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Business Degress?

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BLK85

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Sep 22, 2007
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Im kind of considering a business degree(Ebiz). What are they worth with people like me just wanting to start a business from the very basic level? I was thinking about starting in January but now I got thinking are they really worth it? I dont need a degree to start a business, some of the richest people in the country dont even have a Associates degree(like me). What is everyone opinion on these degrees?
 

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JScott

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In my opinion (I completed half of an MBA), there are a couple situations where a business degree is valuable:

1) If you go to a school with a great, great business program. The very top tier schools do an excellent job of preparing students for real world business problems, delve very deep into case studies, and require students to actually start businesses as part of the cirriculum. These school are worth the time and the money.

2) If you plan to do plenty of networking. The greatest value of a business degree (in both my and Warren Buffet's opinion :)) is the people you will meet. They will be like-minded and motivated when it comes to entrepeneurship, and those contacts can lead to life-long partnerships and open-doors.

3) If you're not the kind of person who would take the initiative to learn things on your own, b-school is a good choice. While a lot of people probably believe you can succeed in business without any education, I disagree. While you can learn a lot on your own, education is a must...and if that education isn't going to come from you picking up textbooks and reading on your own, then perhaps a more structured education is right for you.

4) If you have absolutely no business background or aptitude, b-school *might* be a good place to start. Personally, I think getting out there and working for a small company is a better place to start, but you should definitely have some experience (education or working) before trying to start a business. There are too many easy mistakes to make that a year or two of study and experience would be enough to help you avoid.

As I've said multiple times on this forum, as someone who has plenty of education, hires a dozen b-school graduates a year, and has first-hand knowledge of how hundred billion-dollar businesses are run, I don't believe b-school is necessary to be successful in business. There is very little that you can't learn on your own if you have the initiative (and a reasonable IQ).

But, there are some advantages to b-school for some people (see my list above).
 

michael515

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Aug 27, 2007
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What's the cost?

Agree with all Jscott said. I will add that case studies alone are very powerful ways to learn. Philosophy and theory only take you so far.

College is a medium to learn and network. If you want to run a business you have to learn the skills somehow. Experience is huge. People who don't read I will never understand. You can broaden your mind so much learning new techniques, ideas, or simply encouragement of the successes, failures and adventures just by reading the words of others.

Too often we are too black and white. What I mean is always be learning whether it's college, books, through conversations, watching others, etc. Also, if it doesn't cost too much (time and $$) - get your degree and you could learn business from working on the inside. One of my favorite Rich Dad ideas was "never take a job for the money - but for what you'll learn."

I'm convinced that if we simply learn, apply this into action, evaluate the results and then repeat this cycle based on the results there's no way to fail!!!
 

MJ DeMarco

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kimberland

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Jul 25, 2007
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This isn't just about college or no college.
Is college a good grounding for eBiz?

Honestly, I don't think so.

I went to school with a programming buddy.
He had a lot of fun but didn't learn anything his first couple years.
The profs couldn't keep up with the industry.
Everything they taught was old and no longer in use.

Then the head honchos at Microsoft told him
(actually Bill Gates himself)
he was decreasing his market value by going to school
(because he wasn't learning anything new).

So he quit and went to work full time.
Seemed to have worked for him.
He paid a million dollars in taxes last year.

Though I did benefit from him going to school.
He wrote a few custom programs for my business classes
(and then sold them)
and he's still a bud today.
 

MJ DeMarco

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This isn't just about college or no college.
Is college a good grounding for eBiz?

Honestly, I don't think so.

I went to school with a programming buddy.
He had a lot of fun but didn't learn anything his first couple years.
The profs couldn't keep up with the industry.
Everything they taught was old and no longer in use.

Then the head honchos at Microsoft told him
(actually Bill Gates himself)
he was decreasing his market value by going to school
(because he wasn't learning anything new).

So he quit and went to work full time.
Seemed to have worked for him.
He paid a million dollars in taxes last year.

Though I did benefit from him going to school.
He wrote a few custom programs for my business classes
(and then sold them)
and he's still a bud today.

Your post makes me wonder Kim, do they still teach Fortran and Cobol in college?
 

JScott

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LOL MJ.
I know its still being taught in some high schools.
Heck some schools are still using punch cards.

Actually, it would be wonderful if punch cards were still being used today as a teaching tool. If you understand how to program using punch cards, you have a better understanding of computer architectures and design than 99% of the computer science grads out there.

Whlie I doubt many schools teach cobol or fortran, the very good ones still teach assembly and machine language coding, which was popular decades before cobol and fortran. And the students going through these programs are the most prepared in the industry.
 

michael515

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Aug 27, 2007
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On a side note - if you choose college do some CLEP's and DANTES. Both are "credit by exam" and most institutions accept 30 semester credits by exam. Some will accept much more. Go to collegeboard.com and getcollegecredit.com to check both out.

I've taken 10 exams over the last year and accumulated 30 credits. The cost of the exam is only like $75. Save much time and lots of cash.

Hope this helps.
 

australianinvestor

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Aug 4, 2007
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I just finished an MBA at one of the world's best business schools.

I agree with the people who say it's a great place to network, but that's not saying enough: it is the best place to network that I know of. As a result of attending this school, I could assemble a team of people who are the brand names in business in my country, and if I had a proposal to pitch, I know a few people who could write me a cheque ("check" for my American friends!) for $10 million within a couple of weeks (depending on due diligence).

More importantly, it's not only the people you meet/know, but who THEY know. In my network, I am one person away from Robert Kiyosaki and some other brand-name business and government people, and two away from the Google and Amazon guys. Not bad company to be in. Oh, and one of my friends from the MBA class will be a multi-billionaire in the next 3 years. Smartest guy I know, and he knows some very cool people :)

Someone mentioned that a business degree is not great for e-business. E-business is still business, and while the professors might not be able to keep up, having solid business skills will put you far in front of other e-businesses, providing you can supply the technical/creative stuff yourself, or find someone who can. Imagine two guys in their garage with the next Google. Imagine having a similar technology yourself, and an MBA. You could outmanoeuvre them like you were in a Lambo and they were on tricycles.

Someone else mentioned the cost. My cost was about USD $250,000 (only for the last two years, not for the degrees before that). In today's dollars, if I only worked about 15 years and then retired, I could earn easily $10-15 million (remember, today's dollars). If I use the MBA in my own business (like I am), I will "retire" in about three years (freeing me up for fast track investments and building non-religious, free schools in third world countries), and my life income in today's dollars would be orders of magnitude bigger.

I'll leave you all with this thought: I took a single, three hour class about two months ago which alone was worth the quarter of a million dollars the MBA has cost me. That's almost $1,500 a minute I was there. It bridged a very profitable gap in my knowledge, and I am working on converting that class into bankable income. I should be able to do that within about 4 months. If I only ever worked for some Fortune 500 company for a salary and performance bonuses, that class would easily make me a millionaire. Every company I start will benefit from it, and will have a massive competitive advantage over most other companies I will be competing against. How's that for value? :)


Daniel
 

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JScott

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AustralianInvestor -

You've thrown out a lot of numbers and estimates-of-value for your degree, but you never mention exactly how you plan to use the degree?

Do you plan to make millions working for a Fortune 500 company? If so, what specifically do you plan to do to earn millions of dollars per year just out of school?

Or do you plan to start your own business (where you claimed you could retire in three years)? If so, what's you business? Why are you so confident you can earn millions in just a couple years?

Not saying you can't do these things...just a little skeptical based on lack of details... :)
 

australianinvestor

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Aug 4, 2007
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Hi JScott, how's it going?

I have just written my response, but I feel terrible that I am hijacking this thread, so I'll cull it down a bit. During my response, I've also decided that one component of my fast-track strategy is worth writing a book about, so I'll keep you up-to-date on that.

During my MBA, I've started three companies and discontinued one. One was an import/retail business (stopped due to average returns, difficult to sell, gross misalignment with my new life strategy), my current one is in convenience stores, and my new one (as of a few months ago) is media production.

I don't intend working for anyone. I intend on doing some consulting soon, but only for the inside contacts and knowledge I can gain.

I don't know how schools in the US run their MBA programs, but mine required a minimum of 5 years of management experience, so it's not like I'm just fresh out of 17 years of schooling and still have a squeeky voice! ;-)

My specific plan: I am using the equity I have built in the convenience store business to assist the media production business start-up. There is a specific way I'll manage the resulting cash flow, and once the business does not require all the profits for its operations, I'll be splitting profits into other investments in a very deliberate way.

Feel free to ask more, but perhaps by private message (if this forum has such a feature), so we don't steer this thread away from the original poster's topic :)

Daniel.
 

tylerblue

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Nov 15, 2007
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For the sake of responding to the first poster, I will share my experience with obtaining a business degree from an accredited school.

I recently completed a Finance degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and while I cannot speak for all schools in the country, I can put in a good word for this one. Cal Poly's business school is a "hands on" school whereby we study real world applications for everything we learn. So far in the real world, there are an entire host of scenarios that my college training has either prepared me for, or put me ahead of the competition. Cal Poly also offered real estate investing courses and real estate finance courses that worked towards my Finance degree, further implementing the "hands on" mantra I explained earlier. Despite all of this, the school has every resource necessary, for those who seek it, to expand your financial knowledge.

What is the benefit of all of this? Why take 4 years out of your life to complete a degree? The real question for me was -- why not? Sitting here today I am able to converse more intellectually with professionals and investors. I am also able to see things from a theoretical standpoint (classroom) as well as a practical standpoint (real world). Moreover, whether we like it or not -- and whether we care or not -- certain people will take you more seriously if they know you have a college degree. One of the things completing college says to the world (lenders, investors, your employees, etc.) is that you are able to put your mind to something and complete it, or in other words you are able to set goals and achieve them. Someone mentioned above that a lot of successful people don't have a degree, but also failed to mention that an overwhelming amount have MBA's, law degrees, master's degrees, and so on.

In conclusion, while I do not think a college degree is required to achieve financial success, I believe it is a fantastic supplement. College, for me, was full of relationship building. I have made life-long friends and learned life-long lessons about people all because of my collegiate experiences. A multi-millionaire developer once told me that the greatest aspect of your journey to financial success should be the relationships that you build. The journey should be an enjoyable part of your life, not simply a means to an end. My .02....


-Tyler
 

czach41

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Oct 11, 2007
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As a senior in a decent state college; I only wish that I was obtaining a business degree. As it turned out, it took me about two years to realize what I really wanted out of life, and therefore, what I should be doing to best position myself for success. Better late than never right? (I am obtaining my 'biz' degree through toilet U and Fastlane)!
 

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