What Can I Do With an Entrepreneurship Degree?
Having an entrepreneurship degree allows you to strategically pursue your passions. That doesn’t have to mean founding a business (though becoming a founder is an option). It may mean leading change within an existing organization, growing a family business, or scaling a startup.
That’s because entrepreneurial leadership is bigger than business. It’s a mindset. It’s why at Babson, entrepreneurship is woven throughout the entire curriculum. Whether you’re taking classes in finance, management, leadership, or the arts, you’ll have the opportunity to practice.
Many students whom Kelley works with at Babson do not have a business idea when they arrive. Instead, they may be drawn to leadership and perhaps have participated in student government. Or, they may have organized and run an event. Or, mowed lawns.
“It’s showing resourcefulness, taking charge, and figuring out how to do something. Having a vision and working toward it,” says Kelley.
These entrepreneurial skills are more important than for any individual business, says Kim. “They are valuable in a wide variety of career situations, regardless of whether you launch your own venture, work for an established organization, or return to your family business.”
Kelley recalls a professor telling her class they’d have six careers in their lifetime. “And, I really did,” she says. “You have to assume that your career may take many different twists and turns, and you are the foundation from which all those careers can launch.”
Having an entrepreneurship degree enables you to think creatively no matter what context or situation you’re in, whether it’s founding your own business or pursuing a new business idea within a company. Kelley points out you can even use it in your personal life, whether it’s volunteering to run a charity auction or helping your school raise money for a sports team.
And, if you do want to start a business in college, it doesn't necessarily have to be selling a physical product. For example, Aria Mustary ’21 founded Mai Soli Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to break the cycle of child marriage in Bangladesh by tackling issues such as gender inequality and lack of opportunity.
Giullia Jaques Caldeira ’24 started Absorvidas, an organization bringing feminine hygiene products to a women’s prison near Belford Roxo, Brazil, Jaques’ hometown. Beyond providing reusable menstrual pads to the prison, her goal is to also provide lectures and materials to support menstrual education.
Is a degree in entrepreneurship worth it?
An entrepreneurship degree offers the opportunity for a significant return on investment. That’s because, depending on where you earn your entrepreneurship degree, you stand to gain much more than a business degree.
At Babson, for example, you will gain experience in the liberal arts. You can take courses at Wellesley College and Olin College of Engineering. And, you can concentrate in everything from literary and visual arts to computational and mathematical finance. Its 20-year net present value, the calculation used to calculate the value of future payments and whether an investment is a good one, is $907,000, putting it within the top 10 schools, according to a study from Georgetown University.
As Kelley says, even if you don’t plan to start a business, you’ll likely work for a startup or a small business at some point in your career. If you go into finance, you may invest in entrepreneurs. “There are so many different ways you can be involved in entrepreneurship without having started your own business,” she notes. “Understanding the business elements of whatever you do is really key.”
An entrepreneurship degree also shapes your attitude, equipping you with the ability to not fear failure.
If you have an idea and don’t know where to start, earning a degree can help move you in the right direction with support and resources you may not have access to on your own. For example, at Babson’s Centers and Institutes, there are numerous resources for founders, but also for students who just want to get involved.
Dunk mentions Mustary, noting that when she came to the Blank Center, she knew the problem she wanted to solve—child marriage in developing countries—and had a passion for solving it. But, she didn’t know where to start. Mustary took advantage of opportunities, including the Butler Launch Paid, CWEL Scholars, and Summer Catalyst in 2020, which ultimately led her team to win the B.E.T.A. Challenge in 2021.
The expert advice, accountability, and acceleration you get by earning a degree can not only help you get where you want to go, but can help you get there much faster.
Dunk also emphasizes that if you have no idea where to start, the Blank Center and other resources are there to help you take that first step and find a way to approach problems. “Student entrepreneurs can participate in a range of unique opportunities that can help accelerate your business or grow as a leader.”
Programs such as the 10-week, intensive Summer Venture Program and other summer venture accelerator programs at the Blank Center help you build entrepreneurial skills and accelerate your venture. Dedicated advisors, mentors, and 24/7 workspace are just some of the resources that each team receives, totaling a market value of at least $200,000.
The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership offers mentorship and programs such as the Women Innovating Now Lab®, which gives women entrepreneurs access to monthly coaching, strategic guidance from C-Suite experts, and more.
“As you’re setting out on your journey, there are so many types of conversations and interactions that can have a huge impact,” says Dunk. “It could be a conversation with a peer, professor, an entrepreneur in residence, an alumni entrepreneur, the list goes on.” These connections can completely change your trajectory. And, the ability to find a mentor can give you a level of accountability, as well as access to a professional network that can help you move forward.
By earning a degree in entrepreneurship, you’ll gain a solid foundation in business, but you also make connections that you can’t put a price tag on.