Is an Entrepreneurship Degree for You?
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Entrepreneurship is the practice of designing, developing and initiating new business ventures. In entrepreneurship programs, students explore business practices such as marketing, financial planning, budget management and product promotion. They learn how to identify business opportunities and develop them for profit. Students are taught to apply their skills in corporate environments as well as independently owned businesses. These types of bachelor's degrees are often offered within a business administration major, with the option to specialize in an area like entrepreneurship.
Advice for Earning Your Entrepreneurship Degree Online
Most universities offer online degrees in management, finance or an interdisciplinary construct that lets you mix business administration with other corporate training, including entrepreneurship. Because of the wide applicability of the degree, many online institutions offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. Some employers might be more skeptical of a degree from an online university than they would a degree from a traditional school, but the best way to combat these worries is to make sure that your institution has been accredited, preferably by a regional accrediting body. Most business degrees are theory focused, meaning the work is largely research, writing and analysis, so it's highly feasible to do all of that online without any obstacles. You should also look at local businesses to see whether one of them can offer you an internship that will allow you to apply what you've learned in real-life practice.
Any degree program designed to instruct students in the finer points of entrepreneurship will cover the same basic information in terms of business creation, management and planning. Starting and/or maintaining a business requires a solid foundation in finance, accounting and management as well as an ability to think on your feet when it comes to problem solving. Your courses will also focus on human psychology, specifically the way it relates to intra-office interactions.
Courses in organizational behavior teach students how people work within groups and what kinds of motivation create the best working environment. You'll also take at least one class in business law and ethics so that you'll become familiar with the history of legal business practices, the modern parameters for entrepreneurs and the kinds of ethical situations business owners face daily. Ultimately, courses in entrepreneurship provide a broad framework for understanding the way businesses work and work together.
Common Career Paths
The good news about studying business management and ownership is that the skills you'll acquire are so broad based that they can be applied just about anywhere. Many students of entrepreneurship decide to start their own businesses but that's just one possibility. Common career paths include (but are not limited to):
Business Management Consultant
Business management consultants use entrepreneurial practices to find ways to improve a company's efficiency and increase profitability. They may help develop plans to enter new marketplaces or implement strategies to remain competitive in old ones. They also determine required resources, project budgets, possible problems and courses of action. These types of consultants often must conduct presentations to inform executives of their findings and generate support to pursue specific business opportunities. Some management consultants may assist with reorganizing corporate structures, determining staffing requirements, controlling costs and worker productivity.
Employment of management analysts is expected to grow 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $78,160 in May 2010.
Small-business owners use their knowledge of a particular industry and entrepreneurial abilities to start their own companies and grow them for profit. They are responsible for obtaining their own financing, often in the form of loans or investors. They devise plans to build a client base and implement strategies to help it expand. Business owners are also initially responsible for the management of daily operations such as hiring qualified employees, establishing policies, keeping track of finances, providing customer service, buying advertising and coordinating company activities. Business owners often work closely with other business professionals such as management consultants, financial analysts, bookkeepers, investors and bankers, as well as their own employees and customers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries projected to increase the fastest by 2020 include management, scientific and technical consulting services; home health care services; personal care services; and computer systems design and related services. The amount that owners make widely differs considering that many tend to use their income to invest in the business. Annual salaries of small-business owners range from $37,735 to $204,661 as of June 2012, according to Payscale.com.
Business executives establish an organization's goals and objectives, and then develop strategies that will ensure that they meet them. They set the tone for an organization's overall direction and are responsible for day-to-day operations, supervising department activities, and increasing productivity and profitability. Job duties are typically related to the establishment of administrative procedures, meeting financial goals, ensuring proper use of resources, and overseeing budgets and investments. These types of executives often work with other executives, managers and personnel within financial, marketing, human resources and production departments. Although the majority of their workday is spent in an office environment, business executives also travel for meetings and conferences.
Employment of top executives is projected to increase 5 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $101,250 in May 2010.