Is Education Needed to be an Entrepreneur?

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What Education is Needed to be an Entrepreneur?

Do you need a specific level of education to call yourself an entrepreneur? This is a question often asked by aspiring entrepreneurs. Well, it all depends on the individual. Several of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are college  or even high school dropouts.  Some say they owe their success to patience, hard work, and dedication. But is lack of the education the answer?  Many other successful entrepreneurs claim a formal education is key to gaining an important foundation for entrepreneurship.

So what is the answer? Remember, one of the skills of being an entrepreneur is the willingness to learn from everything, so you can avoid mistakes and save precious time.  Saras Sarasvathy, In her research What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial?, found that successful entrepreneurs actually used a different reasoning approach when making decisions about their business.  Sarasvathy notes that “entrepreneurs think effectually: they believe in a yet-to-be-made future that can substantially be shaped by human action.”

Successful entrepreneurs actually used a different reasoning approach when making decisions about their business!

Sarasvathy mentions that traditional education systems around the world are very good at teaching students to think causally, the idea of setting a predetermined goal and then acquiring the means and resources to achieve it.  Effectual reasoning, on the other hand, means starting with a set of resources and allowing goals to emerge and change over time. INSEAD business school illustrates the Google example: “Google, for instance, didn’t begin as a brilliant vision or ingenious idea, but as a project to improve library searches. It sparked a series of small discoveries that eventually unlocked a revolutionary business model.”

Does Reasoning Equate to Education When Wanting to be an Entrepreneur?

Sarasvathy explains this well when she says “Causal reasoning is based on the logic, ‘To the extent that we can predict the future, we can control it.’ This is why both academics and practitioners in business today spend enormous amounts of brainpower and resources on developing predictive models. Effectual reasoning, however, is based on the logic, ‘To the extent that we can control the future, we do not need to predict it.’”

So which is the right answer?  There isn’t a correct one.  If you have the means to pursue formal education, it can only help inform future decisions and understanding about the marketplace.  But if formal education is outside your means, make sure that the understanding of the different logics that Sarasvathy mentions are inherent in your business practices.

Perhaps, a successful entrepreneur is a result of unique mix of education and entrepreneurial characteristics?!

A successful entrepreneur is the result of the proper mix of education and entrepreneurial characteristics. Gaining knowledge does not mean that you have to pursue a formal education, however if the opportunity arises, a budding entrepreneur will take advantage of it with no questions asked.  There are many business degree options to further your education. Decide on the programs and classes that peak your interest and their added value will make your road to entrepreneurship that much more successful. By dedicating your time in the classes and programs available locally to internationally, you are pushing yourself forward.

So is education needed to be an entrepreneur? This question can only be answered by you. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, try to assess your qualities, skills, and educational background. If you find yourself lacking, take the initiative to find experiential or academic ways to boost your profile and you will remain a successful entrepreneur.


Very best wishes for your every success,

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