experience.

Additionally, it gives you networking opportunities. You can make connections in the industry, whether that’s through your peers or university staff.

Plus, depending on your line of work, your clients may feel more comfortable with someone who has official qualifications.

The experience may teach you something about yourself

University is a time of self-discovery. Getting to spend a few extra years in education, with all the freedom of adulthood, can be the best years of your life.

And intensely studying whatever you’re passionate about can open your eyes to something you never thought possible.

While studying, you may realise you have an entirely different dream and take your career in a different direction.

You might learn about business opportunities you never knew existed. You might make connections with someone who could later become your business partner and help revolutionise your ideas.

University gives you a chance to test the waters before diving in. You can start your entrepreneurial life without any doubts as to whether it’s right for you, because you’ve had quite some time to ponder the idea.

You’ve also proven that you already have some of the skills you’ll need- patience and perseverance. Starting a business is already a leap of faith, and adding an unnecessary extra risk- that you may regret your decision- may lead to an unfulfilling career.

Get hands-on experience even before you start working

Chances are, the university will include some hands-on lessons and perhaps even opportunities for real-life work experience.

Once you’re confident in your skills, you could even work on your passion while you’re still attending university.

It might bring you some extra money, give you learning experiences you can’t get elsewhere, and give you a few clients who already know of your work.

By the time you officially start your business, you’ll feel confident in your skills, with the added bonus of formal qualifications to prove your expertise. An MBA and some documented work will really make your resume shine.


For every Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, there are many individuals who wish they had an official qualification to fall back on.

There are pros and cons for both options, and it is heavily dependent on your personal circumstances and goals.

It is entirely possible to become successful without a university education- it just might take a little longer or a little more hard work.

Some feel that education stifles their creativity and independence. Others feel that these were enriched by university and being around others who had the same dreams.

Some have a fervent hunger to start right away, some want to drop out for the wrong reasons, and some felt they could learn the necessary skills through trial and error.

Most universities have valuable resources available to students to help them start a business. Being a student also gives you a pass to seek opportunities that others cannot. Plus- businesses don’t have school holidays!

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