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Degrees in Business Administration for Entrepreneurs

Business student on laptop with cell phone in hand

Love thinking up monumental ideas and seeing them to completion? Becoming an entrepreneur might be right up your alley. Entrepreneurs are typically seen as the dreamers with their heads in the clouds conceptualizing the big picture for a living. This is true to some extent — having a clear, paradigm-changing vision is paramount — but entrepreneurs also need to have their feet on the ground. Understanding basic business principles, motivating the people around them and taking care of the small details are just as important.

The more ethereal, head-in-the-clouds skill might spring from a well of natural talent, but aspiring entrepreneurs might want to think about getting a business degree to hone their expertise and become more well-rounded in real-world business and management skills. Read on to learn what degrees work well for entrepreneurs at each level of postsecondary education and find out what you might learn in these entrepreneur classes.

Associate of Science in Business Administration

Getting an Associate of Science in Business Administration (ASBA) is a smart financial choice for many students. It offers practical, fundamental business skills at a price that won’t break the bank. ASBA programs typically take around two years to complete (about 60 credit hours). They usually dive into a wide range of foundational business topics including principles of marketing, organizational behavior, introduction to business and business communications.

According to payscale.com, the average annual salary for ASBA grads is $55,000. By contrast, the average net price of attendance for public 2-year programs in 2016-2017 (the last year for which the National Center for Education Statistics [NCES] has numbers) was $10,598.

Bachelor of Science/Arts in Business Administration

At the 4-year level, a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration would be an excellent option for entrepreneurs. Bachelor of arts degrees often focus on the liberal arts and the ways in which business affects the rest of society, while a bachelor of science might have a more practical, technical approach. Both types of programs will offer coursework in economics, leadership, analytics, and business problem-solving. Programs like these also allow budding entrepreneurs the chance to specialize. Students might be able to choose from concentrations like entrepreneurial management, non-profit management, and international business.

Payscale.com reports an average annual salary for BBA-holders at $67,000. The NCES, which is run by the U.S. Department of Education, reports that the average price for tuition, fees, room, and board for a 4-year program was $26,593.

Master of Business Administration

At the graduate level, the Master of Business Administration is the most common degree offered. MBAs are highly specialized. Many master’s programs let students choose from a wide variety of concentrations including entrepreneurship and innovation, leadership and collaboration, and organizational management. Coursework in a graduate program in business administration might focus on advanced negotiation, strategic partnerships, and social entrepreneurship.

More importantly, programs at this level are often where future entrepreneurs rub shoulders with other business professionals. This gives them a chance to sharpen their soft skills. Soft skills are things like teamwork, creativity, communication, and empathy and they’re the hidden drivers of the business world. In fact, all entrepreneurs need fundamental business skills, but they need to develop soft skills to be successful.

The mean annual wage for people with an MBA is $87,000. The cost of an MBA can run the gamut. The U.S. News and World Report ranked some of the best MBA schools in the country and the average MBA tuition per year can run from as low as $12,000 to as high as $75,000.

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.