Whether you’ve always dreamed of running your own business, you want to be a mover and a shaker at a top company with a global reach, or you simply want to move into working in an office environment for the pay, regular hours and benefits, you can find success in business.
If your parents or others close to you have followed a similar trajectory, they can probably offer helpful advice, but this is not the case for many people. The tips below can help you get started in business.
Get the Right Education
You will likely need a bachelor’s degree at minimum to get started. For certain professions, such as accounting, you may need additional certifications, but at least focus on getting your undergraduate degree. While it’s great if you can choose an area that you really want to work in and focus on that, such as finance, if you are unsure, your major is less important than that you actually have a degree.
Understanding other people and good communication are both important for business success, so you may also want to take some classes that will help you in these areas, such as psychology. Although much of the business world speaks English, knowing a foreign language can be helpful if you want to go into international business. You may be worried about the cost of a degree and how you will repay loans. However, if you are taking out student loans from a private lender, you can use a student loan calculator so you know the amount when repayments begin and what to expect.
Don’t Rush Into an MBA
If you really want to succeed in business, what you need is an MBA, right? Not so fast—an MBA can be great for your career, but only after you have spent some time working. In fact, some programs will not accept you if you don’t have work experience in addition to your undergraduate degree. Furthermore, while there are some industries where an MBA will be critical to promotion, in others, it may be superfluous. Before you commit to the time and money that an MBA requires, make sure it is the right move at the right time for your chosen career path.
Networking and Mentors
Business success is all about relationships, and getting good at networking will serve you well. This can start in college. You should make an effort with your professors and classmates. After all, the person sitting behind you in Accounting 101 might be across from you in a boardroom the next time you see them.
Take the chance to join any professional organizations that your school offers. You can also see if any business people that you admire would be willing to meet you for a cup of coffee and an informational interview. If you are polite and keep this short, such as under half an hour, many people are willing to do this for college students. Finally, look for opportunities to find a mentor. Your school might have a formal program that will pair you with a mentor, or you may end up having a mentoring relationship with a professor or a supervisor at an internship.