Businesses Go Back to School

By on August 17, 2018

Business owners and executives are increasingly going back to school to learn from their field experts and extend their careers by engaging their brains and widening their skill sets. If you want to be a better business person, it makes sense to think about going back to school.

If you’re considering going back to school to boost the education section of your resume or special skills, you’re not alone. A recent US Census Bureau report shows that in 2018 there were 19.9 million people enrolled in colleges and universities, an increase of almost five million students from 2000. Students aged 35 and older account for 16% of full-time students and 36% of part-time students.

While going back to school represents a significant investment of time and money, a graduate degree is still worth the investment – particularly in the technology or engineering fields. When you go back to school should depend on your ability to shoulder the expense.

Extra Training & Education to Brush up On Industry Skills

There’s no substitute for the education entrepreneurs get in the competitive trenches, starting and running their own business. There are, however, cases in which a return to the classroom is the best way to get ahead. Some seek the type of immediate and tangible returns that come from learning a new language or skill relevant to their field or company. Others are searching for long-term solutions to jump-start stagnant businesses. And no matter their motivation for hitting the books, they’re also challenged with keeping their companies afloat while they do it. These entrepreneurs are going back to school in search of the expertise they can’t get on the workplace.

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued in 2018, the average full-time worker with a Master’s degree earned $67,600, compared to $55,432 for those with a Bachelor’s degree. A Doctoral degree was more valuable at $84,448 per year. While a specialized professional degree can bring upwards of $90,220 annually.

Associate’s degrees, with an average salary of $40,820, were only marginally better than the $37,804 earned by those with an incomplete college education. In comparison, high school graduates earned $33,904 on average.

There are two times when most people begin to consider additional schooling. First is in one’s early career, generally when you have less than two years experience and little or no postgraduate education. Second is when you are looking at career advancement with an eye toward management opportunities and beyond. Hands-on abilities and interpersonal skills are also important driving factors sending employees back to school.

Early Career Considerations

If you are planning to embark on a career with an unrelated degree and little-to-no work experience, you will undoubtedly find it is difficult to even get a first interview. For many, turning around and heading back to school may seem like the only option.

Many first-time job seekers make the mistake of enrolling in a non-accredited training school in the hopes that adding a six-month program to an English or History degree will make their resumes more attractive. Unfortunately, unless this is combined with relevant work experience, or includes an industry-based certification, such programs do very little to open doors. Taking a part-time job in your field while enrolling in senior level college courses would be a better boost to your resume than any six-month quick fix training program.

Going back to school to get the undergraduate degree that is relevant to your work gives you the opportunity to give your resume an important makeover. For example, a degree in Computer Science added to that Philosophy degree, combined with a couple years of work experience, can catapult your earnings potential and place on your a track for management.

Industry Certifications

Industry-based certifications are often a good way to get your resume noticed if you are embarking on a career with little hands-on work experience. Companies are often required to employ candidates with industry certifications in order to win or retain contracts with clients and suppliers. In addition to this, taking the time to learn the material and pass the exam is a demonstrated investment in your own future.

Many certifications do require working experience, however entry-level certifications do not. For those already on track with a good career who are unable to take the time to go back to school for a second degree, specialist certifications in your field can accelerate your career progress. Project management certifications, supply chain or operational certifications can also help you make the transition toward management if you already have the practical hands-on experience.

Career Advancement

For those looking to advance their career beyond hands-on skills, part-time and full-time studies should both be considered. If you can show your employer the benefits additional education will bring to both of you, you may get their support in taking time off for full-time studies and even sometimes may earn tuition sponsorship. Plus, more and more schools are offering part-time studies both on campus and online.

Master’s Degrees

In most cases, going back to school to get a Master’s degree in your chosen field is only valuable if you are planning on specializing in one area, or if you are hoping to become an academic. An important exception to this is if you have the opportunity to go to a school that is highly-regarded to boost your resume for years to come

For example, having a IT degree from Stanford, MIT or the California Institute of Technology can open doors in companies that lesser-known schools cannot. If you want to work for a specific company like Google or Apple, it will certainly help your chances if you go to one of the schools they actively recruit from.

Business Degrees

Undoubtedly, a business degree combined with industry experience is a powerful combination in today’s management market. Business experts often don’t understand the intricacies of the lower-level operations their business is based upon. On the other hand, many employees don’t understand the business principles management use to serve a wide range of departments. Having a foot solidly planted in each of these worlds can put your career on a fast-track to director and management level positions.

Motivation for Business Owners & Employees to Pursue More Education

Many successful entrepreneurs are fortifying their skills and resumes with additional academic work in the hope it will translate directly into growth for their business ventures, either now or in the future.

If you have found a gap in your career background, then going back to school to get that MBA or Doctorate might be the right thing to do. The journey back to the classroom begins with the realization that beyond a sluggish economy and escalating competition, your educational limitations may be holding your business or career back from realizing its full potential. Going back to school will help you to strengthen your resume and stay engaged with a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Adding academic responsibilities to an already heavy workload might be more than some entrepreneurs can handle, however, once all the personal and professional factors have been weighed, the decision to head back to school will be worthwhile.

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