Getting a degree is an incredibly rewarding experience that’s increasingly necessary for success in the corporate world. More people than ever graduate with bachelor’s degrees each year, inspiring fierce competition. With the rising cost of living and decreasing job security, many turn to entrepreneurship to ensure their own success and follow their dreams.

However, the same question posed by companies applies: do you need to go back to school to ensure your success?

There are many things to consider before going back to school to get an advanced degree. Starting a small business requires intangible skills like confidence, drive, and vision, as well as technical proficiency in accounting and marketing. Some may find that learning these concrete skills is difficult to do outside of a classroom.

Determining if getting an advanced degree is right for you will depend on how much you already know, how quickly you learn, and how much money you have. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pro: Networking Opportunities

Arguably one of the largest benefits to getting an advanced degree in business is being surrounded by like-minded individuals and people who can mentor your progress.

The people you meet can very easily become your business partners, backers, or clients. Becoming friends with others in a graduate program will be incredibly beneficial to your future business.

Pro: Resume Boost

It’s no secret that employers will pay more for higher credentials. On average, those with a master’s will earn more in their lifetimes than those with only a bachelor’s degree. While your plans may not include heading back to the traditional 9 to 5 anytime soon, this is still something you may want to take into account.

Pro: Practical Knowledge

Of course, what you actually learn in classes when you go back to school is also a huge benefit. You’ll have the chance to learn and practice concrete skills like accounting and payroll, as well as public speaking and management. This is a great chance to pick up the skills necessary for running a business, especially if you struggle with teaching yourself.

Con: Lack of Real-World Experience

While taking classes on how to lead employees and manage a team provides some insight into how to succeed as a business owner, nothing beats the experience gained from learning hands-on. The intricacies of being a leader and motivating others are like learning a new language: it’s best done fully immersed.

Con: It’s Expensive

The cost of going back to school is about the same as starting a business, sometimes even more. If you’re already in debt or will be after you finished your second degree, you should carefully consider all your options. Having debt may set you back when starting your business, as banks are more likely to see you as a risk.

Con: It Takes Time

Even if you can completely clear your schedule, an advanced degree is going to take several years. If you’re working part or full-time on top of that, it can take even longer. Taking time can be a good thing if you’re unsure what you want your business to be, but it can also sap the novelty out of a great idea.

Getting an advanced degree may be the right option for you if you don’t mind the cost or time it requires and you learn very well in a classroom environment.

Everyone’s paths to entrepreneurship will be different, so don’t feel like you have to do something because it’s socially acceptable. If you’re still uncertain about whether you should go back to school, take a look at this helpful infographic by Fundera that summarizes what you need to know:

Written By
Meredith is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera . Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.

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