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Do You Need a Master’s Degree to Become an Entrepreneur?

By Stephanie L

Updated April 15, 2021 Updated April 15, 2021

Sponsored by IE Business School

It’s the million dollar entrepreneurial question that’s asked more often than you might think – do you need a master’s degree to become an entrepreneur?

Some will say it isn’t necessary, while others believe having an academic background can serve as a strong foundation for the future – and would certainly be helpful if your degree is business-related – as 82 percent of successful business owners admit having the right qualifications and experience to run a company has benefited them – even with limited cash flow.

Within the next few years, it’s expected that we’ll see more entrepreneurs graduating from college, and while times are challenging at the moment, history has shown that founding a (successful) business during a global crisis can still be done.

So let’s take a closer look at the role a master’s degree can play in your future entrepreneurial plans.

Depending on your bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can be the icing on the cake

You might assume you’ll need an undergraduate degree in business to study a specialized business master’s – but that really isn’t the case.

Just under half of Master in Management graduates at IE Business School in 2018 had an undergraduate degree in social sciences and humanities, sciences, engineering, law, and information technology. Studying a specialized business master’s such as a Master in Management will ensure you’re well-versed in all areas of business to make sure you’re ready for the day-to-day challenges of being an entrepreneur.

It’s easy to forget as well the importance of keeping up-to-date with living in the digital age. With such advancements in technology, a master’s degree like IE’s Master in Management, dives right into the realms of technological innovation and how it relates to modern business.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated just how it important it is for businesses to be able to adapt quickly and efficiently, and having the technical knowledge and digital resources to tackle such challenges and make critical decisions is testament to this.

You can take your business idea for a dummy run

A 2019 Forbes article reported how a study of more than 150 university incubators and almost 900 companies found that individuals are more likely to succeed as an entrepreneur if they launch their business idea with the help and support of a university-located incubator unit.

In an age where around 100 million businesses are launched every single year, business schools such as IE Business School in Madrid, are creating their own incubators for students to test-run their venture and give them an idea of what it’s like to take an idea from start to finish.

IE Business School boasts a large startup culture with its very own Venture Lab, which offers professional support and resources to help budding entrepreneurs take on their business venture during their studies and use the incubator as a way to test drive it first. 

Almost every single startup will start off with limited resources, so it’s important to know how to plan and make the most of what you do have. The Venture Lab at IE allows students the opportunity to learn how to put together a solid business plan, how to calculate and forecast risks, as well as how to make valid and strategic decisions while learning the principles of innovation, sales and marketing.

Right now, the startup scene can seem even more challenging to navigate than ever before if you have little to no experience, which is why startup incubators like the Venture Lab, play a significant role in exposing students to the realities and complexities of industry while offering a safe space to learn from and evaluate the experience.

A master’s can help you establish yourself (and your credentials)

The value of a master’s also lies in the various contacts you make and professional relationships you build and establish throughout your degree.

It may be beneficial when it comes to gaining trust and authority from potential stakeholders and clients, while your professors, peers and visiting industry experts are also invaluable when it comes to having a flourishing network.

And what’s more, Small Business Trends reports that a business which has two founders increases the odds of success – so getting to know your peers might just be the key to unlocking future success.

This article was originally published in July 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for and (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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